Emerald Group Publishing Limited
“This book”, the preface assures us, “is not about project management as most people understand the term.” Projects are no longer being seen as confined exercises but more “as mechanisms for managing innovation and change” – not necessarily defined as projects at all – and with leaders who may have titles such as “manager” or “co‐ordinator”. The importance of context and perspective is now recognised, and factors such as organisational politics, personal objectives and external pressures have to be taken into account. Projects also often require or create co‐operation across boundaries within and between organisations. The book deals with the “skills, awareness and understanding deployed by project leaders operating successfully in a wide range of organisational and project settings”: qualities that are far from universally present in staff who may have to lead projects.
There are three parts to the book: “The project leader”, “Preparing the ground”, and “Managing the project”. The chapter headings give a fair picture of the content. They include: The project in the organization; Understanding the big picture; Managing the sponsor; Scoping; The project start‐up process; Keeping on track; and Handing over and winding up. Readers can assess their potential as project leaders by answering the questionnaire on pp. 30‐33. The text concludes with an “Action summary”, one page to each chapter.
The book is very clearly written and structured, and has telling diagrams and other illustrations. The chatty style may be irritating to some (I confess a first sentence that reads “John Kingsley had a disaster on his hands” makes me recoil a little), but the text is aimed at practitioners, not academics.
This text has clearly found a receptive market; it first appeared in 1990, and this second edition has been reprinted twice. There is little doubt that it will continue to fill an important niche. Strongly recommended for senior and middle managers in any sort of organisation.