Published November 1, 2009

Introduction | About the Authors | Book Structures
What We Liked
 | Downside | Summary | Postscript


As noted in our Introduction, it is our practice to submit drafts of our book reviews to the respective authors in advance of publication. This allows them to point out any errors of fact so that we can correct accordingly. In this case, in response Kathy Schwalbe announced the Third Edition of her book to reflect the changes in The PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition (2008) and had this to say:

By Email Thu, 30 Jul 2009, Kathryn Schwalbe to R. Max Wideman

Hi Max,

Thanks for sending your draft article. I enjoy visiting your Web site from time to time and link to it on my Web site.

If you have time, you really should review the third edition of my book, coming out next week. If you send me a good mailing address, I'll send you a copy. Below is what I have in the preface about what's new in the third edition:

New to the Third Edition

Building on the success of the previous editions, An Introduction to Project Management, Third Edition introduces a uniquely effective combination of features. The main changes to the third edition include the following:

  • The text is updated to reflect changes in the latest PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition, published by PMI in December 2008.
  • The text now includes nine chapters instead of eight. The previous chapter 8 included information on Closing and Best Practices. These two topics are now broken into two separate, shorter chapters.
  • Appendix A, Brief Guide to Microsoft Project 2007, has been rewritten and provides an example based on performing a three-month class project. New exercises are provided as well based on my experience of teaching students to use this powerful software.
  • There is a new appendix, Appendix B, Brief Guide to @task, which provides information on using the number one online project management software, @task. It provides step-by-step instructions on creating a project in @task, importing a Project 2007 file, and using portfolio management features.
  • Appendix C, Resources, includes information about the companion Web sites, a list of available template files, three running case studies, information about using the Fissure project management simulation software, and instructions for accessing information about the Project Management Professional (PMP) and related certifications. The Fissure simulation software is still available as a separate purchase from Detailed instructions for using the simulation are available on the companion Web site.
  • The Dilbert and other cartoons have been replaced with relevant (and funny) cartoons from
  • The companion Web site no longer requires a password. Simply go to to access it. Instructors must contact me directly ( to gain access to the instructor site.
  • Updated Jeopardy games are included on the companion Web site for each chapter. You can use these as review games in a classroom setting, or you can go through them on your own to help reinforce your understanding of key terms and other concepts in each chapter. Sorry, but podcasts are no longer provided.
  • Updated examples and references are provided throughout the text, and user feedback is incorporated.

In our Downside section, we did make a bit of an issue around a whole page being dedicated to The Triple Constraint. [24] Interestingly, Kathy recognized the problem here and beat us to it in her Third Edition. The original section has now been re-titled and rewritten as follows:

Project Constraints

Every project is constrained in different ways. Some project managers focus on scope, time, and cost constraints. These limitations are sometimes referred to in project management as the triple constraint. To create a successful project, a project manager must consider scope, time, and cost and balance these three often-competing goals. He or she must consider the following:

  • Scope: What work will be done as part of the project? What unique product, service, or result does the customer or sponsor expect from the project?
  • Time: How long should it take to complete the project? What is the project's schedule?
  • Cost: What should it cost to complete the project? What is the project's budget? What resources are needed?

Other people focus on the quadruple constraint, which adds quality as a fourth constraint.

  • Quality: How good does the quality of the products or services need to be? What do we need to do to satisfy the customer?

The PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition suggests these four constraints plus risk.

  • Risk: How much uncertainty are we willing to accept on the project?

Figure 1-2 [Figure 4] shows these five constraints. The triple constraint goals - scope, time, and cost - often have a specific target at the beginning of the project. For example, a couple might initially plan to move into their new 2,000 square foot home in six months and spend $300,000 on the entire project. The couple will have to make many decisions along the way that may affect meeting those goals. They might need to increase the budget to meet scope and time goals or decrease the scope to meet time and budget goals.

The other two constraints - quality and risk - affect the ability to meet scope, time, and cost goals. Projects by definition involve uncertainty, and the customer defines quality. No one can predict with one hundred percent accuracy what risks might occur on a project. Customers cannot define in detail their quality expectations for a project on day one. These two constraints often affect each other as well as the scope, time, and cost goals of a project.

Figure 4: Typical project constraints
Figure 4: Typical project constraints

For example, the couple may have picked out a certain type of flooring for most of their home early in the design process, but that supplier may have run out of stock, forcing them to choose a different flooring to meet the schedule goal. This may affect the cost of the project. Projects rarely finish according to the discrete scope, time, and cost goals originally planned. Instead of discrete target goals for scope, time, and cost, it is often more realistic to set a range of goals that allow for uncertainties, such as spending between $275,000 and $325,000 and having the home completed within five to seven months. These goals allow for inevitable changes due to risk and quality considerations.

On some projects, other constraints may be more important than scope, time, cost, quality, or risk. Experienced project managers know that you must decide which constraints are most important on each particular project. If time is most important, you must often change the initial scope and/or cost goals to meet the schedule. You might have to accept more risk and lower quality expectations. If scope goals are most important, you may need to adjust time and/or cost goals, decrease risk, and increase quality expectations.

If communications is most important, you must focus on that. If there are set procurement goals or constraints, that knowledge might be key to the project. In any case, sponsors must provide some type of target goals for a project's scope, time, and cost and define other key constraints for a project. The project manager should be communicating with the sponsor throughout the project to make sure the project meets his or her expectations.

How can you avoid the problems that occur when you meet scope, time, and cost goals, but lose sight of customer satisfaction? The answer is good project management, which includes more than meeting project constraints.

Aside from the changes that Kathy has listed above, a few of the other things we noted about the Third Edition is that the Table of Contents has been cleaned up and simplified, and that the rearrangement of Chapter 8 into two chapters 8 and 9 makes more sense. The Appendix A (Guide to Using Microsoft Project 2007) has been condensed by some 25% to make room for the Appendix B, a Brief Guide to @task, referred to as an online project management software tool. It should be noted that @task is not a network scheduling tool like MS Project with which most people are familiar. Rather, it is an on-line data warehouse service designed to facilitate project team collaboration in the exchange of "project management processes" data. This way, it is hoped that aggregating and reporting project data electronically, as well as eliminating hard copy distribution and redundant face-to-face meetings, can save significant project man-hours.

As a minor point, Kathy's Third Edition book has about the same footprint and about the same amount of content as her Second Edition. However, because of changes in page layout, the fonts used and paper thickness, the Third Edition is about 40% thicker. Notwithstanding, the good news is that as a self-published product, the price is substantially lower.

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Summary  Summary

24. Schwalbe, pp5-6 [pp6-8]
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