Project Management For Dummies book cover

Project Management For Dummies

Published: April 19, 2022

Overview

Improve your project management skills and accomplish more in no time at all

In these days when projects seem to be bigger and more challenging than ever before, you need to make sure tasks stay on track, meet the budget, and keep everyone in the loop. Enter Project Management For Dummies. This friendly guide starts with the basics of project management and walks you through the different aspects of leading a project to a successful finish. After you've navigated your way through a couple of projects, you'll have the confidence to tackle even bigger (and more important) projects!

In addition to explaining how to manage projects in a remote work environment, the book offers advice on identifying the right delivery approach, using social media in project management, and deploying agile project management. You'll also discover:

  • What's new in project management tools and platforms so you can choose the best application for your team
  • How to perfect your project management business document with an emphasis on strategy and business knowledge
  • Details on the shift from process-based approaches to more holistic, principle-based strategies focused on project outcomes
  • Examples of how to turn the strategies into smooth-flowing processes
  • Best practices and suggestions for dealing with difficult or unexpected situations

If you're planning to enroll in a project management course or take the Project Management Professionals Certification exam, Project Management For Dummies is the go-to resource to help you prepare. And if you simply want to improve your outcomes, this handy reference will have you and your team completing project goals like ninjas!

Improve your project management skills and accomplish more in no time at all

In these days when projects seem to be bigger and more challenging than ever before, you need to make sure tasks stay on track, meet the budget, and keep everyone in the loop. Enter Project Management For Dummies. This friendly guide starts with the basics of project management and walks you through the different aspects of leading a project to a successful finish. After you've navigated your way through a couple of projects, you'll have the confidence to tackle even bigger (and more important) projects!

In addition to explaining how to manage projects in a remote work environment, the book offers advice on identifying the right delivery approach, using social media in project management, and deploying agile project management. You'll also discover:

  • What's
new in project management tools and platforms so you can choose the best application for your team
  • How to perfect your project management business document with an emphasis on strategy and business knowledge
  • Details on the shift from process-based approaches to more holistic, principle-based strategies focused on project outcomes
  • Examples of how to turn the strategies into smooth-flowing processes
  • Best practices and suggestions for dealing with difficult or unexpected situations
  • If you're planning to enroll in a project management course or take the Project Management Professionals Certification exam, Project Management For Dummies is the go-to resource to help you prepare. And if you simply want to improve your outcomes, this handy reference will have you and your team completing project goals like ninjas!

    Project Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet

    Because of the ever-growing array of huge, complex, and technically challenging projects in today's world, effective project managers are in higher demand than ever before. People need the tools, techniques, and knowledge to handle their project management assignments, such as confirming a project's justification, developing project objectives and schedules, maintaining commitment for a project, holding people accountable, and avoiding common project pitfalls.

    Articles From The Book

    29 results

    Project Management Articles

    Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Effective Project Manager?

    You want to be a better project manager, right? Well, before you really jump in, do a quick self-evaluation to see what your strengths and weaknesses are. By answering the following ten questions, you can get an idea of what subjects you need to spend more time on so you can be as effective as possible. Good luck!

    Questions

    1. Are you more concerned about being everyone’s friend or getting a job done right?
    2. Do you prefer to do technical work or manage other people doing technical work?
    3. Do you think the best way to get a tough task done is to do it yourself?
    4. Do you prefer your work to be predictable or constantly changing?
    5. Do you prefer to spend your time developing ideas rather than explaining those ideas to other people?
    6. Do you handle crises well?
    7. Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?
    8. Do you think you shouldn’t have to monitor people after they’ve promised to do a task for you?
    9. Do you believe people should be self-motivated to perform their jobs?
    10. Are you comfortable dealing with people at all organizational levels?

    Answer key

    1. Although maintaining good working relations is important, the project manager often must make decisions that some people don’t agree with for the good of the project.
    2. Most project managers achieve their positions because of their strong performance on technical tasks. However, after you become a project manager, your job is to encourage other people to produce high-quality technical work rather than to do it all yourself.
    3. Believing in yourself is important. However, the project manager’s task is to help other people develop to the point where they can perform tasks with the highest quality.
    4. The project manager tries to minimize unexpected problems and situations through responsive planning and timely control. However, when problems do occur, the project manager must deal with them promptly to minimize their impact on the project.
    5. Though coming up with ideas can help your project, the project manager’s main responsibility is to ensure that every team member correctly understands all ideas that are developed.
    6. The project manager’s job is to provide a cool head to size up the situation, choose the best action, and encourage all members to do their parts in implementing the solution.
    7. Self-reliance and self-motivation are important characteristics for a project manager. However, the key to any project manager’s success is to facilitate interaction among a diverse group of technical specialists.
    8. Although you may feel that honoring one’s commitments is a fundamental element of professional behavior, the project manager needs both to ensure that people maintain their focus and to model how to work cooperatively with others.
    9. People should be self-motivated, but the project manager has to encourage them to remain motivated by their job assignments and related opportunities.
    10. The project manager deals with people at all levels — from upper management to support staff — who perform project-related activities.

