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Effective project management is an essential skill in virtually every professional and technical setting and, like any skill, it is best mastered through the right combination of in-depth, expert training and hands-on experience.
Visualizing Project Management, Second Edition is today's best resource for both. Delivered by a trio of authors whose combined project management experience is unequaled in the field-a team that has been an integral part of the development of project management from the 1950s to the present-the processes and techniques in this landmark book have been confirmed through the experiences of over 30,000 working project managers and over 100 corporations.
Profound in its simplicity yet unique in its completeness, the integrated approach presented in Visualizing Project Management focuses on the four essential elements of project management:
1. Common Vocabulary: Terms and jargon are defined as they are introduced, minimizing the vocabulary problems that can lead to conflict and undermine otherwise successful teamwork.
2. Teamwork: Each of the fundamentals of real teamwork-from common conduct to shared rewards-is discussed, along with strategies to strengthen this vital component.
3. The Sequential Project Cycle: Valuable lessons are provided to enable you to develop a template for project-unique tactics as well as achieve project-to-project continuity.
4. Management Elements: The authors provide all the techniques and tools you need to guide a project to its successful conclusion-the achievement of stated objectives, within budget and time constraints.
Visualizing Project Management shows you how to breathe life into each of these inanimate project elements. The result is a working guidebook for total project management success-and a tangible model for moving your organization and career forward into the exciting new millennium.
An Integrated Approach to Results-Oriented Project Management
Better . . . Faster . . . Cheaper . . .
Today's take-no-prisoners competitive environment has made this the project management mantra for 2000 and beyond. Enlightened project managers know: Unless you can identify accurately the correct benchmark and correctly isolate how to surpass it, your organization will succeed only in producing a better, faster, cheaper failure.
The bestselling Visualizing Project Management first set the standard for effective project management in 1996, and introduced models that have been adopted by over 100 leading government and private organizations. In this Second Edition, the authors have revised the tools and techniques that changed the foundations of project management in order to help you better understand, compete, and win in today's lightning-fast global business arena.
A few short years ago, the insights and ideas in Visualizing Project Management invented the wheel. Now, its pioneering authors refine your understanding of the project management wheel, as they simplify and clarify the complexities of project management and system engineering.
Also includes a dynamic CD-ROM-Visual Project Management (Visual PM)-providing an interactive software version of the book's revolutionary process model, a guided tour of a commercial project cycle, vocabulary definitions, sample document templates, and more.
Why Is Project Management a Critical Issue?
Why Model Project Management?
Visualizing Project Management.
THE ESSENTIALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT.
The Project Cycle.
The Project Management Elements.
The Implications for a Successful Future.
Applying the Process.
There are a thousand reasons for failure but not a single excuse.
- Mike Reid
It is every manager's unending nightmare: In today's world of increasing complexity, there is less and less tolerance for error. We see this daily in the realms of health care, product safety and reliability, transportation, energy, communications, space exploration, military operations, and - as the above quote from the great Penn State football player Mike Reid demonstrates - sports. Whether the venue is the stock market, a company's customer base, consumers, government regulators, auditors, the battlefield, the ball field, or the media, "No one cares" - as the venerated quotation puts it - "about the storms you survived along the way, but whether you brought the ship safely into the harbor."
Over the course of my own career in aerospace, I have seen an unfortunate number of failures of very advanced, complex - and expensive - pieces of equipment, often due to the most mundane of causes. One satellite went off course into space on a useless trajectory because there was a hyphen missing in one of the millions of lines of software code. A seemingly minor flaw in the electrical design of the Apollo spacecraft was not detected until Apollo 13 was 200,000 miles from Earth, when a spark in a cryogenic oxygen tank led to an explosion and the near-loss of the crew. A major satellite proved to be badly nearsighted because of a tiny error in grinding the primary mirror in its optical train. And, as became apparent in the inquiry into the Challenger disaster, the performance of an exceedingly capable space vehicle - a miracle of modern technology - was undermined by the effects of cold temperature on a seal during a sudden winter storm. Murphy's Law, it would seem, has moved in lock-step with the advances of the modern age.
THEORETICALLY, SUCCESS IS MANAGEABLE
In the grand old days of American management, when it was presumed that all problems and mistakes could be controlled by more rigorous managerial oversight, the canonical solution to organizational error was to add more oversight and bureaucracy. Surely, it was thought, with more managers having narrower spans of control, the organization could prevent any problem from ever happening again. Of course, this theory was never confirmed in the real world - or, as Kansas City Royals hitting instructor Charlie Lake once noted regarding a similar challenge, "There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither one works."
