Book review: PM Crash Course

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“Don’t waste your time reading this book unless it is something you can actually use!” Rita Mulchay warns in chapter one of PMCrash Course: Premier Edition. “Make your decision now! Are you a project manager who can take on more responsibility?
This book is a long, high-five-worthy read. Mulcahy can be seen at the front of a classroom, exuding her delegates with her evident love for project management and projects.
There is a lot of whooping and shouting. The classroom is alive with the energy of participants cheering each other on and celebrating their successes in the practical exercises.
Translate that into a book and try to read one page without exclamation marks. I found a sentence ending with two at one point.
I didn’t like the tone. I’m a just-tell-me-quietly-what-I-need-to-know girl. I avoid whooping and don’t like to rely too heavily on rhetorical questions. “Can you imagine what the project manager wants and what’s provided?” I can. That’s why I’m reading the book.
If you can overlook the tone, which may be more appropriate for Americans, there are plenty of great advice here. Although it’s light and not always very high-level, when you turn the page you will be confronted by work breakdown structure creation and Monte Carlo simulation. The depth is definitely there. You will also find exercises throughout the book that help you consolidate the chapters.
I enjoyed the ‘In The Field” sections. These are real-life tips from project managers all over the world and can help you make your projects run more smoothly. The section on managing communication is very well-rounded and provides solid advice.
The book’s subtitle is “A Revolutionary Guide to What REALLY Matters When Managing Projects.” There isn’t much here that I think is revolutionary. Mulchay’s book is about project management. Hers is a similar process to all others: initiate, plan, execute and monitor, control and close.
It covers creating a charter, managing stakeholders, scheduling, scheduling, and risk management. It is a comprehensive, good-quality guide, with some extras like the list of nine things that your boss should do and a page on ‘common mistakes that can ruin your career’ (example: “Not having WBS for all projects”).
Although it wasn’t my cup, there was nothing wrong with the project management advice. The book comes with a CD that allows you to take the electronic text with you wherever you go. This is a great freebie for project managers who are constantly on the move, especially since the book will not fit into a standard-sized handbag.
It’s a great book for people who don’t have much project management experience but have received some training and want to learn how to make that into practical knowledge that they can use in the office.