I was in a library when I got a phone call from a client across the ocean who wanted my services for a project’s monitoring and evaluation assignment. I knew the country and the project and gladly accepted the job. As our conversation ended on a positive note, my eyes fell on a book. It had the word “succesful” in its title. It resonated with my aspiration for the upcoming assignment. So I bought “Successful Project Management” by Trevor L Young. It is among my first books on project management. It still has my notes made on post-its inside.
The book is based on the presumption that the reader has already some experience of involvement in one or more projects. I think it contains valuable guidance on project management for beginners. And not only. I get back to it from time to time to refresh my basics or to get inspiration in explaining more complex issues to a non-project audience.
The book starts with explaining how success is or can be defined in the projects environment. It takes you then to “The climate for success” and then introduces one by one the key steps in the project process for success. It focuses a great deal on managing risks and the planning stage of the project, two critical areas in a recipe for success. Each book section contains a “Watchpoint” to draw attention to usually forgotten basics or critical issues. It offers a list of standard formats for data recording and a list of Further Reading I keep finding handy in day-to-day project life.
Back to my assignment, the book helped me produce a structured and well articulated evaluation, based on which the client decided to recover the project. So it went from “near-to-failure” to a success and innovation example, to the satisfaction of the client and the beneficiary.