A mixed potpourri . . .

Another Miscellaneous Collection

Barbee Davis (editor): 97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know,
2009, O'Reilly, ISBN 978-0-596-80416-9, 220 pages
reviewed by Conrad Weisert, April, 2010, ©Information Disciplines, Inc.


A couple of years ago I reviewed an interesting collection of short essays. This one takes a similar form, but the advice is mixed. The pieces come from 53 contributors, many of whom append the coveted PMP1 designation to their names. Most of the items are helpful, some are misleading, and a few, if taken seriously, could actually do harm to a project effort.

The following statements by various authors reveal surprising naïveté about system development projects:

"It's up to the project manager to spend time with those who are funding the software project to help them define exactly what they want before the project starts."—p. 9 The writer has confused the role of systems analyst (or business analyst) with the role of project manager. Besides, defining detailed requirements is not done before the project begins; it's an early phase of the actual project.
"If you are following an agile methodology, quick daily meetings are necessary."—p. 77

". . .developers hate status reports. It [sic] makes them spend hours each week writing down what seems to them to be obvious, redundant information."—p. 184

As we've noted before, it takes only a minute or two to submit a sensible status report on a well-managed project, less time than it takes to walk to a meeting in the same building.
"Many [methodologies] demand that requirements be set in stone before a line of code is written."—p. 94 "Set in stone" implies rigidity, impossibility of change. I know of no such seriously proposed methodology.
"On average, a project manager helms five to seven projects at a time."—p 184 On average? Wow! What's the maximum?

Don't let those few gaffes scare you away from this book. It contains a lot of useful advice for project managers and other key people.

RECOMMENDED for discerning readers.


1—Project Management Professional, the certification awarded by the Project Management Institute.
One of the contributors appended to his name "MBA, PMP, MCSE, CHP, CHSS"!

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Last modified April 4, 2010