Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/21/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.11
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 69%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (24) from $12.11   
  • New (11) from $24.68   
  • Used (13) from $12.11   


In the updated edition of this critically acclaimed and bestselling book, Microsoft project veteran Scott Berkun offers a collection of essays on field-tested philosophies and strategies for defining, leading, and managing projects. Each essay distills complex concepts and challenges into practical nuggets of useful advice, and the new edition now adds more value for leaders and managers of projects everywhere.

Based on his nine years of experience as a program manager for Internet Explorer, and lead program manager for Windows and MSN, Berkun explains to technical and non-technical readers alike what it takes to get through a large software or web development project. Making Things Happen doesn't cite specific methods, but focuses on philosophy and strategy. Unlike other project management books, Berkun offers personal essays in a comfortable style and easy tone that emulate the relationship of a wise project manager who gives good, entertaining and passionate advice to those who ask.

Topics in this new edition include:

  • How to make things happen
  • Making good decisions
  • Specifications and requirements
  • Ideas and what to do with them
  • How not to annoy people
  • Leadership and trust
  • The truth about making dates
  • What to do when things go wrong
Complete with a new forward from the author and a discussion guide for forming reading groups/teams, Making Things Happen offers in-depth exercises to help you apply lessons from the book to your job. It is inspiring, funny, honest, and compelling, and definitely the one book that you and your team need to have within arm's reach throughout the life of your project.

Coming from the rare perspective of someone who fought difficult battles on Microsoft's biggest projects and taught project design and management for MSTE, Microsoft's internal best practices group, this is valuable advice indeed. It will serve you well with your current work, and on future projects to come.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596517717
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Theory in Practice (O'Reilly) Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 186,525
  • Product dimensions: 6.98 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Berkun worked on the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft from 1994-1999 and left the company in 2003 with the goal of writing enough books to fill a shelf. The Myths of Innovation is his second book: he wrote the best seller, The Art of Project Management (O'Reilly 2005). He makes a living writing, teaching and speaking. He teaches a graduate course in creative thinking at the University of Washington, runs the sacred places architecture tour at NYC's GEL conference, and writes about innovation, design and management at

