Successful Project Management

Article excerpt

Project management has been going on since Fred Flintstone outlined his project plan to Mr. Slate, of Slate Rock & Gravel Company, for converting to a TyrannosaurusExcavator. Although project management has a history, only in recent years has it been recognized as a necessary discipline to meet critical performance, cost, and schedule targets. Today master's-level degree programs in project management are common, and the Project Management Institute (the professional society for practitioners) has a certification project.

As RIM professionals, I am sure we have all used some type of project management. Especially, as survival of our RIM programs dictate, we continually demonstrate our program's value. The easiest way to accomplish this is via value-added projects. Certainly RIM offers an unlimited number of projects in which project management methodology should be employed. Projects such as developing a records retention schedule or vital records program, introducing technology, or files conversions would be extremely difficult without formal project management.

The primary reason project management has recently become such an important practice is due to business competition becoming time-based, as well as cost-based. The up-side of project management is that it is fairly easy to do if people know what they are doing. The down-side is that too many people do it poorly creating life long (job security?) projects.

A new book is prescribed for those interested in developing their project management skills and knowledge. Author James P. Lewis' book, Fundamentals of Project Management, offers a fast-track approach to planning, scheduling, executing, monitoring, and controlling projects to achieve the desired results. It is based on what is considered best practice by experts in the field, and states it will enable the reader to:

* set up project plans

* schedule their work effectively and establish priorities in multiple task situations

* monitor progress and achieve performance objectives

* work faster and more profitably

James P. Lewis is well suited to author a book on project management. He is a consultant on project management and team building, is founder of Lewis Consulting and Training, and is a popular seminar leader. His experience and skills are clearly demonstrated in Fundamentals of Project Management.

This book is part of the Work-Smart Series offered by the AMACOM, a division of the American Management Association. Per AMACOM, this series "is comprised of do-it-yourself guides to skill building and personal improvement for enterprising career people." Other books in the series address budgeting, skillful interviewing, speaking/listening effectively, and team building.

Fundamentals of Project Management is organized into ten Chapters. Following is a brief profile of these chapters:

Chapter 1 - An Overview of Project Management

As an overview, this chapter provides introductory information on which the book is based. Project management components, responsibilities, objectives are defined to prepare the reader for moving forward on the topic.

Chapter 2 - A General Approach to Project Planning

Planning is an important step in project management. The topics this chapter explores include the relationship between planning and control, strategic vs. tactical planning, and the basic steps in project planning.

Chapter 3 - Developing the Project Mission, Goals, and Objectives

"If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?" defines this chapter's purpose. It outlines the importance of the mission statement and its use in setting goals and objectives, and the how-to's in going about developing them.

Chapter 4 - Using the Work Breakdown Structure to Plan a Project

The work breakdown structure means to subdivide a complicated task into smaller, easier-to-accomplish tasks. …