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Hardcover Visual Project Management Book

ISBN: 0471577790

ISBN13: 9780471577799

Visual Project Management

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Book Overview

Visualizing Project Management Project management is widely recognized as the new frontier in productivity, quality assurance, and product development--a vista of opportunity in an otherwise shrinking corporate landscape. Fortune magazine compared the deepening cuts in middle management to the extinction of the dinosaur--with project managers cast as wily mammals evolving to rule the corporate jungle. If you would rather be a mammal than a dinosaur,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Weighty in its Simplicity

Rarely do I read a book that is weighty in its simplicity while being exhaustive in its subject treatment. Visualizing Project Management succeeds where many have failed. The book focuses on the five common elements of every successful project: a common vocabulary, teamwork, a plan, leadership and management.Starting with the project requirements, it details the correct way to plan, schedule and control projects. These elements do not naturally occur, particularly in complex technical projects. The techniques and tools presented are applicable throughout the project lifecycle. The book is full of illustrations, which clarify the techniques being discussed. The best idea I found book was the Cards on the Wall technique, which calls for each team member to attach each WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) to a wall and interconnect the dependencies with yarn. The resulting interaction, I found, encourages group thinking and project buy-in, while anticipating the unanticipated. There is also a great section on Earned Value, a powerful and effective tool for the early detection of slippages and cost overruns. As the authors correctly note, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."Aspiring project managers and executives responsible for supervising it in their organizations should read this book. It will help them successfully understand and apply the project management process in their pursuit of "better, faster, and cheaper."

Visualize - the Right Way to Plan and Control Projects!

Starting with a work categorization structure through to managing schedules and cost using earned values, this book clarifies the right way to plan, schedule and control projects. The authors clearly explain what needs to be done in order to take the hands-on approach in managing to budget and schedule.This book also explains in an easy-to-understand fashion the concept of earned value project management. This section that should be considered as mandatory reading by all involved in project implementation. Also don't miss the section on project vocabulary, reiterating the need for clear and understandable communication among all participants.A key mistake that is constantly made in project management is the assumption that one needs immediately start producing Gantt charts with Microsoft Project from the inception. A far better approach, as outlined by the authors, would be to use the "cards-on-the-wall" method to illustrate roles, sequences and dependencies, forming the basis for a good basic project plan. This results in a well-organized basic plan, which has a far greater chance of success and meeting budgets. There is still ample time to introduce the Gantt chart schedules from Microsoft Project, but as a part of the process. There is an accompanying CD-ROM that has an excellent presentation of the "spiral" model opening onto the authors' "Vee" model that shouldn't be missed. More visual exhibits that give emphasis to concepts presented in the book are there as well.Visualizing Project Management should be considered as must reading by not just project managers, but those involved in change control and IT personnel in general.

Used in a trial by fire and it got me through

I received this book as a gift from a colleague/mentor who insisted that I read it. Since I had never been a project manager I glanced through it and stuck it on a shelf where it collected dust. One fateful day I was tasked with producing a project plan and, in a panic, called my mentor who reminded me that the answers to my frantic questions were in the book. Although I was under pressure and in no mood to read a book I gave it a shot. This is where the value of Visualizing Project Management became apparent. I was able to follow the step-by-step procedures outlined in the book to produce a work breakdown structure (something I didn't know existed), determine dependencies and perform supportable estimations for time and resources. By the time I was ready to plug the tasks into Microsoft Project I had a clear idea of what needed to be done, and a realistic estimate of time and people required. In essence I was using this book as a guide for planning my first project. Each step of the way I was gaining self-confidence while methodically laying out a project that accounted for all necessary tasks and their deliverables, and could be supported from a traceability and cost-estimating relationship viewpoint.Along the way I learned how to control the project once it was initiated, which was something I had not considered when I was first tasked with planning it. Bear in mind I was simultaneously reading this book and planning my first project, so I am probably not a typical reader. Taking this into account what I liked most about this book is the step-by-step approach to project management. The approach is logical and highly visual (hence the title). Each step, from initial planning to scheduling to controlling the project was put into context and clearly explained. There are no long-winded explanations or theory, making this book a great tool for learning project management (in my case learning while doing).In addition to using a lot of illustrations to show how project management should be done this book also shows how to use visual tools to manage projects. One visual technique that I really thought was clever is the "cards on the wall" approach. This method allowed me to put the tasks from the work breakdown structure on cards, tacked to the wall, then examine dependencies by connecting them with yarn. In essence, I could play "what if" and optimize dependencies using some very low tech tools. However, this is a highly visual and highly effective way to sequence tasks.I also learned a powerful technique for controlling projects: earned value. This technique compares your project's planned cost and schedule baseline to actuals. It is a proactive way to manage projects because it is an early warning indicator of slippages and overruns. Before reading this book I was in awe of project managers. After reading this book I discovered that many project managers really depend on luck instead of methods to get through projects. I am appalle

