The Project Management Book: Why I Wrote It & Why You Should Read It

I want to explain why I wrote my latest book - The Project Management Book, and why you should read it. Any new project management book should be challenged with the question – why? There are thousands of project management books, and amongst those thousands there are quite a few that are very good. On top of this there is a constant stream of new books. So it’s easy to conclude we can’t possibly need any more. I am convinced there is space for a different kind of project management book organised in a different way. That’s why I wrote and published The Project Management Book.

The Project Management Book: How to Manage Your Projects And Deliver Outstanding Results

Back in 2005 I published my first book The Project Manager. This has been revised and updated, but is primarily a people centric project management book. It focuses mostly on one specific person – the project manager. I wrote it to be a really useful tool for project managers and not a theoretical description of perfect projects, (which never really exist).

This time, I wanted to do something new: an issues-led approach to project management. This is different from most project management books. They focus on project management processes. A process based approach to project management has some virtues, but once you have read one you’ve generally got the idea! In real life we must deal with a whole variety of issue that process definitions never cover.

I have written issues led books before. One of them has proven to be very popular and won the UK Chartered Management Institute’s management book of the year 2013. That book is The Management Book. It is structured as a series of short, sharp articles arranged into a series of topic based chapters. The book is both for the reader who wants to dip in and gain quick specific advice, and the reader who likes to read books end to end. The Project Management Book repeats this format with short issue focussed articles that can be read quickly to give targeted advice.

The articles focus on real challenges for project managers, beyond theoretical explanations of best practice. Project managers don’t need to identify and apply best practices, because universal best practices are a myth. Projects are unique. What the best project managers know is that it is the right practice that matters. The right practice is context specific. Understanding the right practices requires analysing the issues faced by the project manager. The Project Management Book discusses a range of common issues project managers must deal with in a compelling and easy to read style.

The Project Management Book: How to Manage Your Projects And Deliver Outstanding Results

I have thought about the developments in project management: the experience of Agile, topics such as the impact of offshoring, as well as considering the lessons from the wider development of management such as Six Sigma and Lean. I have looked at project management as a response to current business challenges: too often project management is presented as a generic discipline without a link to current business challenges. My book links project management to the strategic and operational issues facing modern organisations.

A challenge for an author is to decide what to include in a book. The Project Management Book has 40 issue focused project topics. I could have written more, but a book can only be so long and I have prioritised on those topics which are most relevant to the audience. I hope you enjoy the book. I look forward to all the feedback. I hope to continue to be part of the ongoing evolution of our discipline.

Richard Newton is a consultant, author and program manager. He has published 9 books, and is the author of the best selling The Project Manager, Mastering the Art of Delivery and the award winning The Management Book.

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