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Project Think: Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions

PM WORLD BOOK REVIEW

pmwj23-jun2014-Hermanson-IMAGE1 BOOKBook Title:  Project Think: Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions
Authors:  Lev Virine and Michael Trumper
Publisher:  Gower Publishing Limited
List Price:   US$ 80.96       

Format:  hard cover; 235 pages
Publication Date:   2013    
ISBN: 978-1-4094-5494-4
Reviewer: Brad Hermanson, PE, PMP, MBA
Review Date:              May 2014

 
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I have had a steady interest in project decision-making and uncertainty for over 20 years.  I studied that subject as part of my MBA special project,  keep-up-to speed on behavioral decision theory,  have taught courses on project risk management and decision-making, and have actively incorporated methods such as decision analysis and risk management on my projects.  So this book caught my eye.  There is little information on issues related to decision-making on projects, and I was excited to see how the authors would develop the book.

The book is organized around four parts: (1) why good project managers make poor decisions, (2) traveling inside the project manager’s mind, (3) project analysis versus mental errors, and (4) choice engineering.  There are appendices that are critical to obtaining maximum value out of the book; there is a significant amount of important detail there.  They style of the book is generally lively, with entertaining examples.

The authors have published another book on a related topic, “Project Decisions: The Art and the Science”.  Virine is an engineer, project manager, and speaker on decision analysis, risk management, and decision-making.  Trumper is partner at a vendor for risk management software and specializes in project risk analysis.

The book covers a number of subjects in some detail.  One subject is the general nature of decision problems, which tend to be mental errors.  Appendices A and B provide exhaustive lists of the common errors, and the main body of the book does a good job providing an overview.  Coverage is quite broad, but not necessarily deep.  It is primarily an overview.  The book also introduces the concept of “choice engineering,” which contrasts with policing to encourage people to make better choices on projects.  The concept is introduced in the beginning of the book and reinforced later in a discussion of choice engineering in organizations.  

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About the Reviewer

pmwj23-jun2014-Hermanson-IMAGE2 REVIEWERBrad Hermanson, PE, PMP, MBAflag-usa

Portland, Oregon

Brad Hermanson, PE, PMP, MBA is a project manager with over 30 years of experience in the consulting engineering industry.  He has been an enterprise leader for project delivery and quality for several large consulting firms, and is a frequent speaker and trainer on a variety of topics on project management.   A summary of his work and experience can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brad-hermanson-pe-pmp/b/a05/846.

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Portland, Oregon, USA Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Portland Chapter – www.pmi-portland.org). Publishers provide the books to the PMI Portland Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  Reviewers can keep the books and claim PDUs for PMP recertification.  PMI Portland 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] or [email protected].