Investment Centric Project Management


Book Title:  Investment Centric Project Management: Advanced Strategies for Developing and Executing Successful Capital Projects
Author:  Steven Keays
Publisher:  J. Ross Publishing
List Price:   $57.00
Format:  Hardback, 419 pages
Publication Date:   2017    
ISBN: 978-1-60427-142-3
Reviewer: Benjamin K. Diamond
Review Date: March 2018


The most critical thing I can say about Investment Centric Project Management by Steven Keays is that it’s “good and original” – however the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good.

The author wants to build a case that 65% of $500M+ projects are failing because they are placing the ‘constraint trifecta’ ahead of valunomics. He calls his solution to this dilemma the Profitability Performing Asset (PPA) philosophy. The basis of PPA-based management is to give greater weight to the total cost of ownership and future revenue streams. Much of his premise seems to be another perspective of the principles of agile techniques (“advance all work incrementally”) and mind set which are already adopted in the 6th Edition of the PMBOK.

Furthermore, I question whether the problems identified are often a straw man for the strategic and operational-alignment challenge of Program and Portfolio Managers. Keays maintains that “a project is the development of a profitability performing asset”, “to transform the initial concept into a revenue stream”. In the world of capital projects, I don’t believe anyone would argue with that aspirational goal – thus my critical opening assessment: ‘good but not original’. That project management must be proactive rather than reactive journalism (p. 39) is both obvious and elusive. The unknown-unknown challenges which characterize a complex system and interfere with every endeavor is the art and unique value of project management. I don’t question Steven Keays’ successful experience, I would have enjoyed to see more case studies and facts to appreciate his perspective.

While the originality and unique contribution of PPA as a solution to successful project management are best left debated, Steven Keays culls from an impressive amount of experience to provide broad treatment of almost every other dimension of project management from the strategic to the tactical. His broad treatment of topics benefits any reader who is also a professional PM practitioner. Additionally, Keays is a gifted author with a knack for coining neologism’s which expand the lexicon and paradigm approach of project management.


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About the Reviewer

Benjamin K. Diamond

San Antonio, Texas, USA


Benjamin (Ben) K. Diamond
is a 2007 honors graduate of the United States Military Academy and a ten-year veteran of the US Army with a deployment to Iraq from 2008-09 and overseas tours in Germany and Korea. His Army career culminated as the Program Manager for US Army Corps of Engineers initiatives supporting Army operations throughout the Caribbean, Central American, and South America. He is now actively seeking a career in Project/Program Management. Ben has PMI certifications and extensive experience in Project, Program, Agile, and Risk Management and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri Science & Technology in Engineering Management.

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Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the Alamo PMI Chapter in San Antonio, Texas. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Alamo 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 Alamo Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  PMI members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.   

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