WARNING: This is a workbook. Do not read it if you want to read just another book on project management, project leadership, and project success. If, however, you are sincerely interested in learning what it takes to develop and improve your project management and leadership skills and you are eager to learn why and how these are crucial ingredients for project and personal success, get a copy of this book and start working with it today.
Note that I wrote working with this book. For it would be a shame if you were just reading this book like any other, then put it on a bookshelf and forget about it.
So, what is this book about? The back cover states “Starting with an insightful self-assessment, The Project Management Coaching Workbook: Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential offers tools, questions, reviews, guiding practices, and exercises that will help you build your roadmap to project management and leadership success.” True.
What makes this book special is that it starts out with an insightful definition of project management and project leadership. Susanne explains “As a manager, you are typically involved in scheduling work, delegating tasks, coordinating effort and resources, monitoring and guiding progress, building teams, and appealing to rational thinking. As a leader, however, your role is to inspire people, explain goals, share the vision, provide focus, be a role model, monitor morale, create a positive team feeling, and unleash potential.” (p.8-9)
The book is about both: project management and project leadership. It is this stretch that makes the workbook special. There are a lot of books about project management and probably even more on leadership. Unfortunately, there are only a very few that explain why and how management and leadership has to be dealt with together. Maybe it is because it can be quite a stretch. This is certainly true. Just because you are a good manager does not make you a good leader. On the other side, if you are a good project manager it is probably because you also embrace qualities and skills of project leadership. Effective project management therefore is the combination of strong task management and people management and leadership.
The book is into 6 major parts, each corresponding to a 6-step assessment and coaching model. They are:
Step 1: What do you want to achieve? Create your vision and mission statement
Step 2: Self-assessment: Create a benchmark of your current skill set
Step 3: 360 feedback: Seek feedback from managers, peers, and customers
Step 4: Action: Create an action plan and move forward
Step 5: Guiding practices: Learn more about project management and leadership techniques
Step 6: Progress review: Examine your progress and determine next steps
Each of the chapters include an explanation of the core concepts and then quickly walks the reader through a self-assessment and guiding questions and principles which show the reader how to apply the principles in a daily project setting. It is not dry theory, it is very pragmatic and it encourages you to become active. After all, it is a workbook.
Target audience: Whether you are a novice project manager or have been in the profession for years, you will get a lot out of this book. Hence, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in project management, project leadership and project success. It is also a book for a team, a department, a division or even a whole company that wants to take team and project performance to the next level. Indeed working with this book in a team will reveal more about good management and leadership on the individual and group level than working with the book by yourself.
Shortcomings: … none really. Personally, I would have liked a bibliography but that’s pretty much it.
In a nutshell: (4 ½ stars out of 5) A must-read for those who want to take project management and leadership to the next level.