Ex Libris Kirkland

Buy it from Amazon

Subtitle Controlling a Project when the Team Doesn't Report to You
First Written 2006
Genre Business
Origin Dronesville
Publisher AMACOM
ISBN-10 0814473431
ISBN-13 978-0814473436
My Copy borrowed paperback
First Read June 09, 2010

Results Without Authority

OK, here are my real notes on this book.

RWA gives an overview and very specific guidelines for making large-scale projects go well when you aren't directly in control of the team members. It's 100% targeted towards big corporations - every example he uses comes from a big oldish company: IBM, Monsanto, DuPont, Accenture. Kendrick himself is from Hewlett-Packard.

The first section defines basic models for controlling a project: by defining a well-structured process, by influencing the team, and by rigorous metrics that analyze whether the project is (or can be) on track.

After that he goes through the basic lifecycle of a huge project, with detailed suggestions for each stage. As a person who maps out projects for my team, I found good concrete tips in the early stages. I especially like his concept of the "Is / Is Not" list: rather than having stakeholders define a project into 'needs' and 'wants,' you get them to redefine needs into things the project IS, and wants as things the project IS NOT. This forces stakeholders to take their requirements seriously, and face up to the realities of time constraints and costs.

Noted on June 10, 2010

This super-dry business management book was a selection of my small-business-dude book club BBTB (Better Business Through Beer). As a small business owner and art major I don't identify well with the travails of project managers at large corporations, but I braved this book anyway.

And whew. It is so, so, so boring. It's full of useful information, and stuff I can really apply to my small biz (I often work on projects I don't have full authority over), but it is very, very dry.

One more artist complaint: the book's titles and 'real world examples' are set in a font I love to hate: Rotis. Feel free to google that if you're in the mood for punishment.

Kendrick slips in a few quiet little jokes, which struck me as pretty funny but maybe only funny by comparison. See the quotes below for samples.

Noted on June 10, 2010

Be unpredictable and spontaneous. If being inconsistent isn't natural for you, leave yourself reminders if necessary.

Quoted on June 10, 2010

Dressing neatly and similarly to those in your organization who have the same amount of formal authority that you would like to have will help close the gap between their influence and yours substantially. If you are male, it might mean wearing a suit or at least a tie if you work in the northeastern United States, or wearing a clean T-shirt with no holes in it if you live in Silicon Valley.

Quoted on June 10, 2010

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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