Book Review: Just Enough Project Management

Compelling reason will never convince blinding emotion.
-Richard Bach

First impressions can kill good ideas.

In some cases, the good is overlooked because it’s introduced in the wrong way.

The time-saving technique is thrown at people without training.
The new process is pushed on people without explaining why it’s important.

Bad first impressions of project management can make life difficult for the next project manager.

Curtis R. Cook’s book, Just Enough Project Management, gives you advice on how to use ‘just enough project management’ to deliver value to your stakeholders.

The book is worth reading because it:

  1. Provides easy to use templates and checklists
    Templates exist to help teams make decisions. My definition. They do not exist to test your ability to fill in the correct cells so that they all turn GREEN.  The templates in this book will take the question: What is this project about and how will it make money?” and give you an easy to copy project charter template. It provides similar risk management and change request templates. For experienced project managers, the templates can be useful reminders of the basic questions that need to be answered before moving forward. Keep in mind this is a 119-page book – you’ll get the templates you need to get the job done, not a template for every step.
  2. Provides a step-by-step process to follow
    With small projects, implementing every tool and technique in the PMBOK would be overkill. And while the PMBOK discourages that, the tendency to use a tool or technique because ‘it’s in there’ rather than because it adds value has created some bad first impressions. Just Enough Project Management streamlines the 42 PMBOK processes and 5 process groups to 19 steps and 4 phases: Initiate, Plan, Control and Close.

    Check out the process diagram below.  Its covers the minimum to get the job done.  Sorry for the tiny print (Click the image to read it).

  3. Provides advice on How to Juggle Multiple Projects
    If you have multiple projects and struggle to keep tabs on them, Just Enough Project Management walks you through:

    • Classifying each project by phase
    • Identifying next steps for each
    • Prioritizing the steps
    • Pulling them into a coherent Work Journal or Outlook Calendar.He says that you can use this journal to document your workload and assignments.

While I haven’t used the process to put together a Work Journal, the process of classifying and identifying next steps for each project can be helpful in pulling order out of the chaos of competing demands.

Just Enough Project Management is a book for everyone: from newbies to the overworked among us. Read it and let me know what you think.  Have a book to recommend? Leave a comment, send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi,

    That is a great review, I really like your writing style.

    In case some of your readers are interested in easy project management, I’d like to suggest they look at our software product. Our product integrates project management into Microsoft Outlook, you can find more information on our web-site.

    Best regards,

    Kevin

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