I thought it would be fun to list some impressions of favorite and least favorite Project management books and methodologies. I wrote none of these. You too, can feel free to refute my oppinions or add your own replies or spam us with the latest project managment religion. Why not? Everyone else does.
The PMBOK: Good for passing a certification test but not as good for getting a job as good connections. The PMBOK is mainly good for self defense to give other people the illusion that you may know something about what you are talking about. I’ve also found it useful for protecting furniture from drink stains. If you are referring to it in an actual project to solve actual problems I predict you are either in the construction field or in deep, deep trouble. If you are part of the PMI organization I congratulate you on your continual self enrichment off ever new and expanded certifications of dubious worth. We all wish we had thought of that.
The Art of Project Management: This is a fairly well praised book. I think of it as a competent project management guide for best case project scenarios, you know those solvable types of problems a decent project manager can fairly easily handle. If I remember correctly he was managing for microsoft, the richest company on the planet on projects that were not ever at risk of cancellation or low priority. As far as I know he also cleverly never had to answer for those fun little internet exploder bugs that hijacked peoples systems and instead got rich writing this book. That being said this is deservedly and refreshing good at illustrating what basic competent project managagment usually looks like. For a seriously irreverant giggle or two, scroll down to the comment section until you get to comment 3 or 4 here about the picture: http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/14/236200
Scrappy Project Management: This is more like what project management looks like in more typical situations. You are not usually backed by the biggest bucks on the planet doing the high priority projects… those are actually the easy ones where you are set up for success, I kid you not. This book is for the rest of us in real life with the chaos around us trying to make some sense of it. Sometimes we suck. Sometimes managment sucks. Sometimes everything sucks. Here’s what to do or at least a humor survival guide to yourself and others. The practical tips on communicating with upper management in non ideal situations are so vital and not covered in any realistic way in any other book I’ve read. Unfortunately by the time I’d read this I’d made the mistakes she talks about and learned much the hard way. Read this book instead of doing that. My only real beef is I hate the number 12 (not the chapter just the number itself which was in the title, when do 8, 9 or gasp 13 get to get off the bench?) http://www.amazon.com/Scrappy-Project-Management-Predictable-Avoidable/dp/1600050514
RUP or UP Process: Rational Unified Process or Unified Process. I highly recommend this heavyweight process for projects that you need to extend long enough to make sure of cancellation. Some ideas should not become reality and this process is perfect for those. If on the other hand you need to get a good idea to market before anyone has the chance to cancel it or get in a political hissing contest over it do anything not to use this process. In that case bribe people if you have to, or find someone who wants to sleep with a critical person in your project management office but under no circumstances use it.