The problem with the strategy of giving more managers fewer responsibilities is that no one is really in charge of the biggest responsibility: Will the overall enterprise succeed? I recall the comment a few years ago of the chief executive of one the world's largest companies, who was stepping down after nearly a decade of increasingly poor performance in the market place by his company. He was asked by a journalist why the company had fared so poorly under his tutelage, to which he replied "I don't know. It's a mysterious thing."
My observation is that there is no mystery here at all. After decades of trying to centrally "manage" every last variable and contingency encountered in the course of business, Fortune 500 companies found themselves with 12 to 15 layers of management - but essentially ill-prepared to compete in an increasing competitive global marketplace. Or, as I once pointed out in one of my Laws, "If a sufficient number of management layers are superimposed on top of each other, it can be assured that disaster is not left to chance."
A NEW LOOK AT PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Today's leaders in both the private and public sectors are rediscovering the simple truth that every good manager has known his or her heart since the first day on the job: Accountability is the one managerial task that cannot be delegated. There must be one person whose responsibility it is to make a project work - even as we acknowledge the importance of teamwork and "worker empowerment" in the modern workplace. In other words, we are rediscovering the critical role of the project manager.
The importance of the project manager has long been noted in our nation's military procurement establishment, which has traditionally considered the job to be among the most important and most difficult assignments in peacetime. Performed properly, the project management role, whether in the military, in government, or in business, can make enormous contributions and can even affect the course of history.
Challenges of this technology-focused project management role are particularly noteworthy for the insights they provide into the broader definition of project management. Perhaps the greatest of these is inherent in technology itself. In the effort to obtain the maximum possible advantage over a military adversary or a commercial competitor, products are often designed at the very edge of the state of the art. But as one high-level defense official noted in a moment of frustration over the repeated inability of advanced electronic systems to meet specified goals, "Airborne radars are not responsive to enthusiasm." In short, managerial adrenaline is not a substitute for managerial judgment when it comes to transporting technology from the laboratory to the field.
Despite considerable tribulations - or, perhaps because of them - the job of the technology-focused project manager is among the most rewarding career choices. It presents challenging work with important consequences. It involves the latest in technology. It offers the opportunity to work with a quality group of associates. And over the years, its practitioners have generated a large number of truly enormous successes.
THE LURE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
This brings me to the broader observation that the manager's job, in my opinion, is one of the very best jobs anywhere. Whether one is working at the Department of Defense, NASA, or a private company, the project manager's job offers opportunities and rewards unavailable anywhere else. Being a project manager means integrating a variety of disciplines - engineering, development, finance, and human resources - accomplishing an important goal, making a difference, and seeing the results of one work. In short, project management is "being where the action is in the development and application of exciting new technologies and processes.
The principles of successful project management - picking the best people, instilling attention to detail, involving the customer, and, most importantly, building adequate reserves - are no secret, but what is often missing in the literature on the subject is comprehensive, easy-to-understand model. This is one of the main compelling aspects of Visualizing Project Management. The authors have taken a new, simplified approach to visualizing project management as a combination of sequential, situational management actions incorporating a four-part model - common vocabulary, teamwork, project cycle, and project management element. The beauty of their approach is that they portray management complexity as process and discipline simplicity.
Kevin Forsberg, Harold Mooz, and Howard Cotterman are eminently qualified to compose such a comprehensive model for successful project management. They bring a collective experience unmatched in the commercial sphere. One author has spent his entire career in the high-tech commercial world; the two others have more than 20 years each at a company (Lockheed Corpration, which is part of the new Lockheed Martin Corporation that established a reputation strongly supporting the role of the project manager. Collectively, the authors have had many years successfully applying their "visualizing project management" approach to companies in both the commercial and the governme markets. Their technical skill and work-environment experience are abundantly apparent in the real-world methodology they bring to the study an understanding of the importance of project management to the success of any organization.
As corporate executives and their counterparts in the public sector expect project managers to assume many of the responsibilties of functional management - indeed, as we look to project managers to become "miracle workers" pulling together great teams of specialists to create products of enormous complexity - we need to make sure that the principles and applications of the project management process are thoroughly understood at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. This book will help executives, government officials, project managers, and project team members visualize, then successfully apply the process. I recommend this book to all those who aspire to project management, those who must supervise it in their organizations, or even those who are simply fascinated with how leading-edge technologies make it out of the laboratory and into the market.
- Norman R. Augustine Retired Chairman and CEO Lockheed Martin Corporation
About the Authors
Kevin Forsberg, Ph. D., is co-principal and co-founder of the Center for Systems Management which serves international clients in project management. Dr. Forsberg draws on 27 years of experience in applied research, system engineering, and project management, followed by 17 years of successful consulting to both government and industry. While at the Lockheed Palo Alto, California, Research Facility, Dr. Forsberg served as deputy director of the Materials and Structures Research Laboratory. He earned the NASA Public Service Medal for his contributions to the Space Shuttle program. He was also awarded the CIA Seal Medallion in recognition of his pioneering efforts in the field of project management training. Dr. Forsberg received his B. S. in Civil Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics at Stanford University.
