This is a new one for us - Book Reviews! Continued learning and development is important not just for Project Managers, but for practitioners in any field; this development needs to be a combination of new in-the-field experiences, and the theoretical grounding it is based upon. This particular book is the "Project Management Pocketbook", by Keith Posner and Mike Applegarth, and stands out on my Project Management Bookshelf both physically and conceptually.
Physically: my first impressions are that this is a tiny little book, with 110 pages but less than 15x11cm in a landscape-type format- about 1/3 of the height of a normal piece of paper, and 2/3 the width. It's clear this isn't mean to be a Project Management tomb, unlike most of the other books on my shelf. Which is where the conceptual difference comes in: most of my books tend to be the official textbook of various certifications and methods. Frustratingly many of them are now out of date versions! But I think that is one of the positives of this book; it isn't linked to a particular methodology or system, and its basic concepts are timeless. Its clear it doesn't set out to be a definitive end-to-end Project Management book, but instead little hints and tips each one to a small page. I think perhaps this will mean that mean that rather than having yet another book gathering dust on a shelf, you are much more likely to dip in and take 30 seconds to read a page - so you'll more likely get some benefit from it compared to "just another textbook".
The Contents breaks the book down into What is a Project, Scoping, Planning, Implementing, Evaluating the Project and also working with People. The last section is especially useful as it moves us away from thinking about the Project Lifecycle and reminds us of our role as a Leader in the Project as well as a manager. The other phases don't correspond directly to any Phase names I've seen in any Project Management methodology, but are universally understandable. As to the content, it's a bit of a random bunch consisting of various simple techniques and ideas - for example SWOT Analysis, PERT Diagrams, Project Reporting etc. Some of the acronyms were new to me such as "the 5 C's of decision making" and "SQUID", but that didn't make them any less useful - actual it was more because it would have been pointless if it was recycling the same old material.
All in all, not a bad book - I'm pretty sure I could do better, but who has the time? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.
Stay Healthy! Project Health Check - projecthealthcheck.org
To understand why do Projects Fail and what we need to do differently to stop it happening again.