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Project Management: Best Practices for IT Professionals [Hardcover]

Richard Murch
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 19, 2000 0130219142 978-0130219145 1
Project management leadership is today's #1 business skill. Talented, knowledgeable project managers command the best assignments and compensation: they are the future leaders of business. But expert project managers aren't born that way: they've learned specific, proven techniques and strategies for achieving outstanding results. In Project Management, Richard Murch shares those techniques and strategies. Whether you're managing your first project, or you're an experienced project manager facing tough, new challenges, Project Management offers expert solutions. Start by mastering the fundamentals of project management, including planning, reporting, team building, and team leadership. Understand the entire project lifecycle: planning, analysis, design, construction, testing, rollout, and beyond. Learn practical ways to respond to incessant changes in market conditions, resources, requirements and schedules; and learn how to manage risks and problems more effectively. Master today's latest rapid software development methodologies and techniques; and discover how to handle the unique challenges of IT and knowledge management projects. Finally, leverage the latest Internet and intranet-based project management tools and resources.

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap


Project management leadership has become a highly sought-after skill. An increasingly competitive global marketplace demands that businesses get new products, services, and business development completed quickly, on time, and within budget.

From small companies to web-based businesses to giant global financial institutions, project managers are fueling much of the successful development of exciting new business enterprises. They do this by delivering projects that have consistent value and help increase profits.

Talented and knowledgeable project managers will command the best assignments, salaries, other compensation and bonuses. They are the future business leaders, entrepreneurs, and global citizens, proving their value to any organization competing in today's fast-paced marketplace.

Regardless of how much in demand they are, good project managers are not born, but rather created through a combination of experience, time, talent, and training. Although excellent organizational skills are a prerequisite for the project manager, other key attributes may not be naturally occurring and need to be developed. Unfortunately, most of this development time occurs on the job, so few individuals who are promoted to the role of project manager ever feel fully ready to take on the challenge offered to them.

When faced with a first project, many project managers are worried that they don't yet know what they should know. Historically, project management, particularly in the Information Technology (IT) arena, has had a reputation for always being late and over budget. Even under the best of circumstances, project management is not easy; the project manager is continually faced with changing conditions, technology, resources, requirements, and schedules. Technology only serves to complicate matters further because today's computing environments tend to become obsolete with ever-increasing speed. Thus, a good project manager must not only be proficient at managing, but he or she must retain that proficiency as the technology changes. This light-speed adaptability is not an option, but rather an absolute requirement of the job. Clearly, the job of project manager is not for the faint-of-heart. Good preparation and knowledge about what the job entails is hugely valuable and key to surviving a first project.

The purpose of this book is to provide the new project manager with an accessible resource that presents the key topics and subject areas that he or she is likely to encounter. The book's broad coverage should be especially useful to a busy project manager who will not have time initially to research all of these topics in-depth but requires an immediate working knowledge of the overall functions and behaviors of an IT project. As the project manager becomes more comfortable with the basics, the book continues to be a valuable tool because it includes a wealth of additional resources such as books, papers, and web sites for additional learning as needed.

The hardest part of any project is knowing where to begin. It is hoped that this book will be a great jumping-off point to a successful career of well-managed endeavors for many a project manager.Who Should Read this Book

This book is intended for the novice project manager responsible for IT projects, regardless of size or complexity. Because of the broad nature of its coverage, it can be used as an introduction to key topics on the entire project lifecycle for someone previously unfamiliar with the nature of IT projects. For moderately experienced individuals, it can become a convenient reference manual to help reinforce the basic understanding of IT project management. Additionally, the sections on specialized topics will be useful to project managers seeking to increase their learning and to grow their experience base into niche areas such as Knowledge Management or Risk and Crisis Management.Organization of this Book

This book is organized into five parts that broadly categorize the information contained in it. These parts and their subjects are:

Part One: Introduction to Project Management provides a brief overview of this book and some historical background on Project Management and its overall evolution.

