Book Review: "97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know"

97ThingsCovI think project management books should be on every web worker’s reading list because — like it or not — even if your job title isn’t “project manager,” you still have to manage your own portion of the projects you participate in. Even some informal grounding in project management can be helpful for those “rare” times you are pulled into help bring a failing project back to life.

97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know,” edited by Barbee Davis, pulls together useful project management tips and insights from working project managers without the dry academic style found in many project management books, making it a great instructional read for web workers seeking to hone their PM skills.

The format of the book includes 97 tips; here are some takeaways the book has for web workers:

  • “Use a Wiki” reinforces the need to centralize access to project information. While this is pretty standard for many web workers, there are employers and clients who still need reinforcement on this point. This tip provides two solid pages of wiki advice and tips that should even be digestable and and understandable to even a non-technical decision maker.
  • “We Have Met the Enemy…and He Is Us” should ring true to readers who have been on projects fraught with too many meetings, multicultural/multilingual project teams, conflicting work styles, and methodologies. The advice to keep an open mind in these situations is simple yet speaks volumes as to how a web worker can survive and even thrive in these situations.
  • “Aggressively Promote Communication in Distributed Projects” boils down the reality of  communications challenges that may present themselves in geographically dispersed project teams including time overlap management, communications strategy and logistics.
  • Every Project Manager is a Contract Administrator,” while directed at working project managers also provides useful advice to web workers for mitigating such contractual issues like undocumented changes and the need to control changes within the specifications of the contract.
  • 9.7 Reasons I Hate Your Website” made me chuckle but reminded me of how some companies don’t understand the differences between software development and web development.

These are just a few of the standout tips in the book. While it is directed more towards a software development audience, I recommend it to any web worker who wants to be more conversant in project management and its challenges.

The book is available directly from O’Reilly Media or from Amazon.com.

Share your favorite project management tips below.

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