The Art of Project Management (Theory in Practice (O'Reilly)) 1st Edition

49 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596007867
ISBN-10: 0596007868
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Editorial Reviews


"The book is written in an easy and witty style that makes for an enjoyable cover-to-cover read, although the structure of the book makes it easy to refer to particular sections as required. Whether you are an experienced project manager or making the transition from developer to manager, I thoroughly recommend that you read "The Art of Projects Management" and keep a copy with you at all the times!" - Jenny Smith, The Developers Magazine - Jan/Feb 2007

From the Inside Flap

"...Its strengths are its basis in experience; the inclusion of many illustrative stories; and the thoughtful sections on specs, making good decisions, and politics. ...I think it would be an excellent resource for someone going into project management or trying to make sense of project management."

- Kent Beck, Three Rivers Consulting, Inc. "The Art of Project Management covers it all - from practical methods for making sure work gets done right and on time, to the mindset that can make you a great leader motivating your team to do their best. Reading this was like reading the blueprint for how the best projects are managed at Microsoft. I wish we always put these lessons into action!" - Joe Belfiore, General Manager, E-home Division, Microsoft Corporation "Berkun has written a fast paced, jargon-free and witty guide to what he wisely refers to as the 'art' of project management. It's a great introduction to the discipline. Seasoned and new managers will benefit from Berkun's perspectives." - Joe Mirza, Director, CNET Networks ( "Most books with the words 'project management' in the title are dry tomes. If that's what you are expecting to hear from Berkun's book, you will be pleasantly surprised. Sure, it's about project management. But it's also about creativity, situational problem-solving, and leadership. If you're a team member, project manager, or even a non-technical stakeholder, Scott offers dozens of practical tools and techniques you can use, and questions you can ask, to ensure your projects succeed." - Bill Bliss, Senior VP of product and customer experience, "Scott's manifesto on project management is a great balance of practical advice and inspiration, based on keen observations and experiences earned while in the trenches. It's well-researched, very readable, and humorous to boot." - Paolo Malabuyo, Lead Program Manager, Xbox, Microsoft Corporation " This book is useful to anyone involved in ongoing projects, regardless of whether they have an official leadership role. I'm a designer, not a project manager, and I found more practical information on how to get work done in a software company than any other book I've read." - Chad Thornton, Interaction Designer, Google A successful software application is a mixture of programming, designing, scheduling, marketing, testing, some black magic, and a lot of luck. Engineers see it as a technical problem; designers see it as a usability problem; marketers see it as a specifications problem; but nobody sees it as 100% their problem. This book is written for the people who take on the burden of making the whole problem their problem" - Steve Capps, CEO of and Former Apple fellow "How I managed so long without this book baffles the mind." - Richard Stoakley, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation "As a software engineer, the observations in 'The Art of Project Management' resonated deeply with my own experiences. Scott's book gave me a new appreciation for the difficulty and risks, and the tremendous rewards of good project management. This book provides the knowledge and the incentive to become a better project contributor whether you are managing or being managed. Any stakeholder in a software project will benefit from reading this book." - Martin Frankel, Senior Software Engineer, TiVo Inc." Berkun provides valuable insight into how to accomplish projects without subscribing to a specific software engineering strategy. His discussions are supported with examples from projects he personally managed and include numerous citations from other works on philosophy, organizational behavior, and project management. This book should be required reading for anyone involved with development, from a single programmer in a small company to a vice-president of a large corporation. -Samuel Greenfield, Manager of System Development, Sports Illustrated Magazine "Of all the many books on project management, "The art of project management" is by far the most easy to read and entertaining. Scott Berkun's insights, knowledge and sense of humor delivers an exceptional book that no project manager can do without." - Michael Viola, Senior Consultant, IBM


