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Business Leadership for IT Projects

PM WORLD BOOK REVIEW

pmwj23-jun2014-Suresh-IMAGE1 BOOK

Book Title:  Business Leadership for IT Projects
Author:  Gary Lloyd
Publisher:  Gower Publishing Ltd
List Price:   US$85 
Format:  Hard cover; 165 pages
Publication Date:  September 2013
ISBN: 9781409456902
Reviewer:      Shailaja Suresh
Review Date:   April, 2014

 

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Introduction to the Book

The author interests the reader right at the introduction by briefing why most IT projects fail. He indicates that according to research, most IT projects fail because of people rather than technology issues. According to him, “An IT system achieves nothing unless it is coupled with the achievement of a business outcome”. Thus in the book, he emphasizes the importance of business leadership in IT projects to make them successful.

Apart from the above, the book helps to address the psychological bear-traps in two ways: first, by finding ways to slow down thinking to give the more evolved aspects of the brain to join the brainstorm; and second, by soliciting outside views to give different perspectives to deal with IT projects with lesser emotional involvement.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book changes the regular pattern of thinking while doing IT projects. It asksthe readers to reconsider alternatives before designing an IT solution to address a business problem. It is important to identify other options to solve such a problem. The alternatives like changing processes or buying a service that already exists may be all that is required in many cases.

In the subsequent chapters, the crucial elements that are required to focus on to make an IT project successful are dealt with. The key focus areas include:

1)    Take leadership and ‘step up to the plate’

2)    Have a clear vision of what the project would accomplish from the angle of the key stakeholders

3)    Structure the solution such that it delivers business value at regular chunks that could be evaluated against performance criteria, cost and schedule

4)    Set performance criteria, budget and schedule constraints of the solution right at the beginning of the project so that the direction of the solution is clear

5)    Review the business case summary regularly with the stakeholders so that the vision is not lost

6)    Be proactive.  Review expenditure and progress versus the budget and schedule using earned value analysis

The flow of the book is seamless and grips the reader in every chapter. The sequential flow of chapters on the key ideas above helps create a mind map on the practical angles rather than the theoretical angles of project leadership.  

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About the Reviewer

pmwj23-jun2014-Suresh-IMAGE2 REVIEWERShailaja Suresh flag-india

Shailaja Suresh did her B.E and B.Tech (dual engineering degree) from College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, India. She also did a c-PGDBA in management from Symbiosis, Pune, India. She  is a  PMI certified Project Management Professional and a certified Scrum Master who has a vast experience and exposure in Agile related software methodologies. She loves reading, writing and solving puzzles. She takes great interest in archaeological studies and artifacts. Collecting old Indian coins has been one of her hobbies since childhood. Anything out of the ordinary interests her and kindles her curiosity. She enjoys interacting with people on space and management related topics.  Email: [email protected]

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Dallas Chapter – www.pmidallas.org). Authors and publishers provide books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI members can keep the books as well as receive PDUs for PMP recertification when their book reviews are published.  PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.  If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].