Effective Project Management – Traditional, Agile, Extreme


effective-project-managementBook Title: Effective Project Management – Traditional, Agile, Extreme

Authors: Robert K Wysocki
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
List Price: $50.00
Format: Soft cover, 792 pages
Publication Date: April 2009
ISBN: 0470423676

Reviewer: Raza Usman
Review Date: March 2013



Robert K. Wysocki has over 40 years’ experience as a PM, consultant, trainer, IS manager and is the author of over 16 books and more than 30 publications in professional and trade journals. He has used his experience to write an extremely useful reference for all project managers. The book is divided into 4 parts with a total of 17 chapters. He uses a case study approach with Pizza Delivered Quickly a hypothetical local chain of 40 stores planning on developing a software application to identify locations and for operational needs, along with real world examples. He stresses that the book can be used very effectively for an undergraduate course or for PM training purposes. A summary, case studies and discussion questions help to anchor the chapter for the reader.

Part 1 deals with defining and using PM process groups. The book does not assume mastery of any PM principles and starts by defining a project as a sequence of activities with constraints on time and budget. Cross references to terms within the book enhance the readability and comprehension of the text. Definitions for programs, scope, quality, cost, time and resources follow. Classification of type A to D projects is clearly defined in a table. In chapter 2 a definition of the 5 process groups and a layman description of each with specific examples sets the stage for an in-depth analysis of scoping, planning, launching, monitoring and controlling and closing projects. The author uses extensive use of tables, cross referencing, diagramming and real world case studies to comprehensively explain each process. Of particular note is terminology used in the industry but which is not found in PMBOK. Helpful tools like business process diagrams, work flow diagrams, use case and context diagrams  are explained in detail.  Helpful and practical tips like planning time for different projects, attendees in a JPPS anchor the reader to real world situations, and allow benchmarking on personal projects for existing project managers or provide a template for students who have no experience of project management. Important topics like WBS, estimating, critical path and risk are sequentially and methodically explained with an emphasis on the tools or methods used.  Real world strategies on resource levelling are explained with examples. Calculations for SD, CPI, SPI are worked out with formulations.

Part 2 is where the PM basics are tied to the “project management landscape”. The landscape is defined based on two characteristics: goals and solutions which are clearly defined or not clearly defined forming a 2 x 2 matrix. 4 approaches to PM are explained in this context: Traditional, Agile (APM), Extreme (xPM) and Emertex(MPx). The Traditional approach is used when both goal and solution are clearly defined, which are approximately 20 % of all projects. Agile is used when the goal is clearly defined but the solution is not, these are approximately 70% of the projects. The most complex are when both goal and solution are not defined, as in the case of research projects, and these are defined under Extreme Projects. the last category is solution clear goal unclear which comes under Emertex (extreme in reverse. The authors own terminology). About 10% of all projects fall in the extreme category.  


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Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between PM World and the Project Management Institute (PMI) Information Systems (IS) Community of Practice (CoP) (PMI IS CoP – http://is.vc.pmi.org/). The PMI IS CoP has established a members-based project management book club as a service to members who can receive PDUs for PMP recertification for authoring the reviews.  Each book is reviewed and scored according to established criteria.  The top scoring book reviews will be published in the PM World Journal.  If you are a PMI member and in the IS, IT or other technology-related field, consider joining the PMI IS CoP and participating in this unique book review program.  Information at http://is.vc.pmi.org/ or @ISCoPPMI, #iscopbookclub. 

About the Reviewer


raza-usmanflag-pakistanRaza Usman, PMP 

Raza Usman is a senior IT leader with experience in building state-of-the-art IT operations. 5 years of experience in engineering research. Implemented frameworks for managing enterprise IT Infrastructure architecture within global operations. Cross functional experience in IT Infrastructure and governance, project management and engineering/opto-electronics.  e-mail: [email protected]