Project Management for Non-Project Managers
Author: Jack Ferraro
Pub Date: April 2012
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814417362
Page Count: 256
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417379
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The most common vehicle for implementing change within an organization
is the project, or a combination of projects known as a
program. Projects are becoming more strategic in nature and scope,
and an increasing number of traditional white-collar workers are involved
with projects in some fashion. These projects often require
unprecedented collaboration within an organization’s lines of business,
and across the business enterprise. This dynamic is creating a
need for functional managers to work in collaboration, communicate
effectively, and appreciate the best practice methods of project
Project executives, sponsors, middle managers, and functional
managers are expected to be involved in an organization’s projects—
over and above their duties of managing budgets, operations, and
personnel. Functional managers’ job responsibilities, if not formally
written, often implicitly include the implementation of positive
change, delivered through projects. However, little attention is focused
on the importance of functional managers’ understanding of
how projects should work. Despite this, functional managers are the
bridge to successful organizational change.
Unfortunately, project managers and their teams have embraced
their own project management idiom. They communicate successfully
among themselves using their own dialect and project management
jargon. These project teams are often trained in organizational
project management methodology and industry standards (e.g., they
have read A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge,
the PMBOK Guide), and their jargon can isolate a functional manager
from his or her project team. This can lead to a lack of understanding
of fundamental project processes on the part of functional
manager and can result in poor communication, unhealthy conflict,
project rework, schedule delays, cost overruns, and lost business opportunities.
While project management has grown rapidly as a career and
core competency, with organizations embracing industry certifications
such as the Project Management Professional (PMP), project
management methodology and processes have done little to improve
the working relationships between project teams (providers) and
business units (customers).
As a seasoned project management consultant and instructor for
American Management Association, I have worked with countless
functional managers attending project management classes, looking
for a way to demystify project management so that they can improve
the way that projects are performed in their organizations. These
functional managers tell stories of being thrust into project teams
and even project leadership positions with no training. Although they
express no desire to achieve a project management certification, they
recognize the importance of consistently delivering business value
through the projects they work on. What they are missing is basic
project management knowledge; they need core skills explained and
taught with a commonsense approach to managing business change.
This book provides a practical guide for functional managers to
learn what project managers and teams are doing—or should be
doing—and to acquire the four critical project management skills to
be an active, value-adding participant to the project organization:
1. Articulating the real customer need and business case for the
2. Staying focused on project deliverables.
3. Understanding key project dependencies.
4. Being proactive about project risk.
This book will motivate readers to take ownership of their project
role and engage productively with project managers and teams
to increase the business value being created from the project. Furthermore,
it will enable functional managers to unveil the ‘‘what’’
and ‘‘why’’ of project management methodologies, processes, and
deliverables and become active participants in increasing the value of
these components, while eliminating the unnecessary project work
that often slows them down.
The first four chapters discuss why you as a functional manager
must take a more aggressive role in managing your projects. Drawing
on my years of experience, I describe the value you need to bring to
the project and why you are often the only one who can bring this
In the remaining chapters, I explore the core project management
skills (listed above) that functional managers must use to succeed
when they find themselves in strategic organization change
projects. Each skill is taught by walking through a typical organizational
project involving business process change, technology, and impacts
to business partners and customers. At the end of each chapter,
I use my own experience and case studies to reinforce the concepts.
My hope is that this book will help you to be much more project
savvy, to embrace your role in your project organization, to partner
closely with project teams, and, ultimately, to be a spearhead of
change in your organization.
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