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Review: Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle—Doug Russell

Linda Weterman
October 17, 2011

This book is a mixture of traditional and contemporary practices in project management as well as general management and leadership concepts. It provides a number of vignettes aligned with the five key areas of projects to give context to the TACTILE Management system offered by the author.

The content would be appropriate for emerging or experienced project managers across a range of sectors. It leverages off a number of management concepts and so manages to merge the practical with the theoretical concepts.

I found the book was a reminder of what good management and leadership practice really is. The seven characteristics of successful projects presented within the book reminded me of what really makes successful leadership.

The triple expectations pyramid—management, team and customer expectations—linked with the traditional triple constraints triangle provided a simple yet stark example of the importance of the qualitative and quantitative nature of project management.

The style of this book leans toward being a field guide for the reader to reference when coming across different circumstances within the project life cycle. However, many of the concepts relate well to project management, management and leadership.

Chapters 7-11 cover initiating; planning; executing; monitoring, controlling and reporting; and closing within a case study context and would provide the basis for some vigorous discussion and debate for a project team to reflect on their current and future practice.

The only real limitation I found was an assumption that the reader has a broad knowledge of management theories and practices. Some context or glossary of terms would add value for the reader.

I believe that generally experienced project managers would get the opportunity to reflect on their current practice in relation to the TACTILE Management system which offers some very practical solutions to everyday problems. Less experienced project managers will find the book beneficial as it offers advice and examples that they could take away and apply immediately.

Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle
By Doug Russell
RRP $29.95
Published by McGraw-Hill (purchase online)
Linda Weterman
Linda Weterman is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Business at New Zealand's Manukau Institute of Technology where she teaches project management, management and governance. Prior to teaching, she held roles in hospitality management and auditing. A self-labelled ‘pracademic’, Linda constantly strives to weave real world industry experience into the classroom, which earnt her the Institute’s Teaching Excellence award in 2010. She is a currently a research director and was previously a board member for the Project Management Institute of New Zealand.
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