A project in your pocket

John Turner

Published by

Integr8 Consulting Ltd

ISBN

9780957425804

RRP

£4.99

Reviewed by

Dave Hay MBCS CITP, IT Specialist, IBM

Score

9 out of 10

As advertised, this short (96 pages) book fits in one's pocket. The size has positive and negative consequences; for me, I found that the size sometimes made the illustrations hard to follow; perhaps this is where I need an ebook variant with the zoom option.

The book is easily digestible in short chunks (perhaps a chapter per day) although it could be quite easily consumed cover-to-cover in an hour or so.

It does not assume that the reader is experienced in project management or delivery. I, for one, am involved in project delivery, but have no formal training as a project manager - however, this was not an inhibitor. John gives good background on the concepts that he introduces and assumes nothing.

Each chapter covers one aspect of a nine-step programme, ranging from branding through ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’, and ending with ‘sell’.

John uses humour throughout, both in some of his examples (for example, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo) and most especially the name of an (assumed) fictional band in the case study.  John also makes frequent use of quotations - I especially like Joseph Priestley's wise words - ‘The more elaborate our means of communication the less we communicate.’

The case study is interesting, but perhaps a little too simple for most readers - as an IT professional, perhaps I am biased towards IT projects

The introduction is excellent, setting the scene by comparing and contrasting two of the most often used project management methodologies, waterfall (via PRINCE2) and Agile.

It highlights some strengths and weaknesses of both; for example in waterfall, testing can come late in the cycle, the start-up process is too long, and the documentation can be too detailed, whereas with Agile the short start-up can make it hard to get teams involved in projects because of too little (or no) start-up documentation.

Throughout the remaining chapters, John introduces each of the nine steps, using examples tied back to the case study. At the end of the book, he provides illustrations of each of the project artefacts. Again, due to the book's size, some of these are unreadable - another potential benefit of an ebook.

The book provides some well-needed reminders of the ground rules for any project management discipline, for example that requirements need to be measurable, which is often forgotten, or that projects need buy-in from all parties, including stakeholders and participants.

In conclusion, this is a very useful book for anyone involved with project management, whether as an experienced PM or a ‘mere’ project team member. I'll keep a copy in my pocket or, at least, in my kit bag.

John finishes by recommending that the reader also look at other, non PM-related, books. I'll be taking him up on his suggestion.

Further information:Intergr8 Consulting Ltd

July 2013