Business Leadership for IT Projects
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Before I had even finished Gary Lloyd’s Business Leadership for IT Projects, I realized that he was providing a critical evaluation of the Standish report about project failure. I knew that we would get along perfectly.
I don’t have a problem with the Standish research or the CHAOS report, but it’s often used to create a headline that doesn’t provide any analysis of how the numbers came about.
Gary doesn’t do this. He’s thorough in his analysis, critical in his thinking. In a book on IT projects, Gary makes the first assertion that it is possible to simplify everything if one doesn’t do IT projects.
He writes that he wants to “[M]inimize IT change and hence the risk, by asking the team to generate zero- or low-cost alternatives, focusing on project design.”
This makes perfect sense to me.
This book is for people in project leadership positions who don’t have the practical experience of project managers.
This includes business team managers, project and products owners, and sponsors. I can guarantee that they will benefit if you can get them reading it!
You will find nice line drawings throughout that Gary has hand drawn.
I was able to see a webinar that he had given. Many of the slides were hand-drawn by him, which added a personal touch and informality to the content.
Find What Matters
The book can be used in two ways. You can either use it as an overview of the tools that are relevant throughout the project’s life cycle or you can dip in and out depending upon where you are at the moment in the project.
Gary has included a handy table in Chapter 2, which shows you where to find it. It identifies the causes and frustrations of project failure and explains which chapters address them.
These call out boxes are extremely helpful. They help you identify the questions that executives should be asking and what may catch your attention. They provide leaders with a quick guide on what to watch for and the most important things they should be paying attention to for that stage.
One example is the section that walks you through the process of generating solution options and delineating a solution. I can see a manager sneaking a glance at this book before she goes into a meeting with the project team. It gives her the confidence to be a sponsor, despite not having any project experience.
This book will help you get through when people look to you as a sponsor for guidance or direction on issues they are unable to resolve.
There are plenty of resources to help you if your project is already underway.
Delivery that is value-based
I was introduced to value-based delivery through the book. This is a more management-speak way to say get some quick wins along the way so that you don’t have wait until the end to reap the benefits. This is the kind of thing that you intuitively know is a good idea, but don’t necessarily know how to explain. Now you know.
This is the most jargon in the entire book. It is simple and clear.
Talk to your sponsor about ‘value-based delivery. Business Leadership for IT Projects, a book on project sponsorship, is available to read.
It is clear, concise, and easy to use.
This book is well-written and thoughtful in many ways, and it was written from an experience and quiet authority. Recommended.