The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here June 2018

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked - Part 1
What We Liked - Part 2 | Downside | Summary

What We Liked - Part 2

We also liked the way that Oliver Lehmann emphasizes the importance of practical experience and debunks the idea that "one size fits all". As he says:[10]

"Project management cannot simply be learned at school and then applied. Practical experience helps one to gain familiarity and awareness with the tools and techniques commonly used in project management and to understand their value. This personal contact with the discipline is important, but it can never be complete and will never suffice to understand and master all eventualities found in the complex environment in which project managers perform their jobs.

For example, some projects are run as internal projects, which means that they are cost centers for the performing organizations that run them for their own purposes. Other projects are performed for paying customers under contract and constitute profit centers for the performing organization, the contractor. The experiences that project managers collect in either of these two types of projects are significantly different." [Emphasis added.]

He goes on to say:[11]

"Project managers often have no personal experience in both types of projects; their professional history is dealing solely with either customer projects or internal ones. Project managers running internal projects mostly consider themselves agents of change in organizational, technical, or other areas. Project managers in customer projects manage an existing business relationship (at least an important element of this relationship) and have to consider the often conflicting business interests of two parties: customer and contractor."

This is a serious distinction that is often overlooked in any discussion or presentation of project management standards. Which brings up the topic of success and failure. As he says:[12]

"No doubt, some projects are 100% failures. Then there are projects that are mixtures of successes and failures, which probably constitute a majority of projects. If the perception of success is stronger than the judgment of failure, one may then call the project successful. ...

Success in this understanding is not the absence of failure, but the prevalence of successes over failures in the perception and judgment of a majority of relevant stakeholders. Projects without at least a grain of failure may not exist at all."

What We Liked - Part 1  What We Liked - Part 1

10. Ibid, p4-5
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid p21.
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