O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide, Fourth Edition

Book Description

Succeed as a project manager, even if you’ve never run a project before! This book is the fastest way to master every project management task, from upfront budgeting and scheduling through execution, managing teams through closing projects, and learning from experience. Updated with more insights from the front lines, including agile approaches, dealing with security and privacy priorities, and leading remote/virtual teams, along with the latest on Microsoft Project and PMI standards and certifications and a special bonus chapter on preparing for the PMP certification. This book will show you exactly how to get the job done, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time. Project management has never, ever been this simple!


Who knew how simple project management could be?


This is today’s best beginner’s guide to modern project management… simple, practical instructions for succeeding with every task you’ll need to perform! Here’s a small sample of what you’ll learn:


• Master the key skills and qualities every project manager needs

• Lead projects, don’t just “manage” them

• Avoid 15 most common mistakes new project managers make

• Learn from troubled, successful, and “recovered” projects

• Set the stage for success by effectively defining your project

• Build a usable project plan and an accurate work breakdown structure (WBS)

• Create budgets and schedules that help you manage risk

• Use powerful control and reporting techniques, including earned value management

• Smoothly manage project changes, issues, risks, deliverables, and quality

• Manage project communications and stakeholder expectations

• Organize and lead high-performance project teams

• Manage cross-functional, cross-cultural, and virtual projects

• Work successfully with vendors and Project Management Offices

• Make the most of Microsoft Project and new web-based alternatives

• Get started with agile and “critical chain” project management

• Gain key insights that will accelerate your learning curve

• Know how to respond to real-life situations, not just what they teach you in school

