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The Rational Project Manager: A Thinking Team's Guide to Getting Work Done Hardcover – Apr 15 2005


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From the Inside Flap

In today's increasingly complex business environment, more and more of the work companies do is done in the form of projects. To be profitable and successful, an organization's projects must be completed on time and on budget, while also meeting its goals. As a result, the art of project management has become increasingly vital to businesses everywhere.

In the tradition of the phenomenal business bestseller The Rational Manager, this comprehensive guide explores and explains the rationale, processes, and tools of successful project management. While The Rational Project Manager covers the nuts and bolts of the discipline, it also offers a unique concentration on the logic and thought processes necessary for successful project completion.

Senior consultants from Kepner-Tregoe, the consultancy whose founders revolutionized organizational problem solving and decision making in The Rational Manager, authors Andrew Longman and Jim Mullins provide one-of-a-kind guidance on problem solving and decision making in project management. Contrary to the litany of excuses heard when projects fail—from "we didn't have enough time," to "we didn't have good enough people"—the majority of failed projects are the result of poor planning and poor critical thinking. That's why this book provides such a heavy focus on the vital skills of communication and problem solving.

The authors divide project management into three stages—definition, planning, and implementation—exploring each stage in depth and showing project managers and contributors how to apply concepts and avoid common mistakes. Setting aside theoretical exploration, complex formulas, and software-as-savior cure-alls, The Rational Project Manager focuses on the fundamentals of why projects fail and offers a proven methodology for making sure they don't.

Practical, straightforward, and comprehensive, this one-of-a-kind resource is the bible for project managers everywhere. Offering unsurpassed insight on the methodology and critical-thinking skills that form the cornerstone of any successful project, The Rational Project Manager helps get work done.

From the Back Cover

The Rational Project Manager

"Change for business today is not a spectator sport. Translating strategic vision into bottom-line results requires discipline, execution, and participation—a theme that resonates throughout The Rational Project Manager. Longman and Mullins present a commonsense approach to executing against opportunities that is grounded in logic and resourcefulness."
—George W. Buckley Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brunswick Corporation

"The Rational Project Manager provides much-needed insights and tools for leaders at all levels. The bane of any leader's worklife is those initiatives that lack focus, engender poor decision making, and are misaligned with organizational culture and goals. Given the ambiguity, complexity, and change that are the new baseline assumptions in the workplace, The Rational Project Manager's simple, flexible approach fills an important gap overlooked by most books on the subject."
—Steve Schloss Vice President, Human Resources Time Inc.

"The Rational Project Manager does a terrific job of dealing with both the art and discipline of project management. It focuses on the critical thinking that is essential to project success and also provides a wide array of tools and techniques for driving up performance."
—John Case President and Chief Executive Officer Electrolux Home Care Products North America

"Significant projects frequently are planned and executed by cross-functional teams of people who don't normally work together. For a project to be completed successfully, the team and each team member must quickly develop both goal and role clarity. Kepner-Tregoe's rational process tools, including the project management tools well described in this book, have been critical to improving my organization's ability to execute projects and have become a core part of our culture."
—Ray Baxter President and Chief Executive Officer Interbake Foods LLC

"Half the trouble in modern life comes from ambitious projects gone awry. Some were not thought-through before they were embarked on. Others started with good intentions but fell apart when their leaders could not adapt to changing circumstances or keep their team moving toward the proper goal. The sensible principles laid out in this clear and useful book would go a long way toward making both public and private organizations more effective. Personally, I'd start by passing out copies throughout the U.S. government."
—James Fallows National Correspondent The Atlantic Monthly


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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A refreshing reference to Project Management Aug. 28 2005
By Jason K. M. Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I must say that this book is indeed refreshing for me, especially after years of re-applying and re-understanding Kepner-Tregoe's methodologies in Project Management (PM), as well as, Problem-Solving & Decision Making (PSDM). For those who have undergone Kepner-Tregoe's workshops in PM and PSDM, this book together with "The New Rational Manager" are essential "re-iterative" references for anyone embarking on improving their PM and PSDM knowledge and experiences. These books are undoubtedly important to have on your bookshelf in the workplace that can be referred to over and over again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highly useful and readable. Dec 13 2014
By Trish (I read too much!) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A useful introduction to project management with plenty of tips and examples. I was lucky that my company had an extra one of these on hand when I was assigned a project to lead. Going into it with only experiences as a participant, I really had little idea where to start. Having finished this book, I feel much better. Sure, it doesn't replace training and education for project management, but it is hugely helpful just the same.

I think one of the things I like about this is the ease of the read. It's written in conversational language and the examples follow one project, so we get a good picture of how the tools are used and how they would be reflected in a real-life scenario. Some of it can be immediately put to use on a project, while other things highlighted where I might want to find a mentor or formal training. That, in itself provides value. The book has helped me learn the language of projects and ask coherent, targeted questions of those more experienced.

I probably would have skipped the last chapter if I didn't want this to count towards my book reading goal for this year. It's mostly advice on how to make project management a goal and a standard in one's organization, and it came off a bit like an advertisement (though with useful tips). As a novice project manager, it was a bit beyond what I needed. Also, some of the information and advice in the book seemed overwhelming. It wasn't until the final chapters where the book finally said that sometimes it isn't necessary to do it all. All this after presenting a very solid case for everything it contains.

Still, the strategies are sound and I am one who prefers to know my options before I decide on them. I feel better equipped to tackle projects and more confident as well. I would recommend this book to anyone just starting out in project management. It's a great place to start. I would like to attend some formal KT Project Management training, and I think I'll have an easier time of it when I do because I have read this.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
managing projects in Special Collections May 24 2005
By S. E. Szmuk Tanenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am now retired, but I wish that during my 27-year career as a university librarian I had had a guide like The Rational Project Manager to see me through the many complex projects I was responsible for carrying out. When moving special collections or setting up a preservation lab, my team and I would have benefited enormously from having a clear, easy to follow process for managing important projects.

Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Stay Away Nov. 22 2007
By Jeffrey Ned Shamon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am mad at being misled into purchasing this book! Why? 1) It provides bad PM Guidance. 2) Its promotional notes are misleading.

1) Bad PM Guidance: This short (and often repetitive) book uses one overriding project example throughout to illustrate its points--an office move for an organization. At the book's outset, the project team learns it has to complete its project within three months and under $170k. From there the book tells the reader that the project team then starts to define the project scope and estimate the work. Huh??? The book has assigned a project with its duration and cost budget determined BEFORE the project team has estimated what it is going to take? New PM's, if you follow this path start looking for a new career. What if there aren't enough staff to do the work in three months? Ever? What if there are no movers able to work within your $170k budget? (The authors better not plead that this defective example is constrained by length of the book. They're the ones who wrote and packaged this `book' to be so very brief. It looks like it was composed over a long weekend. A little more time developing a RESPONSIBLE book could have easily avoided this egregious advice.)

2) Misleading Promotional Notes: Inside jacket reads, "...offers a unique concentration on the logic and thought processes necessary for successful project completion." Notwithstanding the overriding flaw cited in #1, there are no UNIQUE logic and thought processes. No, it doesn't. This is very basic PM stuff here, e.g. seek out expert advice, get buy-in from many stakeholders. Right. Thanks a lot. And the endorsements on its back cover from corporate executives, what book are they referencing? These CXO's can't really be impressed with this half baked prose. Rather, their endorsements must be just quid-pro-quo's for past or future endorsements for their books.


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