Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery by Dr Sunil C Gebalanage

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Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery by Dr Sunil C Gebalanage

Category: Reference
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A very thorough grounding in the art and science of project management.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 206 Date: March 2017
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1524665562

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In the last fifteen years I've project managed the construction of an office and the extension of a building. On both occasions I looked for a resource which would give me a framework within which to proceed, but whilst I could find several volumes which dealt with individual parts of the project I couldn't find any literature which put it all together. An additional problem was that what literature there was out there was written with specific professionals in mind and didn't accommodate the generalist. It was with relief for those following me that I discovered Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery.

The handbook covers the five essential areas: project initiation, scope, cost, time and quality management, all of which are necessary to take a project to closeout. Dr Gebalanage recommends that you read the book through to begin with and I'd echo this and add that careful attention should be paid to the preface which explains the numbering system used. The section on how to initiate a project takes the reader through the processes from the initial idea (which might be no more than a sentence in the mind of the investor/client) and all the steps required to establish the feasibility of the project through to contract award and project execution. Gebalanage describes this as a 'lengthy and tedious process' but he supplies explanations in few words and it's clear what is required. I particularly liked his list of stakeholders, what should be found in the project charter and the points at which the client will have to make firm decisions, including possibly terminating the project. It is a lengthy process. It could be tedious, but it is worth following to the letter. Done properly the initiation of a project can be the bedrock of a project's success and much of the documentation produced at this stage will be invaluable later. The book is particularly strong on the interlinking of documentation.

Scope management is the work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service or result with the specified features and functions. Gebalanage details the five-step process and I found his practical examples most useful here as the principles can seem somewhat abstract. As Gebalanage says, Controlling scope is the most important process in project management and I found his detailed instructions most helpful. It was also chilling to realise that most projects which are not completed satisfactorily are not studied to establish what went wrong.

So far as the projects with which I've been involved are concerned, cost management has always seemed to me to be the simplest factor, but then I have a background in finance, which does help. Gebalanage looks at cost management in three realistic processes: estimating, budgeting and controlling cost. Whilst a budget cannot be controlled absolutely on a project of any size, it is possible to bring projects in within the approved budget and the Handbook sets out a realistic way of doing this. There's a good point made that there can be a management team with experts from all necessary disciplines, but if there's a failure in cost management knowledge, the project will definitely be a failure.

So far as time management is concerned I've always been a fan of critical path analysis and Gebalanage covers this and other methodologies, establishing where each is most appropriate. I found the figures particularly useful in this section - for the most part they could be replicated for any project - as well as the references to project management software. The software could well be a sensible investment on a project of substantial size.

Quality management methodologies are based on the universal theories of 'say what you do and do what you say' and proves the thoroughness of the work done earlier in the process. Agree and document what you are going to do, monitor the procedure, and check the deliverables accordingly. That might sound simple and Gebalanage lays out a system which protects all parties to the contract and avoids unnecessary testing and eradicates the mistrust which builds up between contractor and client.

I wish that I'd had the Beginner's Project Management Handbook available for the two projects which I've managed. Whilst both projects achieved successful completion my documentation would have been more orderly and I would have been able to shed the feeling which frequently overcame me that I wasn't entirely certain about what I was doing. If you're undertaking larger projects you might require fuller explanations, but the handbook will give a solid grounding.

Buy Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery by Dr Sunil C Gebalanage at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery by Dr Sunil C Gebalanage at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery by Dr Sunil C Gebalanage at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Beginner's Project Management Handbook: Art of Project Delivery by Dr Sunil C Gebalanage at Amazon.com.


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