Project Management from Simple to Complex
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-9461352-1-6
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
Conditions of Use
I used this online book when I taught an undergraduate course in Consulting and Project Management. The book effectively deals with all phases of read more
I used this online book when I taught an undergraduate course in Consulting and Project Management. The book effectively deals with all phases of project management. There was virtually no overall subject area that wasn't touched in some way. Although it does deal with client relationship management and team management, the bulk of the book deals with the more technical areas such as cost, schedule, cost and risk management. Frankly, I've seen as many projects fail because of poor people management as I have because of poor schedule or time management, so I would have liked to have seen a little more on how to build effective client relationships and how to handle team issues. But there's enough on those subjects that, combined with the professor's and students' own experience, should stimulate robust student discussion of these areas.
The content is generally accurate and error-free, but may be a little biased in the direction of some tools that I've never seen or heard of before. For example, I've never heard of the "Darnall-Preston Complexity Index" discussed in Section 2.3, and in reading about it I wasn't clear on the value, or where I would ever apply it in my independent consulting career, so this was one of the sections that I skipped in teaching the course. But the overall accuracy was fine.
The book is reasonably up-to-date and relevant. Section 1.5, Introduction to the Project Management Knowledge Areas, aligns generally (if not specifically) to the Project Management Institute's (PMI's) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Project management isn't really a rapidly-moving, speed-of-light field, and the basic principles have been in place and largely unchanged since PMI created PMBOK in 1996, so it should be easy to make updates as required. In the meantime, I'd recommend supplementing this book with a specific classroom discussion of the PMBOK process groups and knowledge areas.
The book was written clearly enough that it could be understood by undergraduates (although I sometimes skipped some of the more complex material), and I also think it would be a useful companion for any professional who is beginning to get involved in actual project management assignments. That's quite an impressive range. However, the prose is a little dense, as are many of the tables. It could use a few more summary graphs to break things up a little.
There were no inconsistencies, I'll say that. But the book is pretty effectively silo'ed into separate components (time, cost, schedule, quality, etc.) with little cross-chapter interaction. There was an opportunity to discuss the links between them in a little greater detail -- perhaps in a graphic format.
One of the great strengths of this book is its modularity. You can use this book to teach the fundamentals of project management as defined by the Project Management Institute, or you can focus on the specific parts that deal with client and team management. I taught an undergraduate course, and found it easy to focus on the overall construct of concepts such as schedule and cost management, without drilling into a lot of the detail that I would likely have gotten into on a graduate level.
The overall organization was good if a bit disjointed. To me, there's the "technical" side of project management (project management, time management, cost management, schedule management, quality and risk management) and the "people" side of project management (client relationship management, team management, communications processes). The book starts with the technical side of project profiling and phases, then goes to the people side, then back to the technical side. There may be a very good reason, but the book could use an overarching graphic or description of how the chapters all fit together. But this is a bit of a nit; overall the organization was fine and was no impediment to using this book.
This book is divided up section-by-section. This made it possible for me, on my class site, to provide direct links for each week's readings on the class site, based on what sections we were covering in each class. The students found this very convenient, and I did pretty well on the student evaluations, so you may want to consider doing this too.
I saw no grammatical errors. The book was clearly written.
I saw no culturally insensitive material, and none of my students raised any issues of this sort with the book.
It is my intention to use this book the next time I teach this class. Like any textbook, it requires some supplementation from the professor in terms of reading materials and classroom discussion. But it's a tremendous value, compared to some of the $60-$140 textbooks on this subject.
Text was very comprehensive, it covered all topics that are entailed in project management. While being broad in covering the topics, the text was read more
Text was very comprehensive, it covered all topics that are entailed in project management. While being broad in covering the topics, the text was not an in depth discussion of specific topics.
The text was accurate and unbiased. However there are some aspects that need updating such as, computer equipment and discussion of various uses of technology.
The information is relevant and is up to date with industry and practice. Again some sections/areas need some updating to meet with current technology.
The text is written with clarity for a beginning project management student to be able to read and understand.
The terms used throughout the text were consistent.
The text is broken down into easy, small section to read. While I do not prefer to read in such small sections I understand that it would be easy for students to read in small snip-its of time.
Overall the flow of the information is good. There is one area, project phases, that is not discussed until the last chapter of the text. I found this odd that this would not be introduced at the beginning.
I found no interface issues with the text
I found not grammatical errors in the text
The text included discussion of international projects and concerns and issues that need to be considered with projects in different countries/cultures.
The textbook covers the basis of project management but there are some surprising chapters and sections that other textbooks on project management read more
The textbook covers the basis of project management but there are some surprising chapters and sections that other textbooks on project management does not cover; training for example.
The textbook is good on accuracy.
The textbook covers relevance issues on project management but includes screen shots of software that is outdated in that respect, mainly MS Word screen shots. It is also a bit weak on mention of software and Applications out on the market.
