What everyone needs to know about project management

What is Simple Project Management?

Simple Project Management is a careful examination of what the best project managers always do. In this sense it is not a new or untried approach. Instead, it is a clear description of what works in projects now.

It identifies 60+ specific actions (grouped in 12 categories) that every project team must do if the project is to be successful. It includes defining the project scope, creating a schedule, and building quality into the result.

Some of these actions can be completed in minutes, others may take longer. Some may seem so obvious that one wonders why they are included (but what is obvious to one person is unfortunately not obvious to another). Many of them can and should be dealt with in combination to save time, though they are best studied separately. What they all have in common, however, is that if each is not done at least well enough, the project is at risk.

What are these twelve categories?

These are the project manager's responsibilities (with the categories highlighted in bold):

Define the scope of the work you will contract to do for the customer. Make sure that the value of the project justifies its cost. Decide how to handle each important risk. Schedule each part of the project so that you can easily monitor the team's progress toward completion. Manage all essential communications. Acquire needed resources. Take action to assure the quality of the result.

Each of these categories is described in the Simple Project Management book.

Why so many? Are they all essential?

When asked to identify the essentials, many project managers list only three or four of the twelve categories included here. Does that mean that some are not needed? After more probing it has been discovered that either:

  • the manager grouped them differently (for example, some understood Scope to include Contract or Value), or
  • the manager always did them without really thinking of them as actions that needed to be singled out (and, therefore, didn't offer them until questioned).

The strongest evidence that all are essential is that great work in any one cannot compensate for poor work in another. For example, great work in clearly defining scope does not make up for failing to verify that the project will create enough value to justify the cost.

Note that Simple Project Management is a simple description, not a simple-minded one. It doesn't offer the illusion of simplicity by leaving out essential information. It provides knowledge that every project manager needs on every project.

How large is the book? Does it take a lot of time to learn?

The book is about 60 pages on spiral-bound, letter-sized paper. Most of the chapters are only a page or two and are easily read in a few minutes. Mastery will take longer. (See the sample chapters on Scope and Customer.)

How can I get the benefits of Simple Project Management?

The most obvious first step is to purchase copies of the book for yourself and your team.

For additional help either: