This book is different in that it approaches the reader as someone who has had a little project management experience and wants to hone their skills. It does not teach the basics of project mgmt but instead looks to help you improve your abilities through observation, assessment and application of different techniques. Very good. (Disclaimer: I know Susanne and read an early draft of this book.)

Your reading activity
Dates 23 July 2012 – 03 February 2013
Time spent reading 3 hours, 50 minutes
Highlights 34
Comments 15
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The management role that defines, plans, coordinates, and controls a project’s scope and operational activities, and the leadership role that inspires and focuses everyone contributing to the successful completion of the project’s goals and objectives.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Project management.

Doing something very well that does not need to be done at all is a poor use of time.

“Leadership is of the spirit, compounded of personality and vision. Its practice is an art. Management is of the mind, more a matter of accurate calculations, statistics, methods, timetables, and routine. Its practice is a science”.

you must focus on people as much as you focus on tasks.

Visualize the person you would like to be, then act as if you are already that person. When you can imagine it, you can do it!

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I think this is true. We discuss this a lot at work in terms of 'being senior' and what this means. If you act like a senior member of staff you will be treated like one. Act in the role you want to have - start doing it and doing it well - and a lot of the time you will find yourself formally in that role.

your performance is determined by your potential, less interference. This interference could be a limiting thought, an unhelpful behavior, or any external influences or distractions that have a negative impact on your focus and ability to perform an activity.

It is possible to run a project and do a good job without having much subject matter knowledge. However, in order to really apply yourself and become as effective as possible, you must have a certain understanding of the project’s domain.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran


It is important that the steering committee only consists of decisionmakers who have real influence over the project. It should not turn into a forum of stakeholders who are just looking for a project update.

Have different groups of people estimate the same thing, then compare the outcomes. A big disparity between numbers points to uncertainties in the proposed solution. Add extra contingency to compensate, or spend more time analyzing the uncertain elements.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Great tip.

Start assigning resources to your plan, and tighten up the estimated duration of individual tasks.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

The people doing the work should be the ones coming up with and committing to the estimates for each task.

provide a range of dates within which you expect to deliver the project, as opposed to just one fixed date.

Fixed parameters such as cost, time, and scope are less important than efficiency, feedback, and quality.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

My understanding of DSDM (just one of the many agile development methodologies) is that time and quality are fixed but the scope is flexible.

Do not hesitate to chase risk and issue owners as needed. Chasing outstanding actions is part of your job, and people expect you to do it.

Even if you are not your team members’ actual line manager, you need to take on the responsibility for providing leadership and direction on behalf of the project.

Regularly set time aside for one-on-one catch-ups

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

The single most effective management behaviour, according to (and me!)

A bad hiring decision is often worse than no hiring decision at all

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran


Remember that providing feedback is a two-way process

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

For loads of great advice on giving effective feedback, see

To help you prepare and deliver the presentation in the most effective manner, consider the emotional journey you want to take the listeners through.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Whenever you are giving a presentation you are never just giving a status update. You are always persuading the audience to adopt your point of view.

Many project managers communicate too much in writing and not enough verbally. They hide behind their desks instead of picking up the phone or seeing people in person.

Never convey negative information in writing without having informed the senior executives first.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

A golden rule of project management.

If you only speak to people when they have made a mistake, and if you are known for offering negative feedback and criticism, you almost certainly qualify as a poor leader.

What if you find yourself in a situation where you do not fully believe in the project you are running?

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I have been in these shoes on a number of occasions. Very difficult to manage.

Do you, for instance, have the right software and hardware and a good physical space to enable the team to produce its best work?

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

See 'Peopleware' by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister.

Ask yourself what it is that makes your project special and why people would want to work on it.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Good advice for teams or departments within large organisations as well.

do not assume that you are safe just because you highlighted the assumptions. The best way to address them is to treat them as risks and to mitigate them to the best of your ability.

You may have delivered a great project, but if the project sponsors, stakeholders, or users somehow think your project has failed, then it has.

As Tim Lister and Tom DeMarco put it, “Risk management is how adults manage projects.”

When you sense that the scope of your project is being questioned or that it may not match what the users need, do not hesitate to discuss this—proactively explore the situation.

Be disciplined enough to keep an up-to-date log of all historic changes and how they have affected the baseline.

People can have very short memories

At the most fundamental level, your team members can only be truly motivated if their individual aims and purposes are aligned with those of the organization and project.

Greatness is contagious.

Events themselves do not determine how you feel; what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. The meaning you choose to attach to an event is the meaning it takes on.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Very Buddhist!

if there is nothing you can do about a situation, let it be.