Scrappy Project Management by Kimberly Wiefling

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Scrappy Project Management by Kimberly Wiefling

Postby dhaughey » Wed 16 Mar 2011 8:05 pm

Until recently, I would have been offended if somebody called me a "Scrappy Project Manager." Turns out "Scrappy" is a good thing in the good old US of A - hence the title of this book, Scrappy Project Management. Scrappy means having an aggressive spirit; inclined to fight or strive. Now you know that, don't let the title put you off, it's a gem.

The book is subtitled "The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces." I wouldn't mind betting just one of the 12 chapters has the ability to make you a better project manager.

There are plenty of quotes from luminaries such as Winston Churchill and Napoleon scattered throughout the book, many overused and clichéd, but still help to get Kimberly's points across. They provide the focal point for each chapter from where her insights flow.

Kimberly pulls no punches when explaining her dislike of e-mail as a tool for project management communication (and outdated organisation structures for that matter.) Although her views are at the extreme end of the spectrum, you will find some good take-outs in the chapter on communication.

I liken Kimberly's advice on planning to a doctor telling a 30-a-day patient to give up smoking. They know they should, and it's the right thing to do; but still carry on marching inexorably towards their doom. It's the same with poorly planned projects, they're doomed to fail – we know it.

Kimberly brings a Steven Seagal inspired laser focus to the subject of risk. If you've ever run a project, you've probably faced one or more of her scenarios. Beware the fire starter masquerading as a firefighter!

When it comes to priorities, Kimberly offers us a difficult dilemma, die in a minute (maybe 3) - or spend the rest of our life on dialysis. A tough choice! Not setting priorities isn't a valid choice she teaches us. So what's it going to be?

One of my favoured project management skills is explained with great clarity - managing stakeholder expectations. Whether this is the number one activity of a project manager is perhaps debatable, however, it's clear that time and effort spent managing stakeholder expectations will repay you many fold.

The book finishes with the Scrappy Project Management Checklist and a final insight into the qualities of a scrappy project manager.

Forget your academic style Waterfall verses Agile books of methodologies, PRINCE2 this and PMBOK that. Kimberly provides good no nonsense, practical advice in an easy-to-understand style. All you need is a little courage and commitment to make it work for you.

Kimberly is a voice of reason in a fog of project management acronyms and impractical theory. Her book energized me and got me thinking about the way I manage projects. Something worth the cover price on its own.

There are not many business books I'd describe as a page turner. With "Scrappy Project Management" I found myself wishing my train journey to last longer, so I could read Kimberly's next foray into a world of Scrappiness.

Buy the book, read it and ask yourself this question, "How Scrappy Am I?"

To get a taste of Kimberly's writing read, Avoiding Stone Age Practices in the Age of the Internet

To coin a phrase from Kimberly herself - "Keep it Scrappy!"

Duncan

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