It's a Project Manager's World Newsletter with Dr. James Brown
      November 2008 Full Moon Edition      

Book Review - The One Page Project Manager

I read this book with great interest because of three reasons: 1. It had a wide variety of reviews form one star to five star, (mostly five stars); 2. It is continually in the top ten ranking for sales in project management books by Amazon; 3. I was intrigued by the title that claims to simplify a task as complex as project management to one page.

My bottom line is that this is a valuable book and I rate it as five stars.

However it is not for everyone. One reviewer writes on "I've worked for 2 Fortune 10 companies and this particular "one page" would have never been accepted at either company. My projects were too complex to fit the WBS/tasks onto one page." I agree whole heartedly with this statement. However, most people do not work for Fortune 10 companies or Fortune 100 companies for that matter.

One of the benefits I have earned by providing training for a variety of organizations is exposure to a variety of project management maturity levels and methodologies. Trust me when I say big does not mean mature and small does not mean immature. Maturity and methodologies vary widely.

Methodologies are a two edged sword and frankly the "complexity/bureaucratic" edge is sharper and more dangerous than the "simple/not enough structure" edge.

For smaller organizations and organizations that have little or no consistent project management structure this book provides a tool that is a sound basis for project management. I have recommended this book to several clients in this situation and they have had great success with the method. The feedback from their project managers and leadership has been good.

Project status should be done on one page!

There is no magic in The One Page Project Manager and we all know project management is more complex than one page. However, as I recommend in my own book and website article, project status should be done on one page. The One Page Project Manager uses that philosophy as the basis of a methodology.

When I come across clients trying to establish a consistent methodology my advice is always the same. Start with a consistent status reporting system for all projects and herein lies the strength ofThe One Page Project Manager. Consistent status will expose problems that will logically lead you to the next step in the methodology maturation. Now if you work for a company with a mature methodology The One Page Project Manager still may work in your organization as a structure to handle small projects that shouldn't be subjected to "the methodology."

A one pound project doesn't need fifty pounds of methodology.

There is a template for The One Page Project Manager that you can download here. In project management there are a variety of tools to choose from. It is not a one size fits all and you have to deploy the tools that best relate to your circumstance. Whether you are large or small there is no substitute for good judgment and discipline.

Project management is more than a one page activity but this book provides a sound basis to summarize those activities and assure the important aspects are covered.

Dr. James T. Brown PMP PE CSP


Copyright 2008 SEBA Solutions Inc. 

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