When I joined the projects department of Shell Mex and BP, I was given a manual titled ‘Policy Guide.’ Naturally on the first project I was responsible for, I followed the policy religiously. Nevertheless, I was called into my boss's office and rapped over the knuckles and told: “For heaven's sake use your imagination – it's only a guide.” Sometime later, on a major project, I had the vehicle maintenance facilities for road tankers redesigned. However, this had consequences for all the other similar projects that were being carried out at the same time. Not surprisingly I was called into the boss's office again, who banged the table and stated firmly “That's the policy!” I have always thought that this was brilliant. The skill of project management is deciding when to follow policy and when to do things differently. Consequently, this book is a policy guide. It may be good policy to follow the theoretical reasoning that is included, but the checklists will provide a guide to a practical approach.

This book is designed to help project managers achieve success. Its purpose is, to make project management ‘boring.’ The thesis is that if your project is exciting, then it is in trouble. The book should help experienced project managers as well as those with less experience. Nevertheless, I shall never forget the one occasion (and the only one!) during my career as a practicing project manager when, to my surprise, I found that I had nothing to do. So, I decided to ...

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