Who Needs Another Program Management Handbook…?

Estimated reading time: 1 mins

You’d be forgiven if you thought the last thing needed on the bookshelf is another Program Management handbook. If Program Management was an exact science, then why would we need so many books when one PM bible would do? The truth is, PM isn’t a science, although it isn’t an artform as such – it’s a skill that involves working with people.

In my article 10 REAL reasons why IT projects fail, I shared ten reasons why IT projects come unstuck, and what is the common theme?

You guessed it – the people factor.

(In fact this article has rocketed to second place in my most popular articles list!)

If you can understand and influence people, then you can run projects, and programs of projects. Wait a second though, having skills in workable, repeatable methods can make or break a Program Manager, can’t it? Well yes – I think that is true. Otherwise, the multi-billion dollar industry of Program Management would be wrong, right?

Enter a new book, the The Handbook of Program Management (formally titled The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Succss with Optimal Program Managment). This book is provides a refreshing view of Program Management by focusing on what’s really important – the relationships between people and the skills they require.

It does a great job of covering very well the necessary fundamentals of PM – communications, presentations, getting signatures (really doing it – not just relying on a loose email thread), impact management using organization charts (how simple is that, really?) and identifying (and actively managing) the ‘non-executive directors’ of a program – the people with influence, but without authority.

The author, Dr James Brown, demonstrates his experience by sharing with the reader the real important factors of PM, not just the ‘boxes and lines’ we often see with methodology texts.

I’ve probably not done this book justice. There is a far better review of this book by Rich Saltzman on his blog Scope Crêpe which you can read here.

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