Friday, February 18, 2011

Project in your Pocket, by Gareth John Turner

John Turner wrote "Project in your Pocket" for the Project Managers that just got into Project Management. Even after you get some training on the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) or other similar framework, you still find sharp edges on the concepts that don't fit together nicely. This leaves you with the feeling that you're missing some piece of the puzzle. That's the audience this book was written for, and this is the gap this book was designed to fill.

"Project in your Pocket" is a very simple book. And simple here, like in most cases, isn't the easiest thing to achieve. "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" captures the spirit of this, meaning that only when you understand something you can get to the essence of things and expose them to others as something simple. And this book basically explains how to use a particular template - dead simple. And manage projects with it. I too have such a template I use in my projects as I suspect every Project Manager does. The thing is that this particular template focus on just the essential that goes on on a project and really lets you focus on the core stuff and put all else aside to address when needed. It's not that the other stuff isn't necessary; it's just that you have to get the core in place first. Plus, on explaining how to use the template, John Turner gives a time line perspective that works for filling that gap that new Project Managers feel.It's so true that the focus of this book is the core of Project Management that it doesn't really matter what framework you use, you'll always have that core. You can do Software Development with an Agile approach and use this template, you can work on a consulting company with a Project Management Office in place following the PMBOK and use this template and you can do construction projects on a small company that just builds stuff with no Project Management process in place and still use this template. This is some extraordinary achievement!

"Project in your Pocket" is written with an attitude I appreciate very much. He puts practice above theory. One example is building Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) using Mind Maps. Actually he puts an example where there's a work package composed by just one other work package - that's a no no. There are 2 dangers with this: (i) people that don't know what a WBS is are going to learn it wrong and (ii) it doesn't work for projects with some complexity. But you know what? It works!

The last thing I want to say about this book is that it follows an example from start to end. The example is great, the project in focus is putting together the members of an old band for a one time concert. The book walks you through the 10 steps of the template and in the end of you have the template completed with this project's information all in place. From start to end, John Turner shows how to use the template, what to do first, what goes next and what to do last.

To sum it it up: "Project in your pocket" is a must read for anyone starting on Project Management and a useful and insightful tool for Project Management professionals in general.

Note: "Project in your pocket" will be available on Amazon in approximately 6 weeks. I'll update this post with the respective links when that happens.

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Johnny said...


Many thanks both for reading Project In Your Pocket ("PIP") and also for leaving such insightful comments. You have really picked up on the message that I set out to convey and the way in which I had hoped to do so.

As you have observed, the PIP method provides an efficient framework for streamlining and summarising rather than replacing standard project start-up documentation and thus does not usurp existing methodologies.

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother": I couldn't agree more! While my book is of use to all project managers (the method was implemented last year at a major global bank), it is really aimed at those moving in to the discipline for the first time.

With apologies for the “guerilla marketing”, for a limited time I am offering a free download to anyone joining my LinkedIn group - I'd really welcome any feedback.

John Turner

Luis Seabra Coelho said...

Thank you for your comment Johnny.

It feels good to see one's convictions corroborated and in this case it looks like we've been corroborating each other. That's twice as nice :)

If your comment was guerilla marketing it wouldn't show anyway as it has to be approved. But for each attack there's a possible defense and for each defense a counter-attack. You'll just have to try harder than that...

Wish you the deserved success with your book.