It is extremely unusual for me to pick up a 'management book' involuntarily. I think I lost that particular desire when I did my MBA in the nineties. However, occasionally there is a need to acquire additional information or background knowledge. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up Peter Taylor's book one Sunday afternoon, knowing that I'd promised a review. I finished it later that day, having only put it down for a meal. I really, really enjoyed it. I've read a number of the 'jokey' type of management books over the years; those that have catchy titles, and purport to be a fun read, yet seem to be. This time I was pleasantly surprised that the book not only caught and kept my attention, but that it did it in a very enjoyable, easily absorbed way. Peter's use of analogies and stories is where I found some of the value. The remainder of the value came in the real content of the book. Over the years as a project / programme management consultant, lecturer, teacher and practitioner, I've built up a pretty good education about how to manage change into organisations through projects. I cannot find fault with any of Peter's recommendations - especially the bit about being lazy! Peter has been able to enrich the content by using his stories and analogies to make a number of points, all of them common sense; even things like "it is important to separate the important from the immediate" (my words not his - you find his analogy in the book). One of the analogies that Peter uses, almost from the outset, is that of a dinosaur - in fact a brontosaurus. "I'm sure you know the one, thin at the front, thick in the middle, then thin at the other end." Well, Peter modifies the analogy a bit by saying that projects should be thick at the front, thin in the middle and thick at the other end again. The thickness of the project shape represents the amount of effort or work that needs to be done at that stage of the project. The corollary is: initiate well, compensating for difficulties, be lazy in the middle because a well organised project can run on its own like a well oiled machine if initiated well, then put some effort into finishing with real enthusiasm, helping all the stakeholders realise how well it has gone, and what a wonderful result we have. Organising your project in this fashion allows you to apply the principles of being a lazy project manager - and still be successful. That is really what it is all about. Don't forget, this is not about just being lazy and not doing the job - this is being lazy, and being successful as well. Do the job, but do the job in the most intelligent way you can, so that you can be lazy when you can. That is my kind of project management. The other bits that are interspersed throughout the book are about how to achieve the above by using a great deal of common sense. Peter's book made this entertaining, yet useful for me. - Reviewed by John Zachar, Product Development Manager with the APM. John has previously written for both Tipoffs and How to Manage a Camel, and would love to hear your feedback. Feel free to contact John with your thoughts about The Lazy Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. This review is the work of Mr Zachar and is no way connected to any views, beliefs or opinions of the APM.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
The lazy project manager illustrates how anyone can apply the simple techniques of lazy project management in their own activities in order to work more effectively and consequently improve work-life balance. This 'productive laziness' approach builds on the Pareto principle that states that for many phenomena, 80 per cent of consequences stem from 20 per cent of the causes. To put it simply, only 20 per cent of the things people do during their working days really matter. Inside this book readers can discover:
In addition, the author provides some interesting (and entertaining) things about eating dinosaurs, wearing ermine cloaks, and how to spot a psychopathic woman at a funeral. Also find out why you should never go ballooning, how to deliver a good Oscar acceptance speech, and why it is important for your team that you read the newspaper each morning. And yes, you may also learn some, quick, simple but important things about project management.
- The intelligence of laziness - why smart, lazy people have the edge over others;
Why the Jungle Book's 'Bare Necessities' should be the productive lazy theme tune;
How to get the maximum output for a minimised input;
Quick tips to productive lazy heaven.