Call for Testers for Gower’s new Project Management Book Portal and Community of Practice



15 October 2014 – London, UK – Gower Publishing in UK has announced the beta launch of a new project management book portal and community of practice, for which they are seeking testers to try it out. Called GPMFIrst – a bit like the ‘Spotify’ model, users will be able to search Gower books (and curated content) by chapter and compile ‘playlists’ of the chapters across all the books, they will also have access to others’ playlists.

Gower are calling for beta testers – they would get access to all Gower PM books and the expert author pieces already loaded to the CoP in return for their feedback. It is an Agile project so very flexible and responsive to user comment/requests.

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According to Gower’s invitation; “A conversation at a PM Conference in 2012 sparked our imaginations about how to take forward the future of PM book publishing at Gower. A Project Manager responsible for a team of (hundreds) of project managers was sighing over which books he had read, how he never had time to finish any, and just wanted to buy several and dip in-and-out of them.

This got us to thinking that it might be appealing to our readers to search our content via chapters rather than as whole books, and how that might work. We thought more about how people would be consuming books in the future, and around about this time the ‘Spotify model’ idea of slicing and dicing the music of your choice into customized playlists was also gaining ground. Could readers make ‘playlists’ of Gower book chapters and other curated content for their own use and to share with others?

In 2013 we spent a lot of time meeting with Project Managers in industry, government, consultancy, PM organisations and academia – as well as with a good many of our expert authors. Proposals started to emerge about a new way of consuming books. Instead of looking for a book say, on Complexity – why not search for Complexity across all chapters in all our 120+ project management titles? Further, why not allow authors to update their titles with new content and their latest ideas? Taking this one step further, why not create a platform for readers to communicate with authors, experts and each other and discuss this material? Essentially, it’s a Project Management Community of Practice?

Further work led us to believe that the way forward for such a venture was to link to the wider PM industry. Our authors should write help guides, book lists and recommendations for other publisher’s books, other PM experts and organisations, and other ways of working outside of Gower. Our uniquely independent position at the heart of all these organisations would allow us to facilitate a wider discussion.

It was quickly realized that the PM taxomony would be key to enabling diverse groups such as the PM expert, student, academic and non-PM executive to all find their way around the site – and it would be our job to ‘signpost’ their way with helpful directions and material to allow them to find the relevant chapters across all the books/content as well as the relevant experts/users in discussion around these subject areas – even if it lead them off outside the site to all and any other relevant/useful PM organisations. A curator and moderator would be needed to ensure the rigor and standard of curated material alongside the books. Contributors could form loose ‘user groups’ or ‘sandpits’ to discuss books, issues, ideas, case studies and experience.

Custom profiles would need to enable users at say, a PMO, or a University, to share content, reading/play lists and custom material (or even a live author/expert webinar) at a meeting or seminar. Public and private profiles could facilitate as much or as little collaboration as was needed. And, our interviewees told us, it would need to be FUN. It would need to be different – ease of use and gamification would need to be incorporated…

The feedback we had from our interviews, research and partner organisations was so positive, creative and exciting that we now have a prototype of this new PM book portal and Community of Practice (CoP) and it is called GPMFirst. This is an agile project, and designed to be flexible enough to incorporate the ideas, criticism, wants and needs of the testers – and we would love to have your feedback. If you are interested in being a tester and in doing so having access to all the Gower PM books currently loaded into the prototype, then please review the summary below and get in touch with us to have a play!”


  • Access to over 1,200 chapters from ALL the 120+ project and program management books in the Gower collection that you can browse by subject, book title, author or full text search and read on your PC, tablet or phone
  • A further collection of chapters, case studies, commented templates, checklists, models or tools, survey or research reports, exercises, formulae and must-read guides uploaded by Gower authors and other site users that you can download and adapt to your own needs – each one provided in a consistent format, and expertly curated to ensure, rigour, application and relevance
  • Non-print material: videos, slides shows, podcasts, audio files browsable by subject
  • Activities such as webinars, hot-seat presentations, facilitated discussions, subject kick-offs, virtual workshops, meet the author etc
  • Creating a profile on the site using your Linked-in (or other existing) profiles, enabling you to show your knowledge, expertise and interests with others on the site and share your discoveries with others within, and beyond, the subscriber base
  • Customisation: your own informal, corporate or student network – guide your group to chapters, materials, and discussions you think they will find useful, using tags, commentaries or virtual reading lists – you can even have a custom front-end
  • Asking authors and other subject matter experts for help and advice on your PM topic of interest in this moderated Community of Practice

Where would you start and what would you do?

“We are looking for customers to pilot the new service and offer feedback. Please contact Jonathan Norman, Publisher, at: [email protected] or Melisa Young, Business Development at: [email protected] +44 (0)1252 736600 Or find out more and register for updates via www.gowerpublishing.com/gpmfirst

How can Project Managers benefit from a CoP?

Free chapter from the Gower Handbook of People in Project Management; about how PMs can benefit from a Community of Practice

CoP Article link: Intentionally Creating a Community of Practice to Connect Dispersed Technical Professionals

141015-pmwj28-call-GOWER LOGOFounded in 1967 and based in the UK, Gower is an independent publisher, widely recognized as a specialist in project management books and resources. Gower’s publishing programme includes a range of over 1000 titles from classic business and project management books through to the most challenging and cutting edge topics. Gower’s expert authors are continually developing new titles and are drawn from respected academic institutions and industries worldwide. Gower’s project management home page can be found at www.gowerpublishing.com/projectmanagement