Hal Mooz, PMP, is co-principal and co-founder of the Center for Systems Management, one of two successful training and consulting companies he founded that specialize in the disciplines associated with project management. Mr. Mooz has won and successfully managed highly reliable, sophisticated satellite programs from inception to operations. His 22 years of experience in program management was followed by 18 years of experience installing project management into federal agencies, government contractors, and commercial companies. He is co-founder of the Certificate in Project Management at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He was awarded the CIA Seal Medallion in recognition of his pioneering efforts in the field of project management. Mr. Mooz received his ME degree from Stevens Institute of Technology.
Howard Cotterman is president of Cognitive Corporation, which specializes in computer-based training. He is also the managing director of the Center for Systems Management. Mr. Cotterma has held key posts and managed a broad range of project from real estate development, to publishing, to the computer an semiconductor industries. His 34 years of project management experience began with the development of IBM's first micro processor in the mid-1960s and includes development and manufacturing projects at NCR, Intel, and Rockwell Internationa Mr. Cotterman received his B. S. and M. S. degrees in Electric Engineering from Purdue University.
Preface to the Second Edition
The positive response to the first edition of Visualizing Project Management has been gratifying and has justified the publisher's support of this second edition. We have continued to simplify and clarify the complexity of project management and system engineering and present these ideas to help you manage your projects successfully. We and our expert cadre of consultants at the Center for Systems Management have now trained over 30,000 project management practitioners, and we have consulted with over 100 corporations. We have confirmed by our training, consulting, and mentoring that the processes and techniques of Visualizing Project Management are current and are equally applicable to any environment where doing it right the first time and every time is important.
The mantra for project management 2000 has become "better, faster, cheaper." Enlightened project managers will ask "than what?" Better, faster, cheaper than ad hoc is not difficult; but better, faster, cheaper than an efficient, honed process is very challenging. Our process model will help you achieve these broad objectives but, more importantly, will help you avoid bypassing important controls and ending up with a faster, cheaper failure. While many projects must be right the first time and our process is directed at this outcome, today's market pressures force a fast and good enough result to capture market share. We address the issue of achieving fast with reduced formality and of achieving good enough with requirements management in Chapter 9 "Applying the Process."
We have added exercises throughout for those who use the book as a text to support training. We have also added a CD-ROM with a software version of our process model, including all four essentials of project management. This tool, called Visual Project Management (Visual PM), is being used by our clients to assist the project teams in tailoring the process to meet their needs. At our clients' sites, Visual PM incorporates their corporate template and guidelines which usually already exist (unused) in manuals on the corporate shelves. Visual PM facilitates point-and-click access to their project-unique project cycle and documentation. The CD-ROM contains a guided tour of a generic version of a commercial project cycle, vocabulary definitions, and sample document templates. In practice, Visual PM would be on an intran web site for accessibility by all members of the corporate team Those interested in more information are invited to visit our we site at CSM.com.
KEVIN FORSBERG, Truckee, CA
HAL MOOZ, Tiburon, CA
HOWARD COTTERMAN, Truckee, CA
A Successful Future Depends on Successful Projects
Whether you're a middle manager on the endangered list or already up to your armpits in alligators as a project manager, your future may well depend on achieving success in the challenging project environment. In his Fortune article, Thomas Stewart likened the deepening cuts in middle management to the extinction of the dinosaur, with project managers evolving to rule the corporate jungle. "Like his biological counterpart, the project manager is more agile and adaptable than the beast he's displacing, more likely to live by his wits than by throwing his weight around. Says William Dauphinais, a partner at Price Waterhouse: 'Project management is going to be huge in the next decade. The project manager is the linchpin in the horizontal /vertical organizations we're creating. ' Project management is 'the wave of the future, ' says an in-house newsletter from General Motors' technology and training group, which exhorts, ' We need to raise the visibility and clout of this job responsibility! ' "
The project manager may well be the hero of the American workplace as Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, asserts in his more recent book, Liberation Management. He observes that, even though he is a self-avowed "middle manager basher," most of the people attending his training seminars are themselves middle managers. Says Peters, "Middle management, as we have known it since the railroads invented it right after the Civil War, is dead. Therefore middle managers as we have known them are cooked geese." His answer to his clients facing a dead end, "Create projects."
What's all this fuss about projects? After all, a project can be any temporary undertaking carried out to achieve specified results within well-defined cost, schedule, and technical boundaries. We think it's those precise boundaries, coupled with that temporary organization, that give project management its unique challenges and rewards. To see the picture, visualize the intensity and hubbub a theater production, a building construction site, or a new product development.
