Published here May 2012

Introduction to the Books | About the Authors and Their Books
Book 1 - What Executives Need to Know about Project Management
Book 2 - Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked | Downside | Summary
Book 3 - Value-Driven Project Management
Book 4 - Managing Complex Projects


Chapter 1 starts off with a little bit of humor. It suggests that:

"Project management is the art of creating the illusion that any outcome is the result of a series of predetermined, deliberate acts when, in fact, it was dumb luck!"[18]

We like that, but the reproof is given as:

"Most people will agree that project success is accomplished through a structured process of project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and finally closure."[19]

Unfortunately, this is most likely true, especially of those who were brought up on earlier versions of the Project Management Institute's Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and its lack of a satisfactory distinction in project management terminology. The first term: "project initiation" and the last term "finally closure" imply that this string of terms refers to the "governance methodology" that is applied to the project life span[20] and is selected appropriately for the technology in question. Whereas in fact the sequence of "Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing" are the five groups of processes[21] identified by the Project Management Institute as necessary to manage the work in any phase of the project.

Our presumption above is further reinforced by a description of these five domain areas that includes these statements:

"Many project managers are not brought on board the project until the end of the initiation process. Executive management, marketing, and sales may take the lead during project initiation ... During project execution, much of the work is accomplished by the project team and the functional managers ... During project closure, the project manager is expected to make sure that all project documentation is complete and ready for the archives."[22]

To us, these are clear references not to the five project management process groups but to the phases of the project life span. Confusion reigns supreme.

What We Liked  What We Liked

18. Ibid, p2
19. Ibid, p3
20. Project life span, aka project life cycle.
21. Known as "The Process Groups", each of these five are described at length in the Project Management Institute's A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, ("PMBoK") Fourth Edition (2008), Chapter 3. Unfortunately, and for far too long, there has been a lack of appreciation of the difference between the Project Management Process Groups that constitute management applied to the project work, which is cyclic, and the generic sequence of major phases in the project's life span. These major phases are here described as "Concept, Development, Execution and Finishing" and are essentially linear in time as described in Chapter 2 of the PMBoK. We believe that the confusion arises over the obvious similarity of the terms used for the two very different aspects of managing a project.
22. Ibid, p5
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