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Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces Paperback – September 2, 2007

64 customer reviews

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Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces + The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management + A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK(R) Guide
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Put this spine on your bookshelf, or in your survival kit. This is THE resource for the power starved PMs who need to learn how to street fight for resources, deal with customer insanity, and dodge the falling rocks as you stay on top of everything. A fighting spirit and a confident strategy is the RETURN ON THIS INVESTMENT."
Michele Jackman, Michele Jackman Enterprises and Adventures, co-author of Star Teams, Players.

"If you want to build energy, velocity, and momentum toward an outrageous goal, Kimberly's Scrappy Project Management is just what you've been waiting for to help you get those results with more pleasant surprises and fewer disappointing shocks along the way."
Christine Comaford-Lynch, CEO of Mighty Ventures, author of Rules for Renegades

"This book unabashedly puts forward a new, unambiguous, non-shrinking, and ultimately empowering view of what we all as project managers should commit to be and do every day in our project roles."
Cinda Voegtli, CEO of Emprend, Inc. and President of

About the Author

Kimberly Wiefling is the founder of Wiefling Consulting, LLC, a scrappy enterprise enabling individuals, teams and organizations to achieve results that seem out of reach or nearly impossible through leadership and project management excellence. A physicist by education, she spent 10 years at HP in technical leadership and project management roles, then 5 years in the wild and crazy world of Silicon Valley start-ups before leading one to a glorious defeat during the dotcom bust of 2001. Vigorously scrappy, she reemerged, consulting on leadership and project management worldwide - from Armenia, to Tokyo, to the Silicon Valley. Kimberly is the executive editor of The Scrappy Guides(tm), a regular contributor to the "Project Connections" newsletter, (70,000+ subscribers weekly), and her radio show, "The Scrappy Dialogues(tm)", airs occasionally on, and she is the lead blogger at
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Happy About; 1st edition (September 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600050514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600050510
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi, I'm Kimberly Wiefling, founder and president of my own consulting business, executive editor of the Scrappy Guides, and the author of "Scrappy Project Management - The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces", growing in popularity around the world, and published in Japanese by Nikkei Business Press. I also published Scrappy Women in Business - Living Proof That Bending the Rules Isn't Breaking the Law, with 11 co-authors. The biggest compliment that anyone has ever paid me is that I am a "force of nature". Actually, I'm not sure they meant it in a positive way - they certainly could have been referring to destructive forces like hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and the like. Nevertheless, Mother Nature is one of my favorite gal pals, and I'm pleased to be associated with her in this way. My dad was a welder, my brothers were both welders, and if I had been born a buy I probably would have been a welder, too.

But, as luck would have it, I grew up in a time when girls weren't encouraged to be welders. So I went to college instead, earning a B.S. in chemistry and physics and a M.S. in physics. But don't be so quick to write me off, 'cause I've got marketable skills, too! For example, I earned a marksman's ribbon while in the U.S. Air Force right after high school (I used my G.I. Bill money to pay for college), where I learned to repair electronics equipment. And I spent 10 years working at HP in various engineering and technical jobs, including one which involved a long stretch of explosion testing and other destructive testing of lovingly hand-crafted one-of-a-kind R&D prototypes. (My motto was "When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed overnight - bring it to me!") I got bored with all of the stability and job security of HP, so I quit and joined a series of failed startups (not all my fault!) and then started my own consulting company during the dot-com bust of 2001, not exactly the most hospitable environment in which to launch a business. I lurched fitfully forward to 3 long years before my big break came - a chance to work in Japan with my Japanese "sister", Yuko Shibata of ALC Education, Inc. starting up their Global Management Consulting Group.

Now I do more than half of my consulting work in Japan, traveling there every month with a team of people who deliver intensive workshops, which enable participants to achieve what seems impossible but is merely difficult. (That's my specialty!) These global leaders emerge from these programs with new eyes to see the opportunities in which we are all swimming, a global mindset, and the determination to solve global problems profitably - for their companies, and for the sake of all people of the world. It's like a dream come true for me, and my experiences have ranged from hilarious to deeply moving.

I've been really lucky to live during a time when opportunities for women expanded greatly, and I've had the support of many scrappy gal pals along the way. I honestly believe I would have given up without their encouragement, and the guidance of the many mentors, both men and women, that I've enjoyed along the way. And if I've traveled farther than my sisters of previous generations, it's because they hacked out a path for me to make my journey easier, experiencing challenges I've never had to face, and bearing burdens that I can't even imagine. I can see my own future possibilities, and those of future generations of women, because I'm standing on their strong shoulders. I hope my books will be a fountain of inspiration from which millions of people will drink, and a platform from which they gain the courage to leap boldly into their own futures. Wooohooo! - Scrappy Kimberly

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Berkeley Tom on December 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Unlike other project management books which I left largely unread on my bookshelf, I enjoyed going through this book from cover to cover. It provided very practical advice that are compact and to the point: focus on the customer, plan, communicate widely and often, prioritize, celebrate success, ...

