Project Management for Non-Project Managers


Great managers are experts at getting bottom-line results, but often do not understand their role in the success or failure of their organization’s projects. They balk at the arcane terminology and are unaware of how to use valuable project management techniques and tools—a knowledge gap that can be a serious career barrier!

Functional managers with even basic project management (PM) knowledge are the best people for keeping projects business-focused. This new book demystifies ...

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Project Management for Non-Project Managers

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Great managers are experts at getting bottom-line results, but often do not understand their role in the success or failure of their organization’s projects. They balk at the arcane terminology and are unaware of how to use valuable project management techniques and tools—a knowledge gap that can be a serious career barrier!

Functional managers with even basic project management (PM) knowledge are the best people for keeping projects business-focused. This new book demystifies the jargon and processes, encouraging managers to jump into the PM arena and arming them with strategies for increasing the business value created by their company’s projects. Readers will discover:

• Advice for switching gears from passive bystander to active owner of projects

• Insights into four critical PM skills, including business analysis techniques, work breakdown structures, program sequencing techniques, and risk management methods

• Step-by-step guidelines, case studies, and illustrations for mastering these skills

Project Management for Non-Project Managers provides easy-to-read, in-a-nutshell explanations of all the PM basics that managers need to achieve project success.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814417362
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 4/18/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

JACK FERRARO, PMP, is president of MyProjectAdvisor®, a company that provides project management consulting, coaching, and training. He has 22 years of experience working with project teams and managing complex projects.

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Read an Excerpt


The most common vehicle for implementing change within an organization

is the project, or a combination of projects known as a

program. Projects are becoming more strategic in nature and scope,

and an increasing number of traditional white-collar workers are involved

with projects in some fashion. These projects often require

unprecedented collaboration within an organization’s lines of business,

and across the business enterprise. This dynamic is creating a

need for functional managers to work in collaboration, communicate

effectively, and appreciate the best practice methods of project


Project executives, sponsors, middle managers, and functional

managers are expected to be involved in an organization’s projects—

over and above their duties of managing budgets, operations, and

personnel. Functional managers’ job responsibilities, if not formally

written, often implicitly include the implementation of positive

change, delivered through projects. However, little attention is focused

on the importance of functional managers’ understanding of

how projects should work. Despite this, functional managers are the

bridge to successful organizational change.

Unfortunately, project managers and their teams have embraced

their own project management idiom. They communicate successfully

among themselves using their own dialect and project management

jargon. These project teams are often trained in organizational

project management methodology and industry standards (e.g., they

have read A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge,

the PMBOK Guide), and their jargon can isolate a functional manager

from his or her project team. This can lead to a lack of understanding

of fundamental project processes on the part of functional

manager and can result in poor communication, unhealthy conflict,

project rework, schedule delays, cost overruns, and lost business opportunities.

While project management has grown rapidly as a career and

core competency, with organizations embracing industry certifications

such as the Project Management Professional (PMP), project

management methodology and processes have done little to improve

the working relationships between project teams (providers) and

business units (customers).

As a seasoned project management consultant and instructor for

American Management Association, I have worked with countless

functional managers attending project management classes, looking

for a way to demystify project management so that they can improve

the way that projects are performed in their organizations. These

functional managers tell stories of being thrust into project teams

and even project leadership positions with no training. Although they

express no desire to achieve a project management certification, they

recognize the importance of consistently delivering business value

through the projects they work on. What they are missing is basic

project management knowledge; they need core skills explained and

taught with a commonsense approach to managing business change.

This book provides a practical guide for functional managers to

learn what project managers and teams are doing—or should be

doing—and to acquire the four critical project management skills to

be an active, value-adding participant to the project organization:

1. Articulating the real customer need and business case for the


2. Staying focused on project deliverables.

3. Understanding key project dependencies.

4. Being proactive about project risk.

This book will motivate readers to take ownership of their project

role and engage productively with project managers and teams

to increase the business value being created from the project. Furthermore,

it will enable functional managers to unveil the ‘‘what’’

and ‘‘why’’ of project management methodologies, processes, and

deliverables and become active participants in increasing the value of

these components, while eliminating the unnecessary project work

that often slows them down.

The first four chapters discuss why you as a functional manager

must take a more aggressive role in managing your projects. Drawing

on my years of experience, I describe the value you need to bring to

the project and why you are often the only one who can bring this


In the remaining chapters, I explore the core project management

skills (listed above) that functional managers must use to succeed

when they find themselves in strategic organization change

projects. Each skill is taught by walking through a typical organizational

project involving business process change, technology, and impacts

to business partners and customers. At the end of each chapter,

I use my own experience and case studies to reinforce the concepts.

My hope is that this book will help you to be much more project

savvy, to embrace your role in your project organization, to partner

closely with project teams, and, ultimately, to be a spearhead of

change in your organization.

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Table of Contents





The Critical Role of the Functional Manager in Project


Chapter 1 What the Functional Manager Should Know

About the Project Organization

Who Is the Functional Manager?

The Challenge of Integrating the Project Team into the Organization

The Functional Manager’s Role in Creating an Integrated Project


The Three Types of Organizational Structure

The Functional Manager’s Impact on Project Success or Failure

Chapter 2 The Importance of Project Planning

Creating Foresight

Why Do You Need a Plan?

What Is a Good Plan?

Basic Steps to Planning Projects

Summary of Project Planning

Project Plans and Vendors

Project Planning Tools: What They Do and What They Don’t Do

Challenges to Getting a Good Plan

Multi-Project Systems

Chapter 3 Understanding the Business Side of the Project

The Connection Between Business Knowledge and Requirements

Writing Good Requirements

Scope Creep

Stabilizing Requirements Through the Business Process

Chapter 4 The Ideal Functional Manager in the Project


‘‘Get It’’ . . . or Risk Getting Moved Out


Four Critical Project Management Skills for Functional


Chapter 5 The Project Management Mystique Unveiled

A Shared Language

Project Management Demystified

Demystifying Methodologies

Chapter 6 Articulating the Real Customer Need and Business

Case for the Project

Producing a Mission Statement That Conveys Urgency and Vision

Creating a Meaningful Current and Future State Comparison

Base Your Requirements on the Business Process

Prepare a Realistic Business Cas

Chapter 7 Staying Focused on Project Deliverables

The Deliverable Structure: A Portrait of the Work

Creating Deliverable Structures

Case Study

Chapter 8 Understanding Key Project Dependencies

Telling Your Story of the Work

Case Study

Chapter 9 Being Proactive About Project Risk

Basics of Risk

Pushing the Risk Discussion

Case Study

Chapter 10 The Power of the Principles


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