"Looking for a quick fix - skip this book. Looking for a new edge and a competitive advantage to position your company for success in the long run - then read on!"
So opines Richard Byham in the Foreword to this book. The implication, of course, is that the contents of the book call for heavy reading and at over 300 pages of closely packed text, tables, charts and illustrations indeed it is. Byam goes on to explain:
"The Power of Enterprise Project Management is a straightforward guide to establishing project business management (PBM) as an integrative business function for forward-thinking companies. The PBM methodology model developed in the book provides you with a simple easy-to-follow top-down hierarchical integrated blend of strategic, tactical, portfolio, program, and project planning and execution processes."
Well, we are not so sure about the "straightforward" part, but what we do know is that all of that has been a challenge to cover in many project management books, let alone all in one book. We also learn from this statement that project management, or at least project business management, is a subset of general business management and not a separate management profession. Why? Because project business management is one of general management's functions. Indeed, the title of the book's Preface categorically states: "Project Management Is a Business Function".
Byham then asks:
"How many programs and projects fail because of poor coordination, limited resources, faulty assumptions, not being the right project at the right time, and mid-management in-fighting? Where does that generally get resolved - at the executive level, where direction, priorities, and resources are determined and the final decisions made. So start there first to achieve success, rather than ending there to minimize failure."
Now, that is surely very good advice!
What this book does for the reader is to provide the ground work for an "enterprise-wide project management office" (EPMO) at the executive level and, for those so inclined and the necessary financial capability, a massive bureaucracy to go with it, complete with all the details. As authors Dennis and Darrel explain:
"If executives and business unit heads can recognize that managing projects has a significant impact on an enterprise's bottom line and that their abilities to successfully manage projects depends on proper application of specific project management processes, knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques, then it makes sense to establish such an important business function at the executive management level of the enterprise."
After you have paused for breath, consider that the key to this observation is "proper application" because in the case of improper application, the "significant impact" could be anything but desirable. From experience we know that in times of financial crisis, the first department to go is the program or project management department. Trust us, we've been there more than once! So, whatever your position is in this hierarchy, keep your resume up to date!
1. Director, Continuing Education at the University of South Florida.
2. Bolles, Dennis L., and D.G. Hubbard, The Power of Enterprise-Wide Project Management, AMACOM, New York, 2007, p xv
3. Ibid, p xvii
4. Ibid, p xv
5. Ibid, p xvii