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 Project Management Institute.
Published here October 2021

Introduction | Book [A] Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary


This Book [A]: The Standard for Project Management is the first in a publication of two books, the second Book [B] being A PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition.[27] The second book, Part [B], is much larger and will be reviewed at a later date. Hence, this review is a commentary only of the first Book [A].

In the realm of creating good social relations amongst stakeholders, and especially within the project team, it is mostly all good advice that is presented in some detail.[28] Indeed, if you go back to Book Structure discussed earlier, you will see that the itemized list of contents under Chapter 3 is really a list of self-evident obligatory behaviors. These are generally applicable to any sort of teamwork, not necessarily just project teamwork. Consequently, some of the content appears to be questionable if not actually misleading.

For example: a discourse on "Stewardship" includes a long list of responsibilities without even mentioning the project manager.[29] In another section on "Stakeholders", the text boldly declares: "Engage stakeholders proactively and to the degree needed etc., etc." without mentioning who should be responsible for this onerous task. I personally have experienced the unfortunate consequences of more than one team member doing the "engaging proactively" and consequently arriving at stakeholder interest requests entirely at cross purposes. That took a lot of embarrassing sorting out, including some project rework.

Certainly, there is a lot of good content in this first book of the publication that I have referenced as Book [A]. This is especially true as it recognizes all of project governance, portfolio and program management as a part of the (greater) project management domain. However, sadly it fails in that it overlooks the importance of including any reference to the project management basics of scope, quality, time, cost, contract/procurement and communications managements.

Clearly, the content of Chapter 3 is not the sort of material that needs to be embedded in a formal project management standard. This is especially true when the standard is being lauded as the essence of a professional occupation such as Project Management.

Aside from these serious missteps, the content of this book is well set out and well written in a clear style. It includes numerous call outs and illustrations for clarity. The advice is generally sound, even if inappropriate for the content claimed by Book [A]'s title and Introduction, and the consequent confusion probably created by two books being cobbled together into one publication in this fashion.

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Downside  Downside

27. Ibid, I have labeled them as [A] and [B] for ease of reference.
28. Ibid, There are certainly some issues with the contents of Chapter 3, but not relevant for comment here.
29. Ibid, pA25.
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