July 25, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Book Review: Project Management for SME’s

By Linky van der Merwe

A Book for SME’s

PM for SME'sWhat you’d expect from a book that is written with small businesses in mind, is very practical advice and insight with regards to the application of project management as a discipline in the Small Business sector. The author, Gren Gale, is stating that a badly run project can significantly impact a business’s bottom line, in the case of a small business, this can be fatal. He also believes that a professional approach to project management will give a small business a competitive advantage over its rivals.

The aim of the book is described as a guideline for how to control and manage projects effectively. It is meant to support staff of small to medium-sized companies who are charged with coordinating one or multiple projects. It concentrates on projects where the spend isn’t massive, but the stakes are high.

The book is divided in 5 chapters and in chapter 2 it covers all aspects of project delivery from the Business Case, to analysis, design, build, test, implement and closure. Chapter 3 goes a bit deeper into project governance in terms of covering governance, risk and issue management, change control, quality and portfolio management.

Chapter 4 covers important soft skills that Gren believes are required for managing projects in small businesses, namely communication skills, people management and crisis management skills. In addition, Gren explains the Agile approach thoroughly and also how it is different from the well-known Agile methodologies.

Project Management experience

The in-depth knowledge and experience of Gren Gale comes through in the clear language and well defined concepts. I believe it is a good source of information for your typical small business managers who are also responsible for project execution. It provides a glossary and a set of required documents at the end, with the option of procuring templates at a discount.

After reading the book, the reader will know how to do projects the right way and which pitfalls to avoid. It can also convince the reader that proper training is required to do project management effectively and that it should not be done using ad hoc ways without the discipline of a consistent methodology.

Conclusion

My initial impression was that the process around project management should be simplified, and that the details in the book can leave a person feeling overwhelmed and perhaps not up to the task of managing projects without proper training.

Regardless, I can recommend the book to managers in small to medium-sized companies who are responsible for running projects. If they follow the principles, process and advice laid out, they will have a much better chance of being successful with project delivery and giving their businesses the competitive edge that well implemented strategies can bring.

To get your copy of the book, please visit Project Management for SME’s.

Book Review: The Conscious Project Leader

By Linky van der Merwe

The Conscious Project LeaderWhen I was contacted by Colin Ellis to do a review of his new book: “The Conscious Project Leader”, I was curious to find out what new can be said about this well covered topic?  I was pleasantly surprised!

Colin has a fresh perspective on project management, resulting in a book that you cannot put down once you start reading it. His wisdom comes from two decades of experience (in the coal face, as he calls it) and from doing projects on three different continents, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Colin is also a speaker, writer and mentor on Conscious Project Leadership. One of his outstanding qualities, seems to be his sense of humour.

Leadership and Culture

The book is written from the perspective of how to create a culture of success for your projects, your team and yourself. Although leadership is covered in detail, much focus is also given to culture; like hiring, having a vision, collaboration, stakeholder satisfaction and celebrating success.

He covers just enough technical project management to make the book complete and without any unnecessary jargon that may confuse a reader. It is written in an informal style that is very engaging.

The chapters are short and to the point. There are numerous references to other books to read, videos to watch and actions to take, putting the reader on a journey of self-discovery and development towards becoming a conscious leader.

Lift Project Performance

What I compassionately agree with Colin, is that projects can change the world and that it’s frustrating that a big percentage of projects continue to fail. This book is his contribution to improve project success by helping professionals to be great project leaders and to give them the knowledge to be consistently successful. Another point we agree on is that we believe project success stories make the best lessons to learn.

Colin argues that projects are about people and that perhaps too much emphasis is placed on methods and processes and not enough on developing leaders who are responsible and accountable for project delivery.

Although I don’t disagree with that, I believe that developing leadership skills is equally important to having the right foundation of using methods and processes consistently. Training approaches should put equal weighting on both hard, as well as soft skills.

Conscious Leadership

Once you finish reading, Colin reminds you that this is just the beginning of your journey towards Conscious Project Leadership and that you have a big responsibility to apply your knowledge and to create the culture that will contribute to success. He challenges his fellow project practitioners to help make our profession proud.

Recommendation

Compared to other Project Leadership books that I have reviewed before, like “Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers by Michel Dion and The Power of Project Leadership by Susanne Madsen, I think this book complements what is already written.

It is modern in the sense that you can read it on a mobile device and visit the links at the end of chapters immediately. Colin has also prepared relevant quotes that he encourages the reader to share with their social networks using #CPL. It may start a movement under professionals who are committed to change.

I can recommend this book to all project practitioners, PMO managers/directors and people who have the opportunity to coach and mentor new and inexperienced project leaders.

You will find this book on Amazon and on Colin’s website, The Conscious Project Leader.

 

Book Review: Power of Project Leadership

By Linky van der Merwe

What I liked about the book: The Power of Project Leadership: 7 Keys to Help You Transform from Project Manager to Project Leader” by Susanne Madsen, is the fact that it’s an easy read and it’s applied specifically to project managers. For project managers who are seriously aspiring to become better leaders, the book will help make the transition from project manager to project leader. Looking at project management future trends, more leaders are what organisations need.

Power of Project Leadership

Susanne Madsen

It’s organised into 4 chapters and very practical with exercises, reflective questions, check-lists and calls to action. An excellent break-down of the six human needs is given and you are guided towards an in-depth understanding of your own values and beliefs. The seven keys of Leadership are covered in much detail. It guides you to new insights and helps you to become very clear on your intentions.

There are multiple resources spread through-out the book that will help you to change your mind-set. Susanne has a very engaging writing style, she shares useful tools and perspectives from experienced project managers that inspire.

The book has the potential to take you on a journey of transformation from manager to leader, to being conscious about what you want to achieve. It will help you gain clarity on the impact you would like to have on other people, on projects and on the industry. You are guided to compile your own project leadership vision and to determine your action steps.

The book leaves you with the thought: “unleash your project leadership potential, because the world needs your leadership” and that will inspire you to follow through with your action plan.

I would recommend this book to all fellow project management professionals and PMO leaders.
For more information about the author, the book and many other resources, visit the Power of Project Leadership website.

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