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Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces Paperback – September 2, 2007
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From the Author
My dad was a welder, my brothers were both welders, and, if I had been born a boy, 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 an 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 GI Bill money to pay for college), where I learned to repair electronics equipment. And I spent ten years working at HP in various engineering and technical jobs, including one that involved a long stretch of explosion testing and other destructive testing of lovingly iii handcrafted 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 for three 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. In typical Silicon Valley style, I've helped to start, run, and grow about a dozen small businesses, some of which are still in business and profitable. My clients include Cisco Systems, Symantec, Intuit, HP, Agilent Technologies, Mazda, Daiichi Sankyo, Dow Corning Toray, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the University of California, Siemens, Hitachi, Alcoa, Xerox PARC, NECsoft, NTT DoCoMo, and many more.
More than half of my consulting work is with globalizing Japanese companies, and I've traveled to Japan over 100 times to deliver intensive workshops that 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 the people of the world. It's like a dream come true for me, and my experiences have ranged from hilarious to deeply moving.
In pursuit of planetary transformation, I'm contributing to making the world a better place in a number of ways. I'm the facilitator of the Sustainable Silicon Valley board of directors, and the founding co-chair of the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Special Interest Group (EL SIG). I'm supporting micro-finance for entrepreneurs throughout the world via Kiva, and I support the economic independence of women in various ways because I believe that this is the most effective way raise the quality of life for all people.
I am obsessed with collaboration, and you can reach me via email at email@example.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 :-).
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".Read more ›
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!
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.
10.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This light book is an excellent motivator for those of us in the trenches of leadership that have read volumes on project management and have forgotten a good chunk of it in the... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Mark
Very good and immediately useful tips for intuitive project management.Published 1 month ago by Roland Stone
I enjoyed reading this book . There are many real life examples given from the workplace. I liked learning what "scrappy" means-- being proactive, not being afraid to get... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I guess I'm too conservative for her "scrappy" writing style. Not only did I dislike the writing, there is no new information in here that you are not already doing. Read morePublished 13 months ago by LOL49
Scrappy Project Management is refreshingly honest and terrifyingly accurate. The exercises are fun and useful. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Lora Stone
Will not teach you about gant charts or how to pass PMP, but lots of good advice for how to sucessfully deliver projects in the real world.Published 19 months ago by A. J. Bennet
very helpful in dealing with project management topics..Published 21 months ago by Amin Akbarimonfared
Great intro to reality for beginner PMs. Loved the author's approach and view of Project Management!Published 22 months ago by Christopher D Bergman
Great book with some great practical tips on project management. Would recommend to anyone who has to lead or manage projects.Published 24 months ago by David G