Review: Fundamentals of Project Management

Currently serving as a faculty member of the American Management Association (AMA), author Joseph Heagney also was the global leader for project management best practices for the AMA. With this book in an impressive fifth edition, Heagney must be doing something right as he continues to have impressive sales of the series. In this edition, Heagney covers, as expected, topics related to the latest version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), as well as the basics of project management.

He includes in Fundamentals of Project Management information on new topics such as stakeholder management, creating a communication plan, estimating, and project closure. The author argues that the goal of effective project management today, remains to execute a project on time, within budget, and within scope. What changed includes approaches and techniques to achieve that goal, as covered in this book.

What percentage of projects currently succeed in meeting their goals of being on time and within budget? Heagney addresses this (page xi) when he notes that the percentage remains “flat at 64 percent between 2012 and 2015.” This is according to the Pulse of the Profession report published by the Project Management Institute. Heagney goes on to note (page xi) that high-performing organizations today “drive project management and meet original project goals and business intent two-and-a-half times more often” when compared to low performers.

A stakeholder, according to Heagney, could be “anyone who has a vested interest in the outcome of a project” and can have a “direct effect on whether your project will succeed or fail” and should be “managed throughout the life of the project” (page 47). Heagney gives tips on how to deal with stakeholders in the context of cultural factors and how best to communicate.

Overall, to stay effective, project managers today must make adjustments for factors such as “technological advances, workplace demographics, and global reach” (page xii). That is how the author sees it as he asks you to “learn from the past –and look to the future” (page xii). That sounds like great advice.

One of the exercises (page 45) in the current edition of Fundamentals of Project Management is for you to answer the question – “Which must be decided first for effective project management planning?”

a. Strategy
b. Tactics
c. Logistics
d. Does not matter

As you read the book, I think you will enjoy getting the answer provided by this insightful author.

Fundamentals of Project Management, 5th Edition
Joseph Heagney (2016). AMACOM. 228 pages. ISBN: 9780814437377. USD$17.95 (softcover).

Reviewed by Jeanette Evans
Note that a version of this review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication.