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The Project Management book: an introduction

The first question surrounding any new project management book should be – why? There are thousands and thousands of project management books, and amongst those thousands there are quite a few that are very good. We all have our favourites.

So it is easy to conclude we can’t need any more! However, I am convinced there is still space for a different kind of project management book arranged in a different way. Welcome to The Project Management Book.

Many project management books focus on project management processes. A process based approach to project management has many virtues, but it should not be the only way we look and think about our discipline. Back in 2005 I published my first book, called The Project Manager. This has been revised and updated, but is primarily a people centric project management books. In fact it focuses mostly on one specific person – the project manager. This time, I wanted to do something different: an issues-led approach to project management. 

I have broadly taken the approach I used to write The Management Book. This has proven to be very popular, and won the CMI’s management book of the year 2013. For those not familiar with The Management Book, it is structured as a series of short, sharp articles arranged into a series of topic based chapters. The book is both for the reader who wants to dip in and gain quick specific advice, and the reader who likes to read books end to end.  The Project Management Book repeats this format with short issue focussed articles that can be read quickly to give targeted advice.

The challenge for modern project managers is not just how to identify and apply best practice. Universal best practice is a myth. Projects are unique. What the best project managers know is that it is the right practice that matters. The right practice is context specific. Understanding the right practices requires analysing the issues facing the project manager. The Project Management Book discusses a range of common issues facing project managers in a compelling style and easy to read style.

I have thought about the developments in project management: such lessons from Agile, topics such as the impact of offshoring, as well as considering the lessons from the wider development of management such as six sigma and lean. On top of this, I have looked at project management as a response to real business challenges: too often project management is presented as a generic discipline without a link to current business challenges. My book links project management to the strategic and operational issues facing modern organisations.

A challenge for an author is to decide what to include in a book. The Project Management Book has 40 issue focussed project topics. I could have written more, but a book can only be so long and I have prioritised on those topics which are most relevant to the audience. 

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