The Handbook of Project-Based Management – 3rd Edition
One of my aims in writing successive editions of this book has been to maintain the book’s length. That means that as I include new ideas, I have to drop some material. I don’t want a book that gets fatter and fatter to the point where I have to start dividing it into two or more separate books. Project management is a dynamic and developing topic, and that means that there are new ideas that need to be included in the book. But also some ideas that were included in the first and second edition are now past their sell-by date and so can be dropped. I have aimed to produce a book that covers the key topics of project management as people see it at the moment, and to leave out some of the concepts that have not proved so effective.
The book is one part shorter than the previous edition, at four parts rather than five. The first three parts cover the same ground as the first three parts of the previous two editions.
Part 1 describes the context of projects. In particular it considers how the strategy of the parent organization and the desire to achieve performance improvement through strategic change drive the creation of projects. It then looks at project success strategy and describes the criteria by which we judge success, the factors by which we increase the chance of success, and how we combine the two into a strategy for our projects. The third chapter in the part considers the people involved in the project. It takes a different perspective from the previous two editions where the equivalent chapter looked at the position of projects in the parent organization. In this edition that chapter focuses much more on how to lead the stakeholders to gain their support for the project.
Part 2 covers the same ground as the previous two editions, describing the functions of project management, how to manage the scope, project organization, quality, cost, time, and the risk that pervades them all.
Part 3 also substantially covers the same ground as the previous editions, describing three stages of the project life cycle: start, execution, and close-out. However, I have included a new chapter at the start of the part, describing the project life cycle, and different versions for different types of project. This chapter covers much of the ground of what was previously the fifth part, on applications, but in a more focused way.
Although these three parts cover very much the same ground, I have incorporated new thinking, and so in places the material is different from the previous editions. It is in Part 4 where I have taken a radically different approach. In the previous two editions, Part 4 described administrative support given to the project by the parent organization. Now, in accordance with the modern style, I take a governance perspective. As a result, it covers some of the same ground, because the administrative support described in the previous editions is governance support, but it also introduces many new ideas. I start by defining what we mean by governance and describe the governance of the individual project, and the governance roles that imply. In the next two chapters, I describe the governance of the context, particularly program and portfolio management and the development of organizational project management capability. I then describe the project governance role of the executive board, and the interest they should take in projects.
I have retained the chapter on international projects as the last main chapter, and as in the previous two editions close with an epilogue.
I have updated the references throughout the book. I think the main purpose of references is to point to further reading for readers who want to find out more about the topics.
I think that only books that are readily available are useful for the purpose, so I tend not to cite academic research journals or magazine articles for that purpose, and definitely not obscure conferences. The other main purpose for references is to acknowledge source materials, and for that purpose I may cite an academic research journal article.
East Horsley, Surrey
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