Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle
How to Manage the People Side of Projects
Author: Doug Russell, PMP
Pub Date: March 2011
Print Edition: $19.95
Print ISBN: 9780814416150
Page Count: 272
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814416167
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Welcome to the Project
IT IS 1:15 A.M., a Tuesday night like any other. A lone light burns inside
a beautiful Tudor-style custom home on the edge of the Northwest
Hills in Austin, Texas. Inside, yet another busy project manager
struggles to complete his work for the day, entangled within the
project management jungle. In this unrelenting, always-on, pressure-
cooker environment, he juggles hundreds of e-mails per day,
endless meetings that accomplish little, stakeholders with impossible
expectations, and new problems that should have been foreseen
before they consumed additional money, resources, and
His two remaining tasks for the night are to finish up preparations
for his monthly ops review with management, scheduled for
the next morning, and to generate an approach on how to get his
design and test functional teams to work better together. The two
teams have been fighting with each other for weeks and are doing
little real work to solve their issues. That meeting is tomorrow, as
well, “sometime after 5:00 P.M.”
Down the hall, his two gorgeous children, five and three years
old, slumber away. He guiltily resolves, yet again, to take them to
the park on Saturday. Or perhaps it will have to be Sunday. He did
at least spend a few minutes with them earlier that evening, tossing
a small basketball, before they went off to bed and he off to his
Mac. His wife, hoping to spend some time with him watching a
DVD together, chatting about the kids, or talking about the possibility
of a vacation, has given up and gone to bed.
He sends several e-mails and then, cursing to himself, realizes
that he has misplaced a key notebook. Quietly, he slips into the
master bedroom to check a stack beside the bed. He glances fondly
down at his dozing wife as he finds the notebook and sighs as
he leaves the room. He wishes there were another way to easily
lead his large project group in the complex task at hand. So many
issues, he muses. Got to make it happen, though. Winners do what
is necessary to win. With one last look at his wife, he thinks firmly,
There will be time for catching up on all this when the project
His cell phone rings from the study. Frustrated that he cannot
finish his current tasks, he hurries to answer. It is his Asian customer,
full of questions about the latest status report. Wearily, he
tries to explain. He can tell his customer is not very happy with the
Forty-five minutes later—not really done yet—he stops for the
day, noting e-mail traffic coming in from all over the world, including
places where it is even later at night. Exhausted, he falls into
bed, trying not to make too much commotion. He rolls over and
almost immediately drops into sleep. The alarm will go off in four
short hours, and he will do it all over again.
Sound familiar? Welcome to the project management jungle!
Escape Is Possible from the Project
You may think that immense stress and a large time investment are
the price of success as a project leader. But there is another way. In
the past few years, I have led multiple teams in several companies
to success without working excessive hours and while experiencing
much less stress than our friend here. This book will help you do
the same on your projects without going to lengthy weeklong training
classes or spending massive dollars on a new process.
Sadly, success in the project management jungle is too often not
the end result of all the effort involved. Enter “project success rate”
into a Web search engine and the results are disturbing, with many
studies quoting success rates of only 30 to 50 percent. Of course,
the majority of studies look at myriad teams in a variety of industries
and applications, and each study has its own definition of success,
making it hard to find a baseline for a clear picture.
Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle is aimed primarily
at active project managers who work with knowledge worker teams.
The term knowledge worker, of course, covers a lot of territory. After
all, virtually everyone in today’s workplace works with some sort of
data. We will focus on knowledge worker teams employed in information
technology (IT), software, hardware, systems design, and
other engineering or technically related applications. These professionals
struggle in the project management jungle every day.
Read on to learn about five key factors that create this jungle
environment. Then keep reading, and by the end of this book you
will have learned how to thrive there.
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