Information Technology Project Management, Fourth Paperback – Mar 15 2005
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About the Author
As a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Dr. Kathy Schwalbe teaches courses in project management, problem solving for business, systems analysis and design, information systems projects, and strategic technology. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, where she taught a graduate-level course in project management in the engineering department. A frequently requested speaker and consultant, Dr. Schwalbe provides training and consulting services to numerous organizations and addresses professionals at several conferences each year.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The structure of the book follows the nine Project Management Knowledge Areas introduced in Chapter 1: Management of Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Risk, and Procurement. Each knowledge area receives a detailed chapter of its own (which, in a few places, leads to repetition in the text). The emphasis here, understandably, remains on documentation of IT projects and meeting expectations of stakeholders or customers. Though each chapter briefly discusses the use of software tools for each Knowledge Area, and Appendix A introduces the basic functionality of Microsoft Project 2003.
Techies thinking of making the leap to Project Management will likely benefit most from the Cost and Comunication chapters (though all chapters contain useful information). Programmers and Architects don't typically engage in financial analysis, but Project Managers absolutely must know these money-based terms, tools, and techniques to do their jobs. Not only that, communication often gets taken for granted in IT shops (i.e., the "we have e-mail, what more do we need?" perspective). The book tries to undo some of the bad communication habits that at times seem endemic to IT departments. Human Resources can also provide challenges for coders coming out of their caves, and the chapter on HR covers motivational theories and the basics of dealing with other people on a day-to-day basis (something else Project Managers definitely must excel at). By the end of the book, the message rings out: Project Managers do need some technical skills to succeed, but communication and people skills rise far above in importance for successful management of Information Technology Projects. The book does a good job of delivering that message as well as distinguishing Project Management as a unique skill for IT.
IT workers may or may not agree with the author's somewhat opimistic outlook on outsourcing in chapter 12. More of the sunny side of outsourcing gets emphasized here. The subject remains controversial amongst many IT groups and companies, and the author doesn't seem to give a complete picture of the issue. But some readers may welcome the idea that outsourcing isn't a completely negative concept. Lastly, though the book's title page says "2006", the author doesn't talk about the recent growing trend of Project Management outsourcing for IT projects (some IT professionals may look upon Project Management as a shield against being outsourced; this may become less and less true if this trend grows; but it may not).
The book also includes 2 CDs. One includes a trial version of Microsoft Project 2003, and the other contains "Project Management Simulation Software". So it's possible to put to practice (temporarily, at least) the principles learned in this book in software tools.
Overall, the book presents a good overview of IT Project Management. Some of the more advanced topics, such as Six Sigma and Monte Carlo Analysis, receive cursory treatment due to their massive scope and terminology load. But the book gives good introductions to even complex Project Management principles and practices, and will likely inspire readers to prepare for the PMP exam or to examine futher this unique area of Information Technology Management.
The next section covers management skills required to work with your team to complete successful projects. The final third part of this book will walk you through every phase of a real-world case study, from initiating and planning a project, to executing and controlling your plan and finally closing a successful project.
Whether you intend to get a job as an IT Project Manager, or you are a self-employed IT consultant or developer, this book will get your feet set on the right path.
As an added bonus, this book may be the only book you need to learn the basics of working with Microsoft Project (depending on the depth you need to know this software). I find myself using Project for personal projects with many milestones and tasks; not just for work-related IT projects.
Finally, if you are looking to earn your CompTIA Project+, this is the book you need. It is also a good study aid in going on to earn your PMP Certification from PMI. The information in this book is very up-to-date.
My only complaint is the price. Like most college textbooks, the price is too high for the knowledge contained within. This book is very good, but it is no better than what could be found in a comparable book priced below $50.
A very good detailed overview of IT Project Management skills and tools that comes at an arrogant price.
I used this text for my first undergraduate IT/Project Management class, and was very satisfied. It was a great introduction to PM with a bias towards IT and technology. However, experienced PM's will probably not find anything new here.
All in all, a very good introductory text that is informative and relatively easy to read.
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