“There’s no such thing as cheating in project management,” writes Beth Spriggs, “but if there were it would be this book.”
I’ve covered it in sticky notes.
I love books that are practical and applicable, and this is both. It’s also funny and a quick read. There are so many grains of truth in it. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites to share with you.
On talking about delivering difficult messages to colleagues:
Indecisions is a decision. If you do nothing, then you’ve chosen by default to live with the behaviour. It is your responsibility as a manager to say something, to point out what needs to change. Then it is up to the other person to change. But you can’t expect them to change until you tell them the change you want to see.
On issue management:
Problems seem harder to solve when they are your own.
Think of this book as the hard-won advice that an experienced mentor would tell you. Someone who is prepared to tell it how it is and to not worry about what people think of her.
This book doesn’t follow the traditional project management life cycle like many similar texts. Instead it’s organised thematically with short chapters on communication, change, scope, time, risk, processes, portfolios, teams, tools and vendors. There’s also information on starting a project (that’s the only nod to the life cycle).
Each section within a chapter is numbered making it easy to navigate and helping you find the advice that suits you right now.
It’s hard to know what prompted Beth to include the topics she did in the book. Some, like expectation inflation, don’t get written about very often but are fascinating. A few, like the answer to the question ‘what qualifications does PMI offer’ seem to sit oddly against the solid leadership advice.
However, I’m sure different readers will take different things from the book.
The Little Book of Cheats would make a great gift for someone who is starting a role as a project management apprentice or taking their first full-time project management job.
Beth was kind enough to send me a copy of her book for review. You can buy it on Amazon.
Read more project management book reviews here.