Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Review of Johanna Rothman's Book, "Manage It!"

Even if she were not my friend, I would recommend Johanna Rothman's new Book, Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management. The best way for me to describe Manage It! is as a survey course in project management for experienced project managers.

You could read this book to get a good flavor for what project managers do, but I don't see it as a first course in becoming a project manager. Instead, Johanna is particularly skilled at describing many project management methods. She gives insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Experienced project managers typically have grown up with a particular project management method: Waterfall, phase-gate, spiral, agile, Scrum, XP. While Johanna shows a general preference for agile methods, she gives excellent detail on how to work effectively in each method.

Johanna presents pragmatic tips for many elements of project management including scheduling, estimating, team building, and meeting management. I particularly liked her low-tech advice about building Gantt charts out of sticky notes on a conference room wall.

I think I will come back to this book whenever I feel stymied about how to approach a project management task. Each part gives multiple suggestions about how to be successful in most common project management situations. Don't skip this book because you think you are too experienced for it. Manage It! is packed with great tips for the most seasoned leader.

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