    Check out the table of contents to find out where I discuss these different aspects of the project manager’s job in more depth.

    Project Management Articles

    How to Assess Your Project Stakeholders’ Power and Interest

    A stakeholder’s potential impact on a project depends on the power she can exercise and the interest she has in exercising that power. Assessing the relative levels of each helps you decide with whom you should spend your time and effort to realize the greatest benefits. Power is a person’s ability to influence the actions of others. This ability can derive either from the direct authority the person has to require people to respond to her requests or the ability she has to induce others to do what she asks because of the respect they have for her professionally or personally. In either case, the more power a person has, the better able she is to marshal people and resources to support your project. Typically, drivers and supporters have higher levels of power over your project than observers do. On the other hand, a person’s interest in something is how much she cares or is curious about it or how much she pays attention to it. The more interested a person is in your project, the more likely she is to want to use her power to help the project succeed. You can define a stakeholder’s relative levels of power and interest related to your project as being either high or low. You then have four possible combinations for each stakeholder’s relative levels of power and interest. The particular values of a stakeholder’s power and interest ratings suggest the chances that the stakeholder may have a significant impact on your project and, therefore, the relative importance of keeping that stakeholder interested and involved in your project.

    Most often, you base the assessments of a stakeholder’s power over and interest in your project on the aggregated individual, subjective opinions of several parties: you, your team members, your project’s other stakeholders, people who have worked with the stakeholder on other projects, subject matter experts, and/or the stakeholder himself or herself. If you assign a value of 1 to each individual rating of high and 0 to each individual rating of low, you’d rate a stakeholder’s power or interest as high if the average of the individual assessments were 0.5 or greater and low if the average were below 0.5.

    The image below depicts a Power-Interest Grid, which represents these four possible power-interest combinations as distinct quadrants on a two-dimensional graph. As the project manager, you should spend a minimal amount of time and effort with stakeholders who have low levels of both power and interest (Quadrant I). Spend increasingly greater amounts of time and effort with stakeholders who have a low level of power and a high level of interest (Quadrant II) and a low level of interest and a high level of power (Quadrant III), respectively. You should spend the most time and effort keeping stakeholders with high degrees of both power and interest (Quadrant IV) informed and involved.

    Project Management Articles

    How to Use a Stakeholder Register Template

    A stakeholder register template is a predesigned stakeholder register that contains typical categories and stakeholders for a particular type of project. You may develop and maintain your own stakeholder register templates for tasks you perform, functional groups may develop and maintain stakeholder register templates for tasks they typically conduct, or your organization’s project management office may develop and maintain templates for the entire organization. Regardless of who maintains the template, it reflects people’s cumulative experiences. As the organization continues to perform projects of this type, stakeholders that were overlooked in earlier efforts may be added and stakeholders that proved unnecessary removed. Using these templates can save you time and improve your accuracy. Suppose you prepare the budget for your department each quarter. After doing a number of these budgets, you know most of the people who give you the necessary information, who draft and print the document, and who have to approve the final budget. Each time you finish another budget, you revise your stakeholder register template to include new information from that project. The next time you prepare your quarterly budget, you begin your stakeholder register with your template. You then add and subtract names as appropriate for that particular budget preparation.

    When using stakeholder register templates, keep the following guidelines in mind:

    • Develop templates for frequently performed tasks and for entire projects. Stakeholder register templates for kicking off the annual blood drive or submitting a newly developed drug to the Food and Drug Administration are valuable. But so are templates for individual tasks that are part of these projects, such as awarding a competitive contract or printing a document. Many times, projects that appear totally new actually contain some tasks that you’ve done before. You can still reap the benefits of your prior experience by including the stakeholder register templates for these tasks in your overall project stakeholder register.
    • Focus on position descriptions rather than the names of prior stakeholders. Identify a stakeholder as accounts payable manager rather than Bill Miller. People come and go, but functions endure. For each specific project, you can fill in the appropriate names.
    • Develop and modify your stakeholder register template from previous projects that actually worked, not from initial plans that looked good but lacked key information. Often you develop a detailed stakeholder register at the start of your project but don’t revise the register during the project or add stakeholders whom you overlooked in your initial planning. If you update your template with information from an initial list only, your template can’t reflect the discoveries you made throughout the earlier project.
    • Encourage your team members to brainstorm possible stakeholders before you show them an existing stakeholder register template. Encouraging people to identify stakeholders without guidance or restrictions increases the chances that they’ll think of stakeholders who were overlooked on previous projects.
    • Use templates as starting points, not ending points. Make clear to your team that the template isn’t the final register. Every project differs in some ways from similar ones. If you don’t critically examine the template, you may miss people who weren’t involved in previous projects but whom you need to consider for this one.
    • Reflect your different project experiences in your stakeholder register templates. The post-project evaluation is an excellent time to review, critique, and modify your stakeholder register for a particular project.

    Templates can save time and improve accuracy. However, starting with a template that’s too polished can suggest you’ve already made up your mind about the contents of your final list, which may discourage people from freely sharing their thoughts about other potential stakeholders. In addition, their lack of involvement in the development of the project’s audience list may lead to their lack of commitment to the project’s success.