S.T.O.P. The Project Management Survival Plan


Book Title: S.T.O.P. The Project Management Survival Plan
Authors:  Steven Starke
Publisher:  Actuation Press
List Price: US$25
Publication Date: December 5, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9831116-8-9

Reviewer: Brian  Williams, PMP
Review Date: June 13, 2012

Introduction to the Book

S.T.O.P. The Project Management Survival Plan provides seasoned project managers a fresh take on caring for and nurturing their projects.  It focuses on establishing a framework of behavior learned by the author outside of the project management discipline, and how to apply it in all phases of the project, and extends the concept back into other aspects of life.

The central tenant is that allowing projects and the project management process to succumb to external and internal inertia can result in project failure.  It also redefines project success and failure in terms of the value the project creates rather than its completion.  Stopping a project that is not creating value is to be viewed as successful project management.   A successfully completed project that does not add the value expected by the customer is not really a success.  The book describes a meta-framework for project management that ensures that projects not only are completed, but also add value the organization.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The author takes the reader through a sequence of steps, the S.T.O.P. method, explaining in detail the source of the concept and how it can apply to project management.    He then takes the concept and dives into several key aspects of project management: project value, team performance, and communication.  He concludes with example narrative in which the protagonist project manager applies the methodologies of the book to successfully rescue a project in dire straits.

Highlights: What I liked!

Mr. Starke has done an excellent job of taking what on the surface seems to be a very simple and intuitive concept, and shows the reader how powerful it can be.  The connection from conceptual framework to specific application is the strong point of the book.  He does not shy away from expressing opinion about what works and what does not in real practice.  You get a whole gamut of advice, from overarching principle to decision making frameworks to detailed advice and application.


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About the Reviewer

Brian Williams, PMP

Brian Williams has practiced project management across several industries, from telecommunications to construction to banking, specializing in complex solution modeling and data-driven decision making.  He has worked on a variety of sizes of projects from multi-million dollar projects to a complex overlapping micro-project environment.  He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MS in Electrical Engineering from The Ohio State University.  He currently manages infrastructure projects for a large banking institution in the United States, is an active member of the Dallas area branch of PMI, and resides in a suburb of Dallas, TX.  Brian can be contacted at [email protected].

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World Inc and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (www.pmidallas.org). Publishers provide books to PM World, books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter where they are given to chapter members who commit to providing a book review in a standard format; the reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  Since PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, they represent the intended audience for most PM books.  If you are an author or publisher of a book related to program or project management, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].