Free Book: “Managing Smaller and Medium-Sized Projects” by Dr Jim Young PMP
I acknowledge with sincere appreciation the contributions to this book from numerous clients, student, colleagues, friends and project management practitioners. Their sometimes unwitting input has been invaluable. I’m particularly indebted to Dr Russell Radford, a valued friend, fellow author and former military colleague, for his expert scrutiny of my draft book, and to my wife, Esmeralda, and my younger daughter, Emma, for tolerating all this writing silliness. And my grateful thanks to Auldhouse, our premier training organisation, for adopting the hardcover version of this book as a handout in support of their popular project management training programmes – http://www.auldhouse.co.nz/courses-schedules.
This book provides a pragmatic and holistic view of project management with a focus on smaller and medium-sized endeavours, which of course most projects are. The book kicks off with project selection and justification, and carries through the planning, execution and closing phases to post-project product adoption and benefits’ realisation, recognising that beneficial change is central to project success. In fact, a project is a “benefits-led initiative.”
The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Great Wall of China are testimonies of huge and successful projects. China’s Great Wall took centuries to build. President Donald Trump’s modern day wall along the US-Mexican border to repel illegal immigrants will be a financial, engineering and logistical challenge of similar proportions. While mega-infrastructure projects that cost over $1 billion such as border walls, floating cities, oil pipelines, tunnels, motorways, railways, bridges, and airports catch our imagination, most projects are very much smaller in scale and cost. Please hit HERE for a copy of this free 238 page book about how to successfully manage these more modest endeavours.
Yet, while project management is a life skill, now that our Charter Schools have been abolished by our left-leaning Labour government to placate the teachers’ union, New Zealand schools don’t teach it. Perhaps this is one reason why many young people often struggle with the school-life transition. The basic principles of PM aren’t particularly difficult – far less difficult than calculus, algebra, geometry, grammar or even spelling surely. While it’s true that there’s no project management school class, per se, if we look at the bigger picture, most of the truly valuable things we learn at school occur in the playground.
Play is the key to the physical, mental, intellectual and social wellbeing of our children. For children, play is serious learning and the work of childhood. But it seems that the current parental zeitgeist is one of worry and fear for our children, often far out of proportion to the actual dangers involved. Yet bulrush, some 60 years ago at Hokitika District High School, is how I first learned about the essential project management ingredients of risk, reward, and group dynamics – all during the lunch-break. But of course smartphones have now replaced bullrush as the lunch-break addiction. Anyway, perhaps project management needs to be officially part of our national curriculum. If we want our children to build and live in a world that delivers more, with finite resources, while taking a mature approach to the risks involved, there is nothing more valuable that we can teach them.
Charter Schools realised that project-based learning offered students rich opportunities to learn how to manage and lead their own learning; hone a variety of essential skills; apply these skills to deepening their knowledge of the world, themselves, and others; and help create a better world. Yes, projects can most definitely be integrated into any subject matter and are a natural and effective way to develop important and practical career-readiness skills.