My Recommendation: 7/10
All entrepreneurs need to focus on Effective Project management.
I remember reading this book in 2013. At that moment I was experimenting with different ways to efficiently streamline most of my projects between my collaborators and customers.
A few months before I had already started implementing a mix between Agile Software Development and delivering MVP(Minimum Viable Products). Most customers loved the idea or receiving something fully working in production after only 2-4 weeks. Had I known of the Elixir/OTP ecosystem back then I could have streamlined and optimized even more projects properly.
This book perfectly explains the PMLC or Project Management Life-cycle. it goes through various "traditional project management styles" to the Linear ones, Incremental. It talks about the Agile Project management approaches and how customer involvement is essential at each step. There are also other mentions about iterative, adaptive and extreme project management systems to which it dedicates.
Thanks to this book I understood that all customers have unmet needs. They are actually looking to a solution to their problem. I am therefore here to provide a unique sequence of services and activities. Combining this with the fact that I need to understand those unmet needs before I start working on the project, or else problems can ensure.
That was also the moment when I changed my working style and the way I structured my contracts. Based on the scope triangle https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/88/Project-triangle-en.svg/405px-Project-triangle-en.svg.png
The customer would chose what he want to be fixed and the rest would be flexible.
- Scope or Which are the functional specifications of the project?
- Cost or What's the maximum budget allocated?
Time frame - is there an ultimate deadline, launch date?
Similarly, there is also a risk factor involved. Which other resources are there available?
Together with the MVP methodology this proved to be extremely efficient. Being able to eliminate all non value added work.
It was also the moment when I started experimenting with involving customers more in the project.
Customer Wants ≠ Customer needs
It was also during that time that I had an enlightening moment. What a customer wants is not what he needs. I later saw this recurring pattern in copywriting textbooks.
The requirements change as the client gains better focus on what they actually need. That was one of the moments that led me to want to develop a deep understanding of each customer's business needs and their systems.
During the years I started noticing the same thing over and over again. Most customers want something yet that's not what they need nor is is in their best interest.
At least I'm happy some know that they want something. Others don't even know they could automate their problems away.
Since the price would change based on their changes most began understanding the effects of "new ideas" on price changes.
Minimum Viable Product
Setting a price for a Minimum Viable Product and then pricing extra feature iterations seems to be the best option in creating large software projects. The customer always has something (s)he can use and can determine features based on direct needs. Combined with statistics this proves to be the most useful option.
Knowledge Management Areas
The book dives into different management types. Like time management, cost management, integration management, quality management.. And many more including risk, procurement etc.
Managing Customer Expectations
What I've found interesting is the concept of COS or Conditions of Satisfaction. This implies some simple and tangible results of what the success criteria will look like.
They're either met or not met. No in betweens.
This can be used for the internal development team as well as for the customer.
The book goes in depth on how to land a TPM project. How to monitor a project successfully and which metrics to use. How to measure the project's performance is also vital and explained in detail with examples.
Another interesting concept is the "scope bank". 10% of the time of a project is allotted to the Scope Bank. Sooner or later it's well known that the scope bank will be equal to 0.
This useful abstraction provides the customer with two option whenever the customer wants to add new functionality.
- Prioritization of feature request. Either remove features and freeing up time for the scope bank
- Or the customer must accept change in price and time
Other notable concepts
I've condensed the whole book in notes form at around 25 handwritten pages. Far too much to retype it all. Besides it would be a spoiler of the book's awesomeness.
Effective Project management goes into detail around the scoping process. Risk Management and splits the project in multiple ways of management. How to set timeframes and solve problems so that no one is left behind while working on the project.
Estimating resources and creating a network diagram.
How to create an effective Project Proposal & present it to your team and to the customer.
Continuing with how to launch a TPM Project and how to handle project change requests with the COS
Not to mention how to monitor and control a TPM project including how to build and maintain the issue log.
Effective Project Management 7d edition byRobert K Wysocki is recommended
Project Managers will directly benefit from this book in it's whole.
Per overall I recommend this book to anyone who offers any type of services and is working with customers directly.
Software Developers should also read it to understand the project management process in more depth.