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eXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles, and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility 1st Edition

20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787974091
ISBN-10: 0787974099
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Editorial Reviews


“A wake-up call for the project management establishment.”
--Wayne G. Dix, PMP, AXA Financial

“Inspiration for all of us in the project management profession.”
--Wes Balakian, PMP, chairman and executive advisor, PMI E-Business SIG; and President, TSI

"Not simply a book. It is a mind-expanding experience!"
--Gary R. Heerkens, PMP, CPM, CBM, PE, president, Management Solutions Group, Inc.

“A profoundly thoughtful and useful approach to managing the chaotic projects of our time.”
--Ed Mahler, PMP, president, Project Administration Institute; and president, PMI Westchester, New York, chapter

“A much-awaited alternative to traditional project management.”
--Lauri Koskela, professor, the University of Salford

“Concrete tools for when traditional project management approaches aren't cutting it."
--Victoria Tucker, president, Zero Boundary Inc.

“Doug shows us how to rise above chaos and ambiguity and to achieve results without driving ourselves mad in the process!"
--John J. Turanin, vice president, corporate planning and program management, Aradigm Corporation

“Belongs front and center on our desks where we can use it on a daily basis.”
--William Jacobson, director, project management, Wyeth Research

“A paradigm shift. Universally applicable, beneficial for all projects. Refreshing and delightful.”
--Randall L. Englund, author, Creating an Environment for Successful Projects

“A strong dose of reality and a long-awaited perspective.”
--Jim McDonough, Ph.D., PMP, senior research scientist, Eli Lilly and Company

“Doug DeCarlo adds power and insight to the growing effort to reform project management.”
--Gregory Howell, PE, Lean Project Consulting

“Doug DeCarlo is leading those of us in the IS/IT profession into a new and much-needed arena of speed, yet high-quality systems development.”
--Joan Knutson, PM, Guru Unlimited

“An approach that will greatly increase chances of successfully delivering business value.”
--John Thorp, president, The Thorp Network Inc.; and author, The Information Paradox

“I highly recommend this book to anyone facing challenging projects."
--Zed Day, CIO, University of Kentucky Medical Center

From the Inside Flap

Today’s new breed, eXtreme projects are different. They feature high speed, high change, high complexity, high risk, and high stress. While traditional projects follow the classic model of ready—aim—fire, eXtreme project managers succeed by shooting the gun and then redirecting the bullet while not losing sight of their moving target.

eXtreme Project Management provides a practical guide for leaders working under high risk and high pressure while producing the desired bottom-line results. Based on Doug DeCarlo’s extensive experience in working with more than 250 project teams, his eXtreme project management model is built around an integrated set of principles, values, skills, tools, and practices proven to consistently work under conditions of rapid change and uncertainty.

eXtreme project management is based on the premise that you don’t manage the unknown the same way you manage the known. It’s a people-centric approach to high performance that makes quality of life a fundamental part of the project venture.

Throughout the book, eXtreme Project Management shows project managers, sponsors, and executives how to keep projects in control and deliver business value in the face of volatility by

  • Developing a change-tolerant, quantum mind-set
  • Applying principles of self-mastery
  • Gaining and sustaining commitment to the project mission
  • Unleashing motivation and innovation
  • Establishing trust and confidence
  • Implementing a flexible project management model
  • Establishing a real-time communications infrastructure
  • Minimizing bureaucracy
  • Improving organizational agility

eXtreme project management is a dynamic and exhilarating model for any kind of project that features high doses of speed and volatility, and where failure is not an option.

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787974099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787974091
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frank Mangini on June 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What DeCarlo describes is not in any way an extreme project management approach but a common sense process of dealing with the insanity of the expectations for many contemporary projects. DeCarlo has great insight and sound advice on how people and processes must adapt to the business and technical requirements of modern projects.

Unfortunately, he overly chides and unceremoniously puts down the traditional "Newtonians" and their traditional planning and change aversion but somewhat begrudgingly recognizes their proper place in the long history and wide spectrum of projects, i.e., "you don't use eXtreme project management to shutdown a nuclear power plant for maintenance."