Should be on the bookshelf of every PM & aspiring PM

This book explains how to plan, schedule and control projects the right way, starting with a workbreakdown structure through to managing schedule and cost using earned value. While there are other books that do this, Visualizing Project Management presents this information in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand manner. One of my favorite parts of the book explains how to use "cards on the wall" to portray dependencies and sequence, which is the basis of a good schedule. I also liked how earned value project management is presented. If you want a book that shows in a straightforward manner how to plan and estimate a project with confidence (versus firing up MS Project and starting with a Gantt chart that will aomost surely result in cost and schedule overruns because you did not think through the basics), then this is the book to get. Moreover, if you want to understand how to correctly schedule a project after it has been planned and estimated (using MS Project or your favorite tool), then Visualizing Project Management is must-reading. This book also explains in an easy-to-understand maner how to control a project; i.e., what you need to do in order to proactively manage to budget and schedule. I have purchased 8 copies of this book over the years as gifts to colleagues who were assigned to manage projects - each person loved the book.

The Best I've Ever Taken

As a federal government employee, I had the luxury of experiencing a dedicated two-week project management course provided by the Center for Systems Management, presented directly by the authors Kevin Forsberg and Hal Mooz. Having attended untold training courses over my past 14 years in government (some worthwhile, others less so), I unreservedly submit to you that the two weeks spent at the hands of Forsberg and Mooz were easily the most beneficial two weeks of instruction I've ever experienced in my life, period.The two weeks were intense, involving many 10-12 hour days. During those two weeks, different systems of effective project management were examined in detail, and the merits & shortcomings of each system outlined; interesting case studies drove home in no small way the validity and necessity of proper project management to the success or failure of a project/mission. A large part of the second week focused on the concepts provided in this book.The principles outlined in Visualizing Project Management are presented in clear, easily-understood terms so that the readers can truly "visualize" project management. These principles and processes allow the manager to easily identify issues and concerns that inevitably arise within any project, large or small, and provide the knowledge and tools to not only identify problems, but effectively deal with them, sometimes even before they get a chance to derail your project. The entire project cycle that is outlined is excellent in keeping activity focused and on track, with periodic review/control gates allowing for the much needed management review and insight. Having perused many other books on the subject, some of which run into the thousands of pages (I assume necessarily), I've concluded that no clearer and succinct presentation exists of these concepts.As a manager of a somewhat large, distributed government IT infrastructure, I've found that I use the principles outlined in this book for even the smallest of day to day tasks. Since the concepts/principles are "scalable," they are easily applied to the myriad of projects that are always underway, and have helped identify and locate my division's place and role in all of them. I can't imagine having to work in my environment without the skills I've learned from the course and this book. You may even find yourself using this knowledge at home, like I did while hosting a particularly "cumbersome" Thanksgiving dinner, where "workflow" and organization was everything.If you find yourself experiencing difficulties in project management and need a clear path to the light at the end of the tunnel, read this book and prosper. And if you can arrange a course with the authors through Center for Systems Management, by all means avail yourself of the opportunity. You'll be glad you did.
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