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No-Drama Project Management: Avoiding Predictable Problems for Project Success

Book Description

No-Drama Project Management: Avoiding Predictable Problems for Project Success is a book for project managers who want or need to be more effective. Having a project crash and burn is never a great situation, author Bart Gerardi explains, but it's not a career buster—unless the failure appears on the short list of recurring, avoidable problems that can and will pop up during any project. If your project fails due to a lack of planning, for example, expect a trip to the woodshed. Why? Your "unexpected problem" was actually both predictable and avoidable.

This book is an exploration of the preventable problems that cause project failures and how to steer clear of them. It includes far more than simple rookie mistakes like trying to please the wrong stakeholder or misunderstanding your role on the team. Those who have been around the block a few times will also find tips and insights that can help them reignite a stalled or meandering career. The sections on managing change adroitly or handling truly unexpected challenges, for example, can get veteran project managers back on track.

There are plenty of books about the science of project management that cover such things as creating a work-breakdown structure or a Gantt chart. No-Drama Project Management is about the art of project management. It contains methods and techniques—illustrated with stories from Gerardi's rich store of experiences—that'll help project managers shine and become promotable. This book:

  • Describes the common obstacles that all projects face, and how to defuse or avoid them

  • Explains how project managers can hold a mirror to their own performance and improve it

  • Shows project managers how to become masters at expecting the unexpected and thereby ratcheting up their success rates

What you'll learn

This book shows you how to:

  • Understand the problems that every project faces, and how to avoid them

  • Adjust your management style if it causes problems for your projects

  • Determine just what your program manager is thinking, and what he or she wants from you

  • Make sure, if your projects fail, that they do so in interesting and educational ways, not mundane ones

  • Ensure that your projects run smoother, with less focus on the mistakes and more on the challenges

  • Become a top project manager in your company, your field, the world!

Who this book is for

No-Drama Project Management: Avoiding Predictable Problems for Project Success is for project managers who have had projects go awry in the past and don't understand why. It is for the project manager who wants to think like a program manager and keep from making the kinds of mistakes that will get them in hot water. It is also for program or portfolio managers who need to help train project managers to keep projects on track by managing the "known unknowns." Finally, this book is for project managers who are ready to think beyond their current projects and look ahead to a job as a program or portfolio manager.

Table of Contents

  1. Title
  2. Dedication
  3. Contents
  4. About the Author
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Preface
  7. Chapter 1: The No-Drama Project Manager
    1. Why We Run Projects
    2. Why Roles Are Necessary
    3. Role of the Project Manager
    4. Role of the Project Team
    5. Role of the Program Manager
    6. Role of the PMO
    7. Role of the Project Sponsor and/or Client
    8. Summary
  8. Chapter 2: Project Management Success
    1. How to Irritate Your Program Manager
    2. Expected Problems in Client Management
    3. Expected Problems in Team Management
    4. Not All Problems Are Expected
    5. No-Drama Project Management
  9. Chapter 3: Identify Requirements
    1. Customer Identification
    2. Top-Down Thinking vs. Bottom-Up Thinking
    3. Outside-In Requirements Gathering
    4. The Value of Focus
    5. Communication Strategy
    6. Sign-off
    7. Summary
  10. Chapter 4: Prioritize
    1. The Importance of Prioritization
    2. The True Critical Path
    3. Prioritization Games
    4. Pairwise Prioritization
    5. The Value of Deprioritization
    6. How to Deprioritize
    7. Summary
  11. Chapter 5: Manage Change
    1. The Importance of Change Management
    2. Drivers of Change
    3. Be Aware of the Situation
    4. Be Aware of the People
    5. Be Aware of the Project
    6. Keeping Aligned
    7. Summary
  12. Chapter 6: Align with the Client
    1. Why Alignment Is Important
    2. Aligning with the Client
    3. Aligning with the Team
    4. Communicating Alignment
    5. Understanding Differences
    6. Amount of Aggressiveness
    7. Remaining Aligned
    8. Summary
  13. Chapter 7: Testing Assumptions
    1. What Is an Assumption?
    2. The Importance of Assumptions
    3. How to Identify Assumptions
    4. Avoiding Standard or Implicit Assumptions
    5. Assumptions vs. Risk
    6. Continually Testing and Tracking Assumptions and Risks
    7. What to Do When an Assumption Is Wrong
    8. Summary
  14. Chapter 8: Identify Decision Makers
    1. Who Is Paying the Bill?
    2. Who Has the People?
    3. Who Is the Customer?
    4. Who Has Signature Authority?
    5. Any Other Influencers?
    6. Does Anyone Want This to Fail?
    7. How to Manage Stakeholders
    8. Summary
  15. Chapter 9: Communicate Effectively
    1. The Importance of Communication
    2. Differentiating Communication for Different Audiences
    3. Challenges of Different Audiences
    4. Treat Communication as a Project Deliverable
    5. Communication Channels
    6. Determining Whether You’re Being Effective
    7. Other Benefits of Effective Communication
    8. Summary
  16. Chapter 10: Develop a Plan
    1. Acting Intentionally
    2. Scheduling and Traditional Planning
    3. Making Other Plans
    4. Sticking with the Plan
    5. Summary
  17. Chapter 11: Prepare for Problems
    1. Expecting the Expected
    2. Summary
  18. Chapter 12: Establish Metrics
    1. Top-Level Metrics
    2. What Are KPIs?
    3. Some Example Project-Management Metrics
    4. The Two KPIs Your Program Manager Cares About
    5. Summary
  19. Chapter 13: Know the Roles
    1. What Makes a Project Team?
    2. The Three Levels of Team Members
    3. The Importance of Role Definition
    4. Project Team Member Roles
    5. Policing Roles
    6. Summary
  20. Chapter 14: Handling the Truly Unexpected
    1. No-Drama Preparation
    2. Was Your Problem Unexpected?
    3. Strategies for the Unexpected
    4. Managing Fallout
    5. Managing the Team
    6. Summary
  21. Chapter 15: The End of Drama
    1. No-Drama Project Management
    2. Making Intentional Decisions
    3. Expecting the Expected
    4. Problems in Team Management
    5. Problems in Client Management
    6. Managing the Unexpected
  22. Index