Near-maximum productivity improvements have alread been wrought from executive and external pressures to work harder and longer, and with capital improvements such as computers. In fact, automation of day-to-day tasks is one trend that driving the middle manager to extinction. Now project management is being widely recognized as the next productivity frontier. Recent trends have moved this most complicated of management processes to center stage. The concepts described here are the precursors of future management practices.
IT'S ALARMINGLY COMMON FOR PROJECT TEAMS TO FAIL
Although the vital role of projects has been widely acknowledged, project teams continue to fail. Some do well, but most do not. Yet, the most basic techniques have been available, as Stewart quips, literally from day one, ". . . the first practitioner having been God, who gave himself six days in which to turn the void into the world, then turned operations management over to Adam, who promptly made a hash of it. (Unlike corporate project managers, however, God got to define what he meant by 'days' and had unlimited resources.)"
In our experience, failure often results from fundamental confusion over precisely what is involved in successfully managing a project from inception through completion. While excellent managers are usually cognizant of the full scope management thinking, others limited by one-dimensional thinking often make uninformed decisions from the wrong theory. At best, this locks them into mediocre performance. At worst, it leads to project failure.
Being temporary, projects often bring together people unknown to each other. The newly formed group usually includes specialists motivated by the work itself and their individual contributions. Teams of highly skilled technicians make costly errors - even fatal ones - simply because the members fail to understand or follow a disciplined, systematic approach to project management. This factor remains most critical to project success: the availability of an effective and intuitive project management process - one that the project group will quickly buy into and build their team upon.
YOU CAN'T RELY ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND INTUITION ALONE
No matter how much intuition and experience you have, you can't rely on personal experience alone as you navigate through the increasingly complex and dynamic project environment. On the other hand, management excellence cannot be taught any more simply than professional quarterbacking, Olympic gymnastics, or being a great artist. No matter how much innate management talent you start with, you need input from others as well as your own experiences to attain excellence.
Our own management roles range from high-tech CEOs to general contractors, from industry leaders to new ventures. As professional trainers, our clients hail from the ranks of Lucent Technololgies, AT& T, Emerson Electric, GTE, government agencies such as NASA, and dozens of other organizations which through over 30,000 trainees are now realizing the benefits of our project management model. Having successfully completed many complex government and commercial projects, we developed this text by combining our own experiences as managers and trainers with those of our clients. Providing hundreds of real case studies, our clients challenged us to perfect techniques and tools that they could propagate upward, downward, and laterally throughout their own organizations. They spurred us to confront tradition constructively - to challenge conventional wisdom here as we have in our training programs.
It is difficult, even for the most experienced project team, effectively manage a complex process without a complete understanding of every piece, and an ability to visualize how each part fits into the overall picture. We introduce intuitive models Part I to enable you to visualize the relationships before getting involved in the supporting application details of Part II.
As in solving any puzzle, it helps to know how many piece there are. Rather than present the full inventory of management techniques, we decompose them into 10 essential and unambiguous management elements. We separate the planned, sequential project cycle events from those situational management an leadership elements that we portray in an orthogonal, three dimensional model.
Those of you considering a commitment to project management can use this foundation to support and enhance your own experiences. If you're already an experienced manager, we're confident our model and visual aids will clarify your management thinking, extend your comfort zone, and make dramatic perfomance improvements - yours as well as your organization's.
These are just some of the ways this book will make difference.
ENDING UP WITH THE GOLDEN GOOSE
Not every manager and every organization can benefit from creating projects during this time of transition. If you are unable to cope with things such as matrix ambiguities and responsibility without authority, you may be better off focusing on a support management role or supervising repetitive operations. By becoming a project manager, you'll trade job insecurity for a host of other uncertainties, including the very nature of your next project. On the other hand, if you thrive on adventure or aspire to the ranks of executive or general management, projects are you best training ground. Achieving the payoff depends more on your personal attitude than position - be it an executive, as on interfacing with project teams, or as a project manager or team member.
Fortunately, the efforts you make now to revitalize the project environment, or to create one, can pay high dividends to you entire organization. The project team can be a catalyst for culture changes that may be needed elsewhere. This team catalyst can also become the most significant competitive edge a firm can wield in this technology-driven, time-compressed era. Whereas technology is surprisingly easy to clone, a well-integrated, highly productive project culture, tailored to your needs, is an invaluable proprietary asset.
Posted October 1, 2006
Before buying this one, better search for some comments! I wish would be possible rate like minus 1 star, but is not poosible! I really can't find too many good points to this book. It might be good for people just looking for another perspective on project management, but even for this purpose on this site there are a lot of cheaper, and far more effective and efficient books. I can't believe I wasted my money on it. I'd better go on slot machine. This is the worst project management book I ever see.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.