I think DeCarlo could have make his points without some of the denigrating remarks about traditional project management and managers, particularly, PMPs. He is certainly not unique with this tact among other non-traditional project management authors in the agile software development camp. Leading both traditional and extreme projects and even some which have both concurrent elements, I have found projects dictate their own approach as DeCarlo suggests in the final chapter.

His section on leadership and self-mastery is the keystone and guiding light of the book, a book which DeCarlo confesses is not about project management but about making a difference in an eXtreme world. This section alone is worth the price of the book. This book is really about leading people not managing projects.

One disappointment is DeCarlo's simplified two step prescription for the organizational transition from the traditional to the eXtreme process. He seems to abandon his own protocol on how to plan and execute the transition which should be the first eXtreme project to be undertaken.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Aucoin on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you work on projects in the real world, you probably know that most have aggressive schedules, fuzzy and changing requirements, inadequate resources and stressed out teams. For many such projects, conventional project management techniques are inadequate and miss the point.

eXtreme Project Management provides a sorely needed framework to deal with and conquer the project workplace as it really is, not as we might wish it to be. While the book may challenge conventional thinking, its principles and tools are common-sense and flow naturally. This book is an innovative breath of fresh air in the demanding world of project management.

One metaphor from the book strikes me as representative of its significant value. Conventional projects lend themselves to conventional management techniques, as classical music lends itself to a specific score and direction by a conductor. However, most workplace projects are more like jazz pieces performed by ensembles that improvise on a theme, and perhaps even change themes many times in a song. The big problem in the project workplace is that conventional project management tries to force these jazz pieces into a written score that is driven by the conductor. In the middle of the performance, the customer, the marketplace and the technology have all changed into different keys, melodies and tempos and left the orchestra in a state of chaos. It is better to learn to perform, to embrace and to enjoy the jazz project from the start - eXtreme Project Management is the guide to do just that!

Doug DeCarlo's book provides the mindset as well as the principles and toolkit needed for success and sanity in the often crazy world of projects. As someone who has managed technical projects for over 25 years, I have experienced that DeCarlo's approach really works when conventional techniques fail.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Deanna Burghart on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
eXtreme Project Management has been extremely helpful to me as a functional (rather than titled) project manager. Though the book as a whole provides a wealth of material that is worth reading straight through, desperate PMs like myself can get immediate coaching on coping with fast-paced, no-failure-allowed projects in several small doses throughout. Chapter 2, The eXtreme Model for Success, coaches the reader through the necessary change in mindset for PMs heading up projects that demand measurable success on short deadlines, and managing the inevitable crazy requirements changes. Chapter 8's Flexible Project Model is an invaluable resource for making sure all the bases are covered, and would make an excellent candidate for a blow-up wall poster. Case studies throughout illustrate Doug's principles of project management in action.

In extreme project management, "Failure is not an option. Speed, innovation, and profitability count. Bureaucracy is to be avoided. Quality of life is important." eXtreme Project Management addresses all of those needs, always focused on the ultimate goal of getting it all done and making the customer happy.

This isn't your father's project management. Then again, these aren't your father's projects.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chuck on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is different from the many books on my bookshelf around the topic of project management. I found this book to be interesting reading, in contrast to the same-old-stuff in most other books, much of which does not really work.

I consult in the area of project management, and my interest is in things that work and are actually useful in the business world. Doug DeCarlo bases his project management model on the dynamics of what motivates people rather than on the mechanics of traditional bricks and mortar project management. Most of us who have managed significant projects inevitably come to realize it is all about people (thus in this regard I disagree with Thomas Connell's view in a prior review), and the author acknowledges that by the breadth his book covers in this regard.

I find this book to add value in the field of project management. At first read I found many things that are immediately useful. In my view, this book is useful both to pick up "tips", as well as for the "infrastructure" it lays out. It's got actionable information in it for beginners through seasoned, professional project managers. I have to go back and read it again. In the meantime, I plan to use it as a reference tool.
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