Book Review: The Lazy Project Manager
February 15, 2011 6 Comments
“There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.” Some attribute the axiom to Frank Lloyd Wright but others are adamant that he’s not the origin of it. Whoever said it had a somewhat elitist or cynical perspective about the general population.
At times, however, the saying has proven itself to be true. That’s why sometimes it’s best to state the obvious, rather than taking it for granted.
In his book “The Lazy Project Manager“, Peter Taylor doesn’t tackle the basics of Project Management as a profession. Do don’t buy the book as a Project Management how-to guide; it’s not intended to be that. Taylor rightly observes that much has already been written on the topic. He even provides list of resources that he’s found helpful in the back of “The Lazy Project Manager”.
Instead Taylor attempts to supplement the purely academic studies of Project Management with practical and actionable approaches.
A Common Sense Approach
“The Lazy Project Manager” focuses on the subtle nuances of how to shepherd a project from its initial phase through to its completion. Taylor concentrates on working with your team to move the project toward success. He advocates using humor to diffuse a situation, evaluating the team personnel, and remembering that communications is more than just the message.
Much of what he shares should be considered common sense, especially to a seasoned professional. However, the advice proffered will likely be helpful to many who are new to the project manager role.
This short book is replete with anecdotes from Taylor’s experiences. He shares some of his successes as well as his miscues over the years. He recounts his missteps and what he’d do differently now that he’s on the other side of the mishaps.
Despite the intentionally eye-catching title, the book’s premise can be distilled down to the old adage of the 7 P’s: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.
Taylor contends that most projects require an awful lot of work up front and if done well, the long middle part of the project goes very smoothly. Eventually every project wraps up with a flurry of concluding activities at the end.
The book models this as well. The first portion of the book sets the stage. Then Taylor offers to let the reader skip the middle section and just right to the end of the book where the final two chapters summarize everything that you may have skipped.
I suspect many who buy the book can easily skip to end without missing anything; I certainly felt as though I could have. Others may find the middle, though it sometimes wanders a bit, to be helpful.
The eight reviewers on Amazon give the book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I think that’s a bit on the high side. I’d give it a 3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars. But then, I’ve been self-employed 15+ years and I’ve managed hundreds if not thousands of projects.
Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it. – Walter Chrysler