Introduction | Content in General | Project Life Span
Technical Content | Pearls of Wisdom

Pearls of Wisdom

Notwithstanding my criticisms, the book is rife with good advice. For example: "Don't put the only two people in the whole company who can't get along together on the same project."[24] Or "You'll find on some projects you spend as much time planning the project as you do executing and controlling the project. This isn't a bad thing."[25] Or again "The project schedule should be approved and signed off by the stakeholders and functional managers. This assures that they have read the schedule, understand the dates and resource commitments, and will likely cooperate."[26] If you can manage to get those messages across to senior management you might just have a winner.

Under Cost Estimating Techniques, we learn that "Sometimes project managers are not responsible for the budget portion of the project. This function is assigned instead to a functional manager who is responsible for tracking and reporting all the project costs."[27] Very sad but very true. That means that one has authority without responsibility and the other has responsibility without authority – another serious enterprise management problem.

Kim provides some good practical illustrations. The project manager of a candy works is responsible for introducing a new product line into a continuous process. The problem is that the process cannot be economically stopped, cleaned and restarted every time a product line is to be changed. So there will inevitably be a period of production when the new line is likely to be "contaminated" by the previous line. The solution is to make this production change-over interval into a "mystery flavor" product line where the customer can expect to get something of either line.[28] Although this example is one of risk to product quality, the solution is a good example of turning a risk into an opportunity. The rest of the risk sections[29] provide good information.

I thought that the sections under Developing the Project Team[30] provided good succinct summaries of the topics referenced in the PMBOK Guide. In a "Real World Scenario" Kim describes the case of a catalog change project where the project team has worked a lot of overtime and weekend work to meet a deadline successfully. She describes how, in recognizing and rewarding the team for their outstanding efforts "You've arranged a slot on the agenda of the next all-company meeting to bring your team up front and praise them for their cooperation and efforts to get the catalog to the printers on time. You'll also present each of them with 2 days of paid time off and a gift certificate for a dinner with their family at an exclusive restaurant in the city." Tell me, just how and where do I sign up for Kim's next project?

Kim concludes this section by saying: "Project managers need to wear a lot of hats. This is one of the things that makes the job so interesting. You need organization and planning skills to plan the project. You need motivation and sometimes disciplinary skills to execute the project plans. You need to exercise leadership and power where appropriate. And all the while, you have a host of relationships to manage, including team members, stakeholders, managers, and customers. It's a great job and brings terrific satisfaction."[31]

Said like a true project manager.

Technical Content  Technical Content

24. PMP Study Guide p162
25. PMP Study Guide p246
26. PMP Study Guide p261
27. PMP Study Guide p172
28. PMP Study Guide p201
29. PMP Study Guide pp201-222
30. PMP Study Guide pp294-306
31. PMP Study Guide p307
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