The Principles of Project Management

The Principles of Project Management by Meri Williams
published by SitePoint in 2008 at 204 pages – $40

In the past few years I have become very fond of short books on on serious topics. For example, Mike McGraths CSS in Easy Steps lasts just just under 200 pages but is so good and concise on a topic that has weigh to many ponderous “Bibles”. Well SitePoint has produced the equivalent for roject management with Meri Williams book on The Principles of Project Management.

This book is obviously targetted towards IT project management but its overall tone and methods fit well into general project leadership. And that is the key to this book – it sets at its core managing people in the change conditions that surround a project. Yes software is implied and occasionally recommended but really the book is about the human nature of doing projects.

Take for example Meris recipe for Spotting Bad Projects. She starts by emphasizing what makes good projects:
1) the deliver big benefits in good time;
2)They are important to the future of the organization;
3)Sufficient resources are invested in them;
4)They have supporters for them throughout the organization.
Bad projects are defined as those missing one or more of these key ingredients. Meri goes on to to mention other risk factors.. but this is the essence of scoping out good projects.

In general, the book emphasizes simple, common sense metrics like these and a multi-level communication strategy that keeps all stakeholders in the project on board. She calls it RASCI. This and whole lot of other methods make up this excellent tome. In general you will be well steered if your read and follow this tome.