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Who should read this book;
Assumptions I've made about you in writing this book;
How to use this book;
How to contact us;
SafariĀ® Books Online;
Chapter 1: A brief history of project management (and why you should care);
1.1 Using history;
1.2 Web development, kitchens, and emergency rooms;
1.3 The role of project management;
1.4 Program and project management at Microsoft;
1.5 The balancing act of project management;
1.6 Pressure and distraction;
1.7 The right kind of involvement;
1.8 Summary;
1.9 Exercises;
Chapter 2: The truth about schedules;
2.1 Schedules have three purposes;
2.2 Silver bullets and methodologies;
2.3 What schedules look like;
2.4 Why schedules fail;
2.5 What must happen for schedules to work;
2.6 Summary;
2.7 Exercises;
Chapter 3: How to figure out what to do;
3.1 Software planning demystified;
3.2 Approaching plans: the three perspectives;
3.3 The magical interdisciplinary view;
3.4 Asking the right questions;
3.5 Catalog of common bad ways to decide what to do;
3.6 The process of planning;
3.7 Customer research and its abuses;
3.8 Bringing it all together: requirements;
3.9 Summary;
3.10 Exercises;
Chapter 4: Writing the good vision;
4.1 The value of writing things down;
4.2 How much vision do you need?;
4.3 The five qualities of good visions;
4.4 The key points to cover;
4.5 On writing well;
4.6 Drafting, reviewing, and revising;
4.7 A catalog of lame vision statements (which should be avoided);
4.8 Examples of visions and goals;
4.9 Visions should be visual;
4.10 The vision sanity check: daily worship;
4.11 Summary;
4.12 Exercises;
Chapter 5: Where ideas come from;
5.1 The gap from requirements to solutions;
5.2 There are bad ideas;
5.3 Thinking in and out of boxes is OK;
5.4 Good questions attract good ideas;
5.5 Bad ideas lead to good ideas;
5.6 Perspective and improvisation;
5.7 The customer experience starts the design;
5.8 A design is a series of conversations;
5.9 Summary;
5.10 Exercises;
Chapter 6: What to do with ideas once you have them;
6.1 Ideas get out of control;
6.2 Managing ideas demands a steady hand;
6.3 Checkpoints for design phases;
6.4 How to consolidate ideas;
6.5 Prototypes are your friends;
6.6 Questions for iterations;
6.7 The open-issues list;
6.8 Summary;
6.9 Exercises;
Chapter 7: Writing good specifications;
7.1 What specifications can and cannot do;
7.2 Deciding what to specify;
7.3 Specifying is not designing;
7.4 Who, when, and how;
7.5 When are specs complete?;
7.6 Reviews and feedback;
7.7 Summary;
7.8 Exercises;
Chapter 8: How to make good decisions;
8.1 Sizing up a decision (what's at stake);
8.2 Finding and weighing options;
8.3 Information is a flashlight;
8.4 The courage to decide;
8.5 Paying attention and looking back;
8.6 Summary;
8.7 Exercises;
Chapter 9: Communication and relationships;
9.1 Management through conversation;
9.2 A basic model of communication;
9.3 Common communication problems;
9.4 Projects depend on relationships;
9.5 The best work attitude;
9.6 Summary;
9.7 Exercises;
Chapter 10: How not to annoy people: process, email, and meetings;
10.1 A summary of why people get annoyed;
10.2 The effects of good process;
10.3 Non-annoying email;
10.4 How to run the non-annoying meeting;
10.5 Summary;
10.6 Exercises;
Chapter 11: What to do when things go wrong;
11.1 Apply the rough guide;
11.2 Common situations to expect;
11.3 Take responsibility;
11.4 Damage control;
11.5 Conflict resolution and negotiation;
11.6 Roles and clear authority;
11.7 An emotional toolkit: pressure, feelings about feelings, and the hero complex;
11.8 Summary;
11.9 Exercises;
Chapter 12: Why leadership is based on trust;
12.1 Building and losing trust;
12.2 Make trust clear (create green lights);
12.3 The different kinds of power;
12.4 Trusting others;
12.5 Trust is insurance against adversity;
12.6 Models, questions, and conflicts;
12.7 Trust and making mistakes;
12.8 Trust in yourself (self-reliance);
12.9 Summary;
12.10 Exercises;
Chapter 13: Making things happen;
13.1 Priorities make things happen;
13.2 Things happen when you say no;
13.3 Keeping it real;
13.4 Know the critical path;
13.5 Be relentless;
13.6 Be savvy;
13.7 Summary;
13.8 Exercises;
Chapter 14: Middle-game strategy;
14.1 Flying ahead of the plane;
14.2 Taking safe action;
14.3 The coding pipeline;
14.4 Hitting moving targets;
14.5 Summary;
14.6 Exercises;
Chapter 15: End-game strategy;
15.1 Big deadlines are just several small deadlines;
15.2 Elements of measurement;
15.3 Elements of control;
15.4 The end of end-game;
15.5 Party time;
15.6 Summary;
15.7 Exercises;
Chapter 16: Power and politics;
16.1 The day I became political;
16.2 The sources of power;
16.3 The misuse of power;
16.4 How to solve political problems;
16.5 Know the playing field;
16.6 Summary;
16.7 Exercises;
A guide for discussion groups;
Introducing the project management clinic;
How to start your own discussion group;
Sample discussion topics;
For this revised edition;
From the previous edition;

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Purchased as a gift

    My soon to be husband just recently received his PMP Certification(YEA for him!!), and wanted more books to add to his "Project Management Library". He was VERY excited about receiving this book as a gift, and he is known to do extensive research before investing in books, so I had to do the same for this purchase for him! I have not personally read it- so my review is only from the glad reaction on his face when he opened the gift. My purchase was based on the other reviews I read on several websites. Hope this helps.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book There is a lot of praise out there for Scott Berkun

    Great Book

    There is a lot of praise out there for Scott Berkun and this book in particular. I feel a bit silly adding to the list of reviews, but I decided to go forward anyway when I tasked myself with writing the best review ever. I think a lot of us are looking to figure out what is the best in a fast fashion. Word of mouth is always king, so Amazon reviews come as close as they can. So, why read Making Things Happen?

    - Note that it is the new edition of The Art of Project Management.
    - You will gain personal motivation to make things happen either at work or in life.
    - The book covers how to be a great project manager, from gathering ideas to managing teams and schedules.
    - It may not be all new news, but it’s all the best management practices in one well-designed book.
    - He introduces several key concepts and brings perspective to areas that may seem like common sense, but as the wise saying goes: “We need not be so much instructed but reminded.”
    - This book is more than just an overview, but you do need to continue to learn. For more in-depth looks into project management, one can read up on the Agile Manifesto, Lean Kanban principles, and SEI’s CRM for risk management.
    - Scott Berkun’s style of writing is really wonderful. His voice is both practical and vivid, engaging and clear. His level of expertise in communicating what it means to be a great project manager has transcended from author to teacher, which means you know he’s good!

    I hope you find this review helpful. Now, go make things happen!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)