Book Review - The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun
This is my type of book on project management... readable without a rigid methodology! The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun (O'Reilly).
Part 1 - Plans: The Truth About Schedules; How To Figure Out What To Do; Writing The Good Vision; Where Ideas Come From; What To Do With Ideas Once You Have Them
Part 2 - Skills: Writing Good Specifications; How To Make Good Decisions; Communication And Relationships; How Not To Annoy People - Process, Email, And Meetings; What To Do When Things Go Wrong
Part 3 - Management: Why Leadership Is Based On Trust; How To Make Things Happen; Middle-game Strategy; End-game Strategy; Power And Politics
Notes; Annotated Bibliography; Acknowledgements; Photo Credits; Index
Most books on project management, while useful, can be painful to read. A structure and methodology is laid out, each step is spelled out in exact detail, and every exception to the rule is covered somehow. If your only job is to manage projects, perhaps you can do all the paperwork required. Berkun's written a different style of book. Rather than introduce yet another methodology, he focuses more on the skills and techniques that a project manager should have. He talks about how to schedule projects, not "this is the way you should do it". He touches on soft skills such as communications between team members and with management. Bottom line, it's the things you need to think about in the role of project management instead of what steps you need to follow. What's nice about this book is that you could apply it to your job even if you're required to adhere to a specific process-driven methodology like RUP. Since it deals with mindsets and skills you'll need in any case, you'll come away better prepared to do your job.
This is one of the more practical books on project management that I've had the chance to cover. The writing style is also less formal and a bit more "real life" than most. You actually feel like you're talking with the author instead of being "talked to". It doesn't look like your typical O'Reilly book, but it is a great addition to their collection of titles. If you need to understand more about project management, this would be a very nice place to start...