Excerpts for Fundamentals of Project Management

Preface to the Fourth Edition

Sending a satellite to Mars? Planning a conference or implementing

new software? You have chosen the right book. The great

value of project management is that it can be applied across industries

and situations alike, on multiple levels. It would be difficult

to find a more nimble organizational discipline. Whether or

not your title says project manager, you can benefit from the practical

applications presented in this book, which is intended as a

brief overview of the tools, techniques, and discipline of project

management as a whole. Three notable topics have been expanded

for this edition, with new chapters on the project manager

as leader, managing project risk, and the change control

process. Although each topic is important individually, together

they can establish the basis for project success or failure.

Projects are often accomplished by teams, teams are made up

of people, and people are driven by . . . project leaders. Conspicuously

absent from the preceding is the term "manager," as in

"project manager." If project managers manage projects, what do

they do with the people who make up their teams or support networks

in the absence of a formal team? Successful project leaders

lead the people on their teams to consistent goal attainment and

enhanced performance. They combine a command of project

tools and technical savvy with a real understanding of leadership

and team performance. Consistently successful projects depend

on both. It is a balancing act of execution and skilled people management.

Ignoring one or the other is inviting project failure and

organizational inconsistency regarding project performance.

Risk is an element inherent in every project. The project

manager must consider several variables when determining how

much to invest in the mitigation and management of that risk.

How experienced is my team or support personnel? Do I have

the appropriate skill sets available? Can I count on reliable data

from previous projects, or am I wandering in the wilderness?

Whatever the assessment, project risk is something that needs

to be addressed early in the life of the project. As with any other

process you will be introduced to in this book, risk must be managed

formally, with little deviation from the template, while allowing

for some flexibility. Project managers cannot afford to

wait for bad things to happen and then fix them. Reactive management

is too costly. The practical Six-Step process presented

in the book can and should be applied to any project. How

it is applied directly depends on the variables that confront that


Death, taxes, and change. Project managers need to expand

the list of certainties in life. To paraphrase James P. Lewis, author

of the first three editions this book, in Chapter 3, project failures

are caused primarily by the failure to plan properly. I often tell my

seminar attendees that planning is everything and that most proj -

ects succeed or fail up front. This is not an overstatement. But

what often gets lost in project execution is the absolute necessity

to keep the plan current based on the changes that have affected

the project from day one. Have the changes affected the scope of

the project? Has the schedule or budget been impacted in any significant

way? These are the questions that must be asked and answered

when applying effective change control to the project.

Failure to manage and communicate change results in serious misalignment

and probably failure. Chapter 10 presents the reader

with a practical change control process that can help ensure project


As a former Global Practice Leader for project management

at the American Management Association, I had the luxury of

benchmarking multiple organizations worldwide and identified

several project-related best practices. The applications discussed

here represent some of those practices, as well as those presented

in the latest version of PMBOKĀ®. With this expanded

edition of Fundamentals of Project Management, I hope to enhance

your chances of bringing projects in on time, on budget

with an excellent deliverable--every time.

Joseph J. Heagney

Sayville, NY

February, 2011