What We Liked
Chapter 3 only displays two topics, however, the first topic addresses "Benefits" in some detail and over a number of pages. It makes a good case for executives to adopt project management for their various initiatives. The second topic goes even further. Although only very brief, it clearly states that typical benefits [of project management] may appear as:
- A reduction in the number of nonproductive meetings due to better teamwork and communication
- More efficient execution of projects due to the processes contained in the EPM methodology
- Getting closer to the customer, possibly resulting in sole-source contracting and lowering bidding costs
- An improvement in quality, resulting in greater customer satisfaction
Some of these suggestions will be controversial, but nevertheless worth making.
Contrary to what one might expect from the Table of Contents listed earlier, in fact Chapters 4 and 5 together make up the largest part of the book. These chapters cover in detail what executives must do to establish and maintain a valuable project management presence if they are serious about conducting their projects effectively and efficiently. In this the major message is that executive level sponsors should be appointed for the oversight of the organization's projects. And further, that these sponsors must have specific responsibilities towards their projects and a clear understanding of the project management process.
Given the predisposition for large organizations to establish corporate policies and procedures to cover almost anything and everything, one particular section in this part of the book caught our attention:
"It is almost impossible to design company policies such that they cover all possible situations that can exist on each and every project. In addition to these issues, company policies are subject to interpretation and misinterpretation.
The role of the sponsor is to assist the project manager and team with this interpretation. The sponsor also serves as a 'safety net' for the project manager should any of the policies require a specific interpretation for the benefit of the project."
We wish we had known that a long time ago.
Chapters 6 and 7 elaborate on the challenges facing corporate sponsors of projects as well as some of the difficulties that project managers may have with ineffective sponsors. The final Chapter 8 advocates for a Project Management Office and a career path for project managers.
5. Ibid, p61
6. EPM: Enterprise Project Management