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Manage It!: Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management Paperback – June 17, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I highly recommend this book to all project managers, from novices to those with more experience. This is an incredible resource that should be referred to frequently for advice on how to help you decide which project management practice or technique is appropriate for your project—which she helps you to apply immediately."

Jennifer Cannon, SticckyMinds.com Review

"Concrete and useful. In this book there are things you may learn from university and from your job after years of experience. Take this book and a shortcut."

—Nicola Pedot

About the Author

Johanna Rothman helps leaders solve problems and seize opportunities. She consults, speaks, and writes on managing high-technology product development. She enables managers, teams, and organizations to become more effective by applying her pragmatic approaches to the issues of project management, risk management, and people management. Johanna publishes The Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter and podcast, and writes two blogs: Managing Product Development and Hiring Technical People. She is the author of several books: - Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management - Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (with Esther Derby) - Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People - Corrective Action for the Software Industry (with Denise Robitaille).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (June 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978739248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978739249
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

People know me as the "Pragmatic Manager." I provide frank advice--often with a little humor--for your tough problems. I prescribe thinking about your context first, because your circumstances are unique. I help leaders and managers do reasonable things that work.

I write for all kinds of places, including Better Software, IEEE Software, and Cutter IT Journal to name just three. I've keynoted on five continents. I'm not sure I want to go to Antarctica.

I write an email newsletter, the Pragmatic Manager, and two blogs on jrothman.com, and a personal blog on createadaptablelife.com with its own newsletter. Please take a look and sign up for the newsletters.

I care about projects, teams, and organizations that work.

Customer Reviews

It's easy to read, it's easy to follow, and its full of simple, practical advice.
Pierce T. Wetter III
This book is for software managers but also for business managers who would understand the special applications and methods for building and managing projects.
Midwest Book Review
While reading this book, it opened my eyes again and again -- Yep, been there, seen that.
Ralph Jocham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Christiansen on February 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management by Johanna Rothman is the best project management reference I've ever read, and I've seen my share of project management tomes. Here's what I like best about the book: it's not theological. By this I mean Rothman doesn't advocate one "true" way of running projects. She is very careful to be continually cognizant of context when she talks about different approaches you might take. In this sense, she is very situational about prescribing solutions, which I like because it helps a project manager develop what I think is a critical attribute of a good project manager: good judgment.

One of my favorite chapters is Recognizing and Avoiding Schedule Games, which uses comic art and prose to explain and fix schedule games that can occur on projects. Here are a few from the book:
- Bring Me a Rock
- Hope Is Our Most Important Strategy
- Queen of Denial
- Sweep Under the Rug
- 90% Done
and so on, for a total of 16 entertaining schedule games that every project manager eventually needs to face.

Rothman is an entertaining writer with a knack for interesting prose and practical advice. Unlike most PM books I've read, I've not found anything yet where I was inclined to ignore her advice or felt an approach would require too much work and yield too little benefit. She definitely has a propensity toward simple, sustainable approaches to project management, something I sincerely appreciate due to my strong disdain for any approach with substantial overhead.

Another great feature of this book is you can read it out of order, either by opening it randomly or by simply reading the sections that interest you at the moment or that apply to problems you are struggling with.

Buy it. Try it. It's worth it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Flowers on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
The best way for me to describe Manage It! is as a survey course in project management for experienced project managers.

You could read this book to get a good flavor for what project managers do, but I don't see it as a first course in becoming a project manager. Experienced project managers typically have grown up with a particular project management method: Waterfall, phase-gate, spiral, agile, Scrum, XP. While Johanna shows a general preference for agile methods, she gives excellent detail on how to work effectively in each method.

Don't skip this book because you think you are too experienced for it. Manage It! is packed with great tips for the most seasoned leader.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Pihlgren on June 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read a few other project management books, including the excellent The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun, my previous favorite. Berkun spent years as a project manager in one company, Microsoft, and his book is basically the Microsoft approach when it's done excellently.

Rothman is a project management consultant. She has seen many different companies trying many different project management lifecycles. I would guess that in most cases she doesn't get called in unless her customers are having problems. The fact that she's been doing this for years means that her work is valued by her customers.

This difference in experience can be seen comparing this book to Berkun's. Instead of outlining one way to do things, Rothman describes a continuum of project lifecycles from waterfall (what she calls "serial") to agile. She talks about when each is appropriate, things to watch out for in different contexts, and when the odds are against success in each kind of lifecycle.

Other topics that are explored in the book include schedule games and how to avoid them, how to manage meetings, how to integrate testing into your project, and others.

This is a great book. I'll continue to refer to it during my future projects.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve Berczuk VINE VOICE on May 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Manage It! will help you understand how to manage projects effectively, taking into account the needs of the people working on the project as well as the needs of the business sponsors. In this regard Johanna Rothman follows in the steps of authors like Jerry Weinberg in showing you how to set up a project environment that helps software developers be more effective and thus be better able to deliver value to their customers. This book has lots of pragmatic advice on how to make progress and issues visible, how to plan a project, and most everything else you need to help a project come to a good conclusion. This book is unique in that while it discusses the benefits of agile lifecycles, it shows you how to make progress in a variety of software lifecycles, and how to introduce techniques that will help your team to be more effective even if they don't really "fit" into your defined process.

Buy this book if you want to be a more effective project manager (or technical lead who works with project managers), or if you want to be more agile but are not sure how. What I liked most about this book is the focus on how project management processes can help people be more (or less) effective; an understanding of the primary role of people in a project is key to being more agile.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Jocham on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is years of experience condensed to its best. It addresses all important aspects of modern project management. It is objective towards many different processes but it clearly makes the point that agile is the best choice in most cases.

While reading this book, it opened my eyes again and again -- Yep, been there, seen that.

I encourage every project manager to read this book from beginning to end; this will put hooks in your mind to come back later and re-read the appropriate chapter when needed. After having read this book, it makes a great reference. I use it to make sure I have not overseen anything when reaching certain life cycle events.

Thanks Johanna, this book was overdue for a long time!
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