Brilliant Project Management by Stephen Barker and Rob Cole

Brilliant Project Management is a concise, general book with some good psychological insights in it.

What Stood Out

Some of the insights are more or less specifically applicable only to project management. For example, part of Chapter Six (Leading Effective Teams) is about the fallacy according to which people add manpower to speed up projects, with the result that the projects are actually slowed down, due to the extra work needed to bring the new people up to speed. (The Mythical Man-Month is a whole book about this one idea!)

However, other insights seem to have broader application. For example, the beginning of Chapter Nine (Making Use of Lessons Learned) reminds readers, in a manner of speaking, that a ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Mistakes, in other words, are inevitable. The chapter goes on to describe how best to learn from both positive and negative experience and from the experience of others as well as one’s own. The specific suggestions for interacting in offices could apply to a variety of jobs; the underlying insights could apply to personal life as well.

Chapter Four (Delivering Quality) reminds readers that a good solution to a problem is neither under-engineered nor over-engineered. Providing a more elegant, elaborate, or complete solution than is strictly required may not seem like a mistake but in fact wastes valuable time and money. In fact, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s generally a bad idea to put more effort into something than it deserves. Done ‘well enough’ is done.

Chapter Five (Resource Management) reminds readers that something that is “about 90% complete” is almost certainly not, chronologically speaking. As we know, the last 20% of the work often takes 80% of the time!

When and Why I Read It

Bought it cheap because it looked like it would be relevant to past, current, and possibly future job functions.

Genre: Non-fiction (business)
Date started / date finished:  17-Jul-16 to 18-Aug-16
Length: 154 pages
ISBN: 9780273707936 (paperback)
Originally published in: 2007
Amazon link: Brilliant Project Management

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