Part Two: Principles of Project Management covers ground-floor information such as basic skills, elements of project planning and reporting, and the makeup and issues surrounding good project teams.

Part Three: The Project Management Lifecycle categorizes the project by phase, explains each phase's purpose and describes in finer detail the activities, deliverables, and resources for and intentions of each phase.

Part Four: Project Management Techniques provides information on a number of techniques and topics facing Project Managers today, such as the types and use of methodologies, managing risks and problems, and specializations such as Software Quality Assurance, Configuration Management, and Crisis Management.

Part Five: Special Topics in Project Management concludes the main portion of this book with some discussion of hot topics such as Knowledge Management and the impact of the Internet on Project Management.

Finally, there are numerous additional sources of information available to the Project Manager included in several Appendices.

From the Back Cover

Master project management, today's most critical business skill!

Project management leadership is today's #1 business skill. Talented, knowledgeable project managers command the best assignments and compensation: they are the future leaders of business. But expert project managers aren't born that way: they've learned specific, proven techniques and strategies for achieving outstanding results. In Project Management, Richard Murch shares those techniques and strategies. Whether you're managing your first project, or you're an experienced project manager facing tough, new challenges, Project Management offers expert solutions. You'll find coverage of all this, and more:

  • The fundamentals of project management, planning, reporting, team building, and team leadership
  • The project lifecycle: planning, analysis, design, construction, testing, rollout, and beyond
  • Responding to constant changes in market conditions, resources, requirements, and schedules
  • Mastering today's latest rapid development management techniques
  • Managing risks and problems more effectively
  • Handling the unique challenges of IT and knowledge management
  • Leveraging Internet and intranet-based project management tools and resources