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Product Details

  • Series: Theory in Practice (O'Reilly)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596007868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596007867
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Berkun (@berkun) is the best selling author of four books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker and Mindfire Big Ideas for Curious Minds. His work has appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, The Economist, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Rossen on July 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
After many years as project manager in product development, I embarked on two software development projects, a new area for me, and found that some of my management skills were not relevant. After the first project stumbled, I purchased several software project management books and, after working through them in a disciplined way (taking notes on salient points and scaling them on their helpfulness for my work) found this to be the best. It is comprehensive - perhaps a little too wordy at times - and packed with practical advice. The lists of questions which come up regularly in this book can be turned into management check lists. Scott Berkun's points anticipated many of the problems I have since encountered; I am now reading this book for the second time and noticing things that were missed on the first read. As my experience has grown, I have come to recognize the voice of greater experience speaking through this book. Recommended for novices and experienced software project managers.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Lars Bergstrom VINE VOICE on July 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scott does a great job in this book of providing well-organized, practically useful guidance on how to work on and run a project. Even if you're not actually in charge of a project, I'd recommend this as a book to help you understand what should be getting done on it. The three biggest areas he focuses on are how to ensure a project has proper focus and clear priorities, how to run meetings and do feature-level design, and how to handle a project as it moves from start to finish.

The key to proper focus and clear priorities is the tie between the mission, goals, features, and tasks in a project. Scott provides a great framework for tying them together, ensuring they're created, and ensuring the team understands them.

The advice on running meetings and doing feature-level design is the only area that might not work as well for those outside of Microsoft. While I highly identify with it, and think that he's clearly stated the best practices for our environment, your mileage may vary.

Finally, he does a great job of talking about the difference between the start, middle, and end-game. Many people try to use a single process throughout and either overburden the start of the project or allow the end-game to spin wildly out of control. Scott's very clear about how to apply the right level of touch and raise the process bar at safe but necessary increments as a project goes on.

The only negative thing I could find in the book is that some of the proofreading on the figures wasn't up to the same quality as the text. References to figures are sometimes pointing to the wrong one, and occasionally the legends are mislabeled.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Perhaps one of the reasons I am still doing engineering work rather than supervising it 26 years after I received my BSEE is that I could never properly wrap myself around exactly what it takes to manage a project. I therefore approached this book with a great deal of trepidation. However, after I began reading it I became pleasantly surprised. Most project management books I've read in the past intersperse advice on project management with software engineering techniques and Tony Robbins style motivational anecdotes. This one sticks to the subject and is well organized. The book is not about any one specific project management methodology, but about fundamental aspects of all projects. The author recounts his own experiences while managing projects at Microsoft to provide insight into the less transparent aspects of project management. The book is divided into three major sections: "Plans," "Skills," and "Management." This organization provides a logical flow overall and allows topics to build on one another. In spite of this logical progression, the chapters are fit for random access, as the author himself recommends. One of my favorite chapters was "Figuring Out What To Do". Here the author outlines three basic perspectives: The business perspective, the technology perspective and the customer perspective. The author states that although the customer perspective is the most important of all three that is the most neglected and is the reason that many projects fail.
The chapter "How Not To Annoy People: Process, Email, and Meeting" was another chapter I really enjoyed. It offers down-to-earth recommendations on dealing with annoying behavior which the author lists in five categories:
When others
1. assume you're an idiot.
2. don't trust you
3. waste your time
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wanderer on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
The subject of my review pretty much sums up how I feel about this book. After the first 100 pages, I thought to myself "I've gotten a handful of gems and a few good visuals, but did I need 100 pages to accomplish that?"

Seriously, that sums up my impression of the entire book. There is a LOT to be desired in terms of organization and it really feels like there's a lot of good information, but so poorly organized that it's hard to connect ideas. Several times per chapter, I find myself seeing references to how something will be better dealt with in further chapters. I have to ask myself why that happens constantly, and whether or not it says something about the organization of the book.

There also seems to be a tendency to wander away from central topics into tangents or only loosely related ideas. Very rarely does the author tie his thoughts back to what each particular chapter is about, or to a central idea. I have a hard time learning from books that are written this way. I have constantly found myself reading a paragraph in this book and thinking "Okay, but what does this have to do with the aspect of project management that this chapter is supposed to be about?" I tried very hard not to fall into that trap, but it kept happening.

I am an avid reading and an academic, so I know dry reading and I'm not saying that this is dry or anything like that. Quite the opposite, it's witty and fun to read in places. The thing that gets me so much is that it's poorly organized and poorly optimized. I find the author spends way too much time trying to say things and not nearly enough time relating them back to his main ideas.
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