What's great about this book is the style in which it's delivered. The real world stories, annecdotes, famous quotes and the author's unique sense of humor to illustrate the points and make them more memorable. E.g., on the need for clear goals: "When I was young, I always wanted to BE somebody when I grew up. I just wish I'd been more specific." (Lily Tomlin); on the need to prioritize: "What to do if you must choose between your heart, your lungs, and your kidneys?"; on the gap between knowledge and action: "Common Sense is NOT common practice"; and on keeping a positive attitude: "Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." (Winston Churchill).

The book also provides a set of checklists, sample diagrams and templates to be used in managing the project and communicating with the team and executives. I find the use of ranges for time estimates particularly useful, since it reflects the uncertain nature of project estimates a bit more accurately than a single number.

While this book isn't the most comprehensive project management book, it does cover the major points to help achieve success. If you're a team lead, project or functional manager, this book will arm you with valuable insights and motivate you to avoid common and deadly project pitfalls. I only wished I had followed many of the advice in the book. It's too late for me, but you can still save yourself by reading and following it :-).
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. Burdette on October 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Kimberly Wiefling's Scrappy Project Management isn't just a text with a list of must-dos for project methodology; it's a blueprint for high-end corporate capital-L Leadership. I don't know if it's her knowledge of the scientific method (Wiefling is a trained physicist), her unflinching honesty, or her sense of humor, but she combines relevant and powerful insights about fearless project leadership that even a seasoned--or world weary--project manager needs.

Unlike most project management books, Scrappy Project Management is immensely readable. It's funny and edgy; more than one analogy made me literally laugh aloud. It's concise and easy to read, but not fluffy. More importantly, though, Wiefling's methods are supported by numerous concrete examples, not just vague buzzwords or motivational clichés like we've all heard before. There's solid irrefutable documentation of her assertions about marketing, product development, science, engineering, and organizational psychology.

You certainly don't need an MBA to understand or glean important concepts from Scrappy Project Management, but it's easy to see how formal business training would be acutely enhanced by certain chapters, specifically the ones on risk management, shareholder expectations, and project changes.

Wiefling's unabashed honesty doesn't sugarcoat perhaps the most important fact that I've never seen in any other book: "the role of a project leader cannot be successfully filled by anyone who can't put his or her job on the line in pursuit of doing the right thing." Notice that she doesn't say "in pursuit of getting the product shipped".
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By KK on November 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of working with Kimberly for about a year and a half. She was my project management mentor, and I miss her guidance and inspiration dearly. This book is the next best thing - a dose of Kimberly in my pocket. I pull it out when I need a shot of reality fed to me with a healthy helping of humor, and it gets me back in the game.

My copy of this book is underlined and highlighted, the corners are folded down, and I have post it notes sticking out every which way. For a short book, it sure has a lot packed into it, and surprise, surprise - it's information I can actually use! I suppose that's why it's sitting on my desk next to my computer, and not sleeping on my shelf. Thanks Kimberly!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scrappy Project Management - The 12 Predictable Pitfalls Every Project Faces is worthy of being on every project managers bookshelf. It always pays dividends to get the perspective of other seasoned project managers because there is more than one right way to do project management. The author's perspective is refreshing and insightful.

The biggest compliment I have about this book is that it is not an academic book. It is a book intended for practitioners of the project management craft written by a practitioner. I like books that provide the kind of advice a mentor would give you over a cup of coffee and Scrappy Project Management fits that mode.

My top ten take-aways from Scrappy Project Management

1. The very people who are supposed to be leading often abdicate responsibility in mediocre organizations.

2. Make your own team organization chart.

3. There are many people passing themselves off as project leaders when they are just occupying the position and not willing to take a stand and do the right thing.

4. Learn to love the tunnel. There is no such thing as a light at the end of the tunnel.

5. When tracking changes in action item due dates never change the original dates. Just mark through them.

5.5 Track changes to the project.

6. Humans are bad estimators and bottom up scheduling methods pay to little attention to handoffs and integration points.

7. Pre-emptive pessimism. People tend to assume something is impossible if it is very difficult.

8. Never reward firefighters.

9. Happiness is relative. You must do a good job of setting expectations.

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