We found this book to be very thorough, very practical, and very useful in the real world of executive management. Unfortunately, this was somewhat marred by our irritation with the title of the book, which regrettably lasted for the first four chapters. But, you may ask, what has all this to do with a web site dedicated to project management?
Well, the fact is that organizations fall into two broad groups: those that are essentially service driven and are structured on the classic hierarchical business organizational model and those that are essentially project driven. Examples of the former include government departments, infrastructure providers, and many non-profits. Examples of the latter include consultants and construction companies who undertake work to order and are obviously in the business of projects. However, even the former category get involved in projects if they are to survive.
But to survive, whether individually or organizationally, people must be working efficiently and cost-effectively, and that means in the business and not just busyness. As author Lawrence observes:
"Businesses like to be busy. Bosses like to see employees working up a sweat. Unfortunately, no matter how efficiently an employee does the wrong thing, it 's still wrong. It's even worse if they are being paid overtime to do it. This chapter [chapter 5] is about figuring out what those employees should be working on and, equally importantly, what they shouldn't be working on."
This should be a wake up call to everyone working on projects - whether full or part time. If you don't understand the strategic value of your current project, it is just possible that this is because it doesn't have a strategic value and corresponding priority. If so, watch out. It may be ready for the chop, especially in tough economic times such as we are currently facing. As Lawrence observes in his concluding remarks:
"Multiyear strategies should be revisited at least annually, if only to identify real resource needs for inclusion in the next operational plan."
R. Max Wideman
29. As discussed in our Downside page
30. Hobbs, p93
31. Ibid, p268