The clarity of the topics covered is easy to read and not confusing.
Textbook is very consistency on topics to be covered compared to other textbooks.
This textbook has learning objectives at the start of each chapter and Key Takeaway sections at the end of the chapters that I find very easy for students to understand what is important and to remember.
The textbook follows flow like other project management text books I have used in the past: starting with what is project management to ending with Earned Value analysis. As mentioned before, each chapter has learning objectives listed and end of the chapters have Key take away sections before Discussion and Exercises section. It has plenty of examples of usage of project management skills and covers various industry type of projects.
Images and charts are ok except I find the image of network diagram examples could be confusing for students who have not had a lecture on network diagrams, forward and backward passes and calculations. There is a good example with good images of building a Workdown Breakdown Structure, though.
I did not see any grammatical errors.
It is not insensitive or offensive in any way.
It is weak on Earned value analysis since it does not show where you get the numbers to calculate BSWS, PV, etc. Example shows numbers for those already given. Also screen shots of software are outdated. Most of the end of chapter exercises and discussion are more writing (qualitative) versus having more problems for assignments.
The book starts in chapter one, paragraph one citing the Project Management Institute's Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) read more
The book starts in chapter one, paragraph one citing the Project Management Institute's Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) definition of a project. It continues to include all process groups and knowledge areas. However, the authors have used the 4th edition of the PMBOK,--not the latest available. So the Stakeholders knowledge area is not specifically included except within chapter 5 "Working with People on Projects". The book has no TOC or index so sequentially scrolling through the PDF I downloaded, was cumbersome to say the least. There is a lot of time spent on the author's tool to assess project complexity and it is referred to throughout the text. Its a useful concept to frame the degree of rigor to apply to a project. There were some topics that should've been left out. Chapter 6 on communication technologies is significantly out of date, referring to Word 2003 and 2007. References to technologies is a no-win since they change so fast. The text as a whole seemed to value breadth of coverage over depth. So there was mention of DISC, MBTI, EQ and others but the authors didn't pick one to really delve into. Same with brief mentions of quality tools even though there was a very long discussion of the history of quality management.
I found no inaccuracies in terms of formulas or calculations but I did not do a comprehensive check. There were tables and graphs on the Earned Value (chapter 9) that were very difficult to read, even magnified, so they couldn't be checked. The treatment of work breakdown structures was not so much about deliverables as about outlining activities to estimate. I find this is a common problem in project management textbooks. The chapter on risk did not address opportunities at all. Very good discussion of contract types in chapter 12.
The text used an old version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge which limits its usefulness. The essential project management concepts are still valid but the latest research and trends aren't evident here. When it gets into .time management in chapter 8 it cites the PMI processes associated with time management but since its coming from an old version of the PMBOK, it is not correct any longer. This is a serious reason that would prevent me from using this book. It also cites very old technology tools extensively.
Easy to read and understand with numerous examples and stories to highlight the points being made. The stories engage the reader and drive home the concepts in a tangible and memorable way. Often the examples are used multiple times to show how various aspect of an issue impacted the same project. That was well done. The terminology is defined when used and typically relates back to the PMBOK. The style of writing is very simple and accessible to high school or college students in general studies. The examples were predominately about construction projects or small example of an individual moving to a new home. This could be off-putting to students who know little about construction of chemical and steel plants, or mines. I believe the exercises are somewhat simplistic for a college course.
The terminology is defined when used and typically relates back to the PMBOK. So by the definition of being "internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework", the textbook was good on terminology but the framework was difficult to determine without some study. The PMBOK knowledge areas were all present in chapters 4-12 but without titles/introductions and a clear and consistent mapping to the PMBOK, it wasn't always apparent. That detracts from reinforcing the linkage with the student reader.
The chapters and sections were of reasonable size. A concept or premise was usually introduced, then broken down into its component parts to be discussed. These lowest level sections had descriptive headings as you'd expect but seemed to be fairly short. This relates back to my comment that the authors favored breadth of topic coverage over depth.
There was a definite top-down approach to the topics which I tend to appreciate. The first chapter is a great overview of project management, people and challenges. The logic of the remaining chapter order was not obvious to me. It was made less obvious by the lack of a table of contents. The chapter order is: 1-Introduction to project management 2-NO TITLE but about the project profiling tool 3- Project phases and organization 4-Understanding and meeting client expectations 5-Working with people 6-Communication technologies 7-Starting a project 8-Project time management 9-Estimating and managing cost 10-NO TITLE but about quality 11-Managing risk 12-Project procurement and closure
I reviewed the PDF of the text and noticed occasional formatting oddities such as a line break in the middle of a line on the page and mid-sentence. I was surprised that there were chapters without headings, titles or introductions, and that simply started in the middle of a page in a couple cases (see chapter 2 as an example). I didn't like that section or figure headings would be positioned at the very bottom of a page with the remainder of the section at the top of the next page. There were occasional gaps of white space around figures. It seemed that formatting was not adjusted in any way. This was distracting to me. The resolution of the diagrams, tables and figures was quite low so even if I magnified them, many were unreadable or very difficult to read at best.
