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The Art of Project Management

Book Description

The Art of Project Management covers it all--from practical methods for making sure work gets done right and on time, to the mindset that can make you a great leader motivating your team to do their best. Reading this was like reading the blueprint for how the best projects are managed at Microsoft... I wish we always put these lessons into action!" --Joe Belfiore, General Manager, E-home Division, Microsoft Corporation "Berkun has written a fast paced, jargon-free and witty guide to what he wisely refers to as the 'art' of project management. It's a great introduction to the discipline. Seasoned and new managers will benefit from Berkun's perspectives." --Joe Mirza, Director, CNET Networks (Cnet.com) "Most books with the words 'project management' in the title are dry tomes. If that's what you are expecting to hear from Berkun's book, you will be pleasantly surprised. Sure, it's about project management. But it's also about creativity, situational problem-solving, and leadership. If you're a team member, project manager, or even a non-technical stakeholder, Scott offers dozens of practical tools and techniques you can use, and questions you can ask, to ensure your projects succeed." --Bill Bliss, Senior VP of product and customer experience, expedia.com In The Art of Project Management, you'll learn from a veteran manager of software and web development how to plan, manage, and lead projects. This personal account of hard lessons learned over a decade of work in the industry distills complex concepts and challenges into practical nuggets of useful advice. Inspiring, funny, honest, and compelling, this is the book you and your team need to have within arms reach. It will serve you well with your current work, and on future projects to come. Topics include:

  • How to make things happen

  • Making good decisions

  • Specifications and requirements

  • Ideas and what to do with them

  • How not to annoy people

  • Leadership and trust

  • The truth about making dates

  • What to do when things go wrong

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Preface
    1. Who should read this book
    2. Assumptions I've made about you in writing this book
    3. How to use this book
  3. A brief history of project management (and why you should care)
    1. Using history
    2. Web development, kitchens, and emergency rooms
    3. The role of project management
    4. Program and project management at Microsoft
    5. The balancing act of project management
    6. Pressure and distraction
    7. The right kind of involvement
    8. Summary
  4. Plans
    1. The truth about schedules
      1. Schedules have three purposes
      2. Silver bullets and methodologies
      3. What schedules look like
      4. Why schedules fail
      5. What must happen for schedules to work
      6. Summary
    2. How to figure out what to do
      1. Software planning demystified
      2. Approaching plans: the three perspectives
      3. The magical interdisciplinary view
      4. Asking the right questions
      5. Catalog of common bad ways to decide what to do
      6. The process of planning
      7. Customer research and its abuses
      8. Bringing it all together: requirements
    3. Writing the good vision
      1. The value of writing things down
      2. How much vision do you need?
      3. The five qualities of good visions
      4. The key points to cover
      5. On writing well
      6. Drafting, reviewing, and revising
      7. A catalog of lame vision statements (which should be avoided)
      8. Examples of visions and goals
      9. Visions should be visual
      10. The vision sanity check: daily worship
      11. Summary
    4. Where ideas come from
      1. The gap from requirements to solutions
      2. There are bad ideas
      3. Thinking in and out of boxes is OK
      4. Good questions attract good ideas
      5. Bad ideas lead to good ideas
      6. Perspective and improvisation
      7. The customer experience starts the design
      8. A design is a series of conversations
      9. Summary
    5. What to do with ideas once you have them
      1. Ideas get out of control
      2. Managing ideas demands a steady hand
      3. Checkpoints for design phases
      4. How to consolidate ideas
      5. Prototypes are your friends
      6. Questions for iterations
      7. The open-issues list
      8. Summary
  5. Skills
    1. Writing good specifications
      1. What specifications can and cannot do
      2. Deciding what to specify
      3. Specifying is not designing
      4. Who, when, and how
      5. When are specs complete?
      6. Reviews and feedback
      7. Summary
    2. How to make good decisions
      1. Sizing up a decision (what's at stake)
      2. Finding and weighing options
      3. Information is a flashlight
      4. The courage to decide
      5. Paying attention and looking back
      6. Summary
    3. Communication and relationships
      1. Management through conversation
      2. A basic model of communication
      3. Common communication problems
      4. Projects depend on relationships
      5. The best work attitude
      6. Summary
    4. How not to annoy people: process, email, and meetings
      1. A summary of why people get annoyed
      2. The effects of good process
      3. Non-annoying email
      4. How to run the non-annoying meeting
      5. Summary
    5. What to do when things go wrong
      1. Apply the rough guide
      2. Common situations to expect
      3. Take responsibility
      4. Damage control
      5. Conflict resolution and negotiation
      6. Roles and clear authority
      7. An emotional toolkit: pressure, feelings about feelings, and the hero complex
      8. Summary
  6. Management
    1. Why leadership is based on trust
      1. Building and losing trust
      2. Make trust clear (create green lights)
      3. The different kinds of power
      4. Trusting others
      5. Trust is insurance against adversity
      6. Models, questions, and conflicts
      7. Trust and making mistakes
      8. Trust in yourself (self-reliance)
      9. Summary
    2. How to make things happen
      1. Priorities make things happen
      2. Things happen when you say no
      3. Keeping it real
      4. Know the critical path
      5. Be relentless
      6. Be savvy
      7. Summary
    3. Middle-game strategy
      1. Flying ahead of the plane
      2. Taking safe action
      3. The coding pipeline
      4. Hitting moving targets
      5. Summary
    4. End-game strategy
      1. Big deadlines are just several small deadlines
      2. Elements of measurement
      3. Elements of control
      4. The end of end-game
      5. Party time
      6. Summary
    5. Power and politics
      1. The day I became political
      2. The sources of power
      3. The misuse of power
      4. How to solve political problems
      5. Know the playing field
      6. Summary
  7. Notes
  8. Annotated Bibliography
    1. Philosophy and strategy
    2. Psychology
    3. History
    4. Management and politics
    5. Science, engineering, and architecture
    6. Software process and methodology
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Photo Credits
  11. Colophon
    1. About the Author
    2. Colophon
  12. Index