At last, there's a single source for all the expertise project managers need to be successful! Next time you're called upon to do the impossible—and do it yesterday—reach for the one book that can help you make it happen: Project Management by Richard Murch.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (October 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130219142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130219145
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 7.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,318,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is not a book about project management, rather it is a collection of IT project management best practices that will guarantee success if they are incorporated into your project management bag of tricks.
Mr. Murch has classified the best practices by providing a set of general practices and a set of specific ones that are aligned to each phase of the system development life cycle. This organization allows you to use this book as a resource guide when planning, estimating and scheduling the project, and as a desk reference when controlling it.
While some of the best practices are widely known (although not as widely practiced), the real gems in this book are: associating tasks with deliverables (too often the deliverable part of the task is not identified during planning, which results in tasks that do not contribute to project goals - if a task does not produce an associated deliverable you need to question why the task is included), project status reporting (the sample status report is excellent, except for one glaring omission discussed below), and the focus on quality assurance and configuration management metrics, which encompasses factors that are frequently missing from IT project controls.
The project status report example is a highlight of this book. Mr. Murch's proposed format will provide a succinct summary of a project's health, and give the project manager, his or her team and the sponsor an ongoing view of the project's status. What mars this otherwise perfect format is an integrated view of cost and schedule performance is completely missing from the picture. He comes close by discussing estimate at completion vs. budget in the project cost performance of the report format, but does not connect it to the schedule performance.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the nail on the head . . . November 19, 2000
Much of what is written about project management misses the whole point. When managing a "project", you are simply managing people. All the metrics and project management software in the world will not make a successful project. It's the efforts, motivation and skill of the people involved that yield success. Mr. Murch's project management approach begins with people - understanding the necessary skills for the PM, clearly defining project team roles, devoting an entire chapter to team motivation and retention, exploring ways to involve and empower end users. The metrics and methodologies are presented as well, with case studies that clarify and emphasize important points. The book also covers the tricky topics of problem management, risk management and crisis management. I also found the sections on configuration management and release management beneficial. This is project management presented by someone who's lived it in the trenches and truly has "best practices" to share with other professionals and students of the field.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important new work - Quality and Value April 17, 2001
This is an important new work on project management that is written is refreshing new way that gives the reader new perspectives on the problems of managing projects. Murch has found a way to stimulate his readers. The book continually draws you in and is so interesting - - among the topics are history, team building, team retention ( a very important topic) project reporting and skills development. All this is achieved in the first section.
In the next section Murch details a complete Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) down to the task level, suggesting best practices - very few books have ever done this. This alone justifies the price and value of this book.
In the techniques section, he reviews necessary project management methods such as Rapid Application ( RAD ), problem management, risk management, PM methodologies, (another very important topic) and other topics
In conclusion as a seasoned and battle scarred Project Manager - this book will be read by my team(s) and other members of my organization.
It will not leave my desk - excellent --- full kudos to Mr. Murch.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where are the best practices? May 12, 2003
I found little value in this book. Perhaps I misunderstood the title, but I hope to save you from doing the same. This book contains no best practices - only a very general (and incomplete) overview of the project management process.
I would have expected to see a book heavy on "practice" considering the book's title, but the book is mostly theory at a very high level. The book has more of a dictionary feel than anything else. The project management process is presented, and each area in the process is defined (at least partially).
Sections on release management, configuration management, and problem resolution were under a page long. From the description and other reviews, I was really expecting to find some meat in these areas. For that matter, most of the chapters were rather light on content - again, not what I would expect in a "practice" book.
A few other notes:
* The writing style is rather dry - not academic, but more corporate process team.
* The quality of the book materials, binding, typography are excellent.
* Resources for further reading are poor.
* Some excellent graphics: CRUD matrix, process overview, status report template (it's for this reason that I didn't give it a one star)
* Case studies were poor: they seemed to have no ties to the chapter in which they were presented.
In a nutshell, for a very high-level overview of project management theory, this book will prove beneficial. If you have a background in project management, or are familiar with the process, or are looking for infomration you can put to work, this is not the book for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Too general ... no case studies, examples, best practices
Book provides very general high level overview of PM. It does not get into details such as case studies, examples or best practices, documentation etc. Read more
Published on April 7, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars >>>> Best Practices on Every Page
Best Practices on Every Page
This is an excellent well-written, concise and extraordinary value book. Read more
Published on October 15, 2003 by Lee Waters
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity, Style and Knowledge - Excellent Book
Whether you are an experienced project manager, a novice or someone who manages project managers,this book is for you. Read more
Published on May 22, 2003 by Barry Shiller
3.0 out of 5 stars Too general for an IT professional.
There are too few of real world examples on how the activities or standards are applied. Although no doubt that human communication is important, but I think some good examples... Read more
Published on April 16, 2003 by "kamyen"
2.0 out of 5 stars Depending on what you are after...
If you are after a paractical book with plenty of real world examples then this isnt your book. Try The Software Project Manager's Handbook: Principles that Work at Work by Dwayne... Read more
Published on March 15, 2003 by Edwin Dando
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent nuts and bolts reference for project management
I am a student at DeVry University working on a B.S. in Information Technology. I plan on keeping this book (actually I have two) as part of my permanent library. Read more
Published on October 28, 2002 by Karen J. Kramer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not great - can't decide on the audience.
The book is very broad and shallow overall, however, in a few places (like Risk) there is significant depth. Read more
Published on September 6, 2002 by Gary Toronto
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Unusual Book - Highly Recommended
I've been an IT project manager for about 30 years, working on every type of project, style and size. I have managed projects from a team of 1- to over 400 FTE's. Read more
Published on July 26, 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Light for Experienced PM
I just finished reading the book. I thought the writing style was clear; however, despite its claim to be useful to experienced users, I found it lacking. Read more
Published on July 19, 2002 by James
2.0 out of 5 stars Mile Wide, Inch Deep
The book reads like a mediocre project plan; the Mr. Murch attempts to enumerate all aspects of project management, but provides no personal insight. Read more
Published on July 5, 2002 by B. Armstrong
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