I saw no grammatical errors.
Several mentions of different cultures and how they impacted the project metrics, team interactions and outcomes. This was well integrated into the material throughout, as well as specific in the communications sections. I saw no stereotypes of other cultures and their habits/methods. Examples from Argentina and India stand out in my mind as frequent mentions.
I wanted to like this book and there were many things about it to appreciate: the focus on the PMI framework; the great overview in chapter 1; the simple, readable writing; the focus on dealing with projects differently depending on their complexity; the cultural awareness; and others. It didn't go into much depth but the breadth was good for an introductory project management class at the college level, which I regularly teach. I could supplement from my own materials and library resources where I wanted to emphasize select topics. The biggest drawbacks for me were: 1. not being updated to the latest version of the PMBOK 2. the poor formatting of the text with missing chapter titles and introductions, and poor quality graphics 3. the lack of robust exercises 4. the out of date technology reference and examples
The text covers a broad range of topics including some that seem peripherally related to Project management (like Quality and Statistics 10.1). read more
The text covers a broad range of topics including some that seem peripherally related to Project management (like Quality and Statistics 10.1). It doesn't occur to me that including these extra topics are a drawback, as each section can be included or not. As in all course design, the scope of the course is the determinate of topics. These authors do introduce the concept of complexity and there is a good discussion of complexity in project management. They also introduce a method of rating a project's complexity as a guide for planning. This is a novel approach and is interesting in the context of project management. The discussion of complexity adds to the topic greatly. There is no Table of Contents and no Index, which makes the document a bit hard to navigate.
In my opinion, accuracy isn't a concern in Project management. Because this topic is an art more than a science, the communication is most effective in the context of what tools work in different circumstances. This text uses examples extensively and this is very effective to illustrate the variety of forms. There is enough variety of topics to communicate the breadth of the subject
Because project management is not a new topic, relevancy is not a hugely important characteristic. The only place where there may be concerns about topic's currency is in the discussions about software. Some of their examples use Word 2007 which is already out of date. I have been discussing Agile Project Management in my courses (Scrums, Sprints, Etc.), but this topic is not addressed in the text. I will have to supplement my course with this material if I use this textbook. I very much like their reference to Open Project as an open source software for Project management.
The writing is clear and concise. The extensive use of examples is very helpful to ground the topic. In addition each section has learning objective sand exercises. The book would benefit from more illustrations and graphics. As it is the layout is not aesthetically pleasing.
The book is written with a consistent style throughout. It is clear the authors reviewed and edited the text completely.
The chapters and sections can be used independently except for the fact that the concept of complexity is introduced early and referred to often. This section (2.3) should be include in any selection from the book or the reader may not understand some references.
The book begins with addressing complexity and specifically complexity in human systems and then moves onto the more traditional topics found in a project management text. This organization in clear due to the introduction, but a Table on Contents would help immensely. I do believe there could be more in the way of traditional Project management tools like those used in PMBOK (Project management Book of Knowledge) published by PMI.
Because there is no Table on Contents, navigation in the text is difficult. In addition the minimum number of illustration and graphics makes the text hard to use. Much could be done in this area to improve the text.
I found no grammatical errors.
The text has basic information regarding cultural awareness and diversity, but it would benefit from a more robust discussion of both Social and environmental concerns in project management.
I will use this book in my Sophomore level project management class in Industrial Engineering. I may need to supplement the book with online content, but it will be a good reference for students and it covers topics of current importance.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Project Management
- Chapter 2: Project Profiling
- Chapter 3: Project Phases and Organization
- Chapter 4: Understanding and Meeting Client Expectations
- Chapter 5: Working with People on Projects
- Chapter 6: Communication Technologies
- Chapter 7: Starting a Project
- Chapter 8: Project Time Management
- Chapter 9: Estimating and Managing Costs
- Chapter 10: Managing Project Quality
- Chapter 11: Managing Project Risk
- Chapter 12: Project Procurement and Closure
About the Book
In a world that is becoming more virtual, more global, and more complex, the project manager’s ability to function in this environment becomes critical to the success of the project. Project Management from Simple to Complex explores project management within this complex, virtual, and global environment.
This is not a standard textbook that was adapted to the new publishing paradigm; it was designed from the beginning to utilize its capabilities. The book is written in collaboration by an expert in Project Management and an expert in writing instructional textbooks and using technology for communicating online to create a unique learning environment that prepares students to manage projects in a global, multicultural, and online environment.
Project Management from Simple to Complex features a new model for managing projects, as well as, exploration into the personal dynamics of project management and the role those dynamics play in project outcomes.
About the Contributors
Project Management from Simple to Complex is adapted from a work produced by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.