Table of Contents

  1. About This E-Book
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. About the Author
  5. Dedication
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. We Want to Hear from You!
  8. Reader Services
  9. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Who Should Read This Book?
    3. How This Book Is Organized
    4. What’s New in This Edition
    5. Conventions Used in This Book
  10. Part I: Project Management Jumpstart
    1. 1. Project Management Overview
      1. What Is Project Management...Exactly?
        1. What Is a Project Exactly?
        2. Managing Projects
        3. An Academic Look
      2. What Is the Value of Project Management?
      3. Why Are Projects Challenging?
      4. Growing Demand for Effective Project Managers
      5. Trends in Project Management
      6. Additional Resources
    2. 2. The Project Manager
      1. One Title, Many Roles
      2. Key Skills of Project Managers
      3. Qualities of Successful Project Managers
      4. 15 Common Mistakes of Project Managers
    3. 3. Essential Elements for Any Successful Project
      1. What Exactly Is a Successful Project?
      2. Learning from Troubled Projects
      3. Learning from Successful Projects
      4. Essential Project Manager Toolkit
  11. Part II: Project Planning
    1. 4. Defining a Project
      1. Setting the Stage for Success
      2. How Does Defining a Project Relate to Project Planning?
      3. Project Definition Document
        1. Required Elements
        2. Additional Elements to Consider
      4. Project Definition Checklist
        1. General
        2. Scope
        3. Stakeholders
        4. Project Approach
        5. Other
        6. Acceptance
    2. 5. Planning a Project
      1. Key Project Planning Principles
      2. Important Questions Project Planning Should Answer
      3. Building a Project Plan
      4. Summary of Supplemental Project Plan Components
      5. Project Plan Checklist
    3. 6. Developing the Work Breakdown Structure
      1. What Exactly Is a WBS?
        1. Isn’t WBS Just Another Name for the Project Schedule?
        2. Key Differences Between the WBS and the Project Schedule
        3. Different Types of Breakdown Structures
      2. Why Is the WBS Important?
      3. The Process of Building a WBS
        1. Getting Started
        2. Guidelines for Effective WBS
        3. Knowing When to Stop
    4. 7. Estimating the Work
      1. Next Step in the Schedule Development Process
      2. Managing the Risk, Managing the Estimates
      3. Reasons for Estimating Woes
      4. Powerful Estimating Techniques and Methods
      5. Best Practices
    5. 8. Developing the Project Schedule
      1. The Impact of the Project Schedule
      2. The Goal of the Schedule Development Process
      3. Key Inputs for Building a Schedule
      4. Creating a Schedule
        1. Determining Task Relationships (Sequencing the Work)
        2. Building the Preliminary Schedule
        3. Perform Reality Check
        4. Shorten the Schedule
        5. Walk Through the Schedule
        6. Presenting the Schedule
    6. 9. Determining the Project Budget
      1. The Impact of the Project Budget
      2. Principles of an Effective Budget
      3. Creating a Project Budget
        1. Sources of Project Costs
        2. Developing an Initial Budget
        3. Finalizing a Budget
      4. Common Budget Challenges
  12. Part III: Project Control
    1. 10. Controlling a Project
      1. What Is Project Control?
        1. PDA: The Principles of Project Control
        2. Components of Project Control
      2. Management Fundamentals for Project Control
      3. Powerful Techniques for Project Control
      4. Performance Reporting
      5. Variance Responses
      6. Leveraging Earned Value Management Concepts
      7. Common Project Control Challenges
      8. Lessons from Project Recoveries
    2. 11. Managing Project Changes
      1. What Exactly Is a Project Change and What’s the Big Deal, Anyway?
        1. Project Change Types—More Than Scope
        2. Relation to Configuration Management and Organizational Change Management
      2. Fundamentals for Managing Project Change
      3. What Causes Unplanned Scope Changes?
      4. Essential Elements of a Project Change Control System
        1. Principles
        2. Guidelines
        3. Components
      5. Powerful Techniques for Minimizing Project Changes
      6. Common Project Change Control Challenges
    3. 12. Managing Project Deliverables
      1. “Managing Project Deliverables” Means What, Exactly?
      2. Why Do This? It’s Too Much Work
      3. Identify, Protect, and Track: The Principles of Managing Work Products
      4. Best Practices
      5. Configuration Management Plan
      6. Common Challenges and Pitfalls
    4. 13. Managing Project Issues
      1. The Goals, Objectives, and Principles of Project Issue Management
      2. Key Features of Issue Management Systems
      3. Options for Issue Log
      4. Best Practices
      5. Some Special Situations
    5. 14. Managing Project Risks
      1. Key Risk Management Principles
      2. The Essential Process for Managing Project Risks
        1. Risk Response Options
        2. Key Risk Management Tools
      3. The Common Sources of Project Risk
      4. Typical Problems
      5. Powerful Risk Control Strategies
      6. Are You Sure It’s a Risk?
    6. 15. Managing Project Quality
      1. What Is “Project Quality”?
      2. Unique Aspects of Managing Project Quality
      3. Principles of Managing Project Quality
      4. Powerful Tools and Techniques for Project Quality
      5. Powerful Quality Strategies
      6. Typical Quality-Related Challenges
  13. Part IV: Project Execution
    1. 16. Leading a Project
      1. More Than Managing
      2. Where Is Leadership Needed on a Project?
      3. Twelve Keys to Better Project Leadership
      4. Power of Servant Leadership Approach
    2. 17. Managing Project Communications
      1. What Are Project Communications?
      2. The Importance of Project Communications
      3. Why Communicating Can Be Tough
      4. Seven Powerful Principles
      5. Best Practices of Effective Project Communicators
        1. General Communications Management
        2. Communications Options
        3. Tips for Email (and Other Text-Only) Communications
        4. Status Reporting
        5. Meetings
        6. Interpersonal Skills
    3. 18. Managing Expectations
      1. Value of Reviewing Stakeholder Expectation Management
      2. Critical Aspects of Expectations
        1. Balancing Reality and Perception
        2. Not Just Scope Management
      3. Seven Master Principles of Expectation Management
      4. Essential Elements of Managing Expectations
        1. Project Planning and Control Elements—A Quick Review
        2. Leveraging Kickoff Meetings
        3. Requirements Management—The Difference Maker
    4. 19. Keys to Better Project Team Performance
      1. High-Performing Teams
      2. Ten Key Management Principles
      3. Proven Techniques for Better Team Performance
      4. Special Situations
    5. 20. Managing Differences
      1. Five Key Principles
      2. Proven Techniques for Leading Cross-Functional Projects
      3. Proven Techniques for Leading Cross-Cultural Projects
      4. Proven Techniques for Leading Virtual Projects
    6. 21. Managing Vendors
      1. First, Let’s Clarify a Few Terms
      2. Ten Proven Principles of Vendor Management
      3. Twelve Tips for Buyers
      4. Seven Tips for Sellers
      5. Twelve Key Project Management Skills for Better Vendor Management
      6. Stuff You Need to Know About Contracts
        1. Conditions for a Legal Contract
        2. Key Contract Elements
        3. Primary Contract Types
        4. The Impact of Each Contract Type
    7. 22. Ending a Project
      1. Three Key Principles
      2. Project End Checklist: 13 Important Steps
      3. Common Project Closing Challenges
      4. Methods for Ending a Contract or a Project
        1. Terminating a Contract
        2. Terminating a Project
  14. Part V: Accelerating the Learning Curve...Even More
    1. 23. Making Better Use of Microsoft Project
      1. Understand This...and It All Becomes Easier
      2. Need-to-Know Features
      3. New Project Best Practices
      4. Keys to Making Resource Leveling Work
      5. Powerful Reporting Secrets
      6. More Insights to a Better Project Schedule
      7. Project 2010—The Game Changer
      8. What Do I Need to Know About Project 2013, Project 2016, Project Online, and Office 365 Planner?
        1. Project Online
        2. Project 2013
        3. Project 2016
        4. Office 365 Planner
    2. 24. When Reality Happens
      1. What If I’m in a Project Management “Lite” Culture?
      2. What If I Can’t Develop a Detailed Schedule?
      3. What If I Must Manage to a Hard Milestone Date?
      4. What If I Have Difficult Resources?
      5. What Can I Do About Turnover?
      6. Tips for Managing a Selection Process
      7. Tips for Managing a Testing Process
    3. 25. The Fun Never Stops
      1. Agile Approaches
      2. HIPAA, Privacy, and Security
      3. Project Management Offices
        1. Traits of Successful PMOs
      4. Portfolio Project Management
      5. Governance Processes
      6. Critical Chain Project Management
      7. Web-Based Project Management and Collaboration Tools
      8. Requirements Management Tools
      9. Mind Mapping Tools
      10. Value of Certifications
      11. Project Management Training
    4. 26. Powerful PMP Exam Tips
      1. Common “Context” Differences
      2. Common “Experience” Differences
      3. Common Terminology Differences
      4. What’s Important to PMI?
      5. Key PMI Assumptions and Themes
      6. What Is the PMP Exam Like?
      7. Exam Topics Not Covered by PMBOK
      8. Exam Preparation Strategies
      9. Exam-Taking Tips
  15. Index