The Art Of Project Management

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About The Book Art Of Project Management

The Art of Project Management covers it all–from practical methods for making sure work gets done right and on time, to the mindset that can make you a great leader motivating your team to do their best. Reading this was like reading the blueprint for how the best projects are managed at Microsoft… I wish we always put these lessons into action!” –Joe Belfiore, General Manager, E-home Division, Microsoft Corporation
“Berkun has written a fast paced, jargon-free and witty guide to what he wisely refers to as the ‘art’ of project management. It’s a great introduction to the discipline. Seasoned and new managers will benefit from Berkun’s perspectives.” –Joe Mirza, Director, CNET Networks (

“Most books with the words ‘project management’ in the title are dry tomes. If that’s what you are expecting to hear from Berkun’s book, you will be pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s about project management. But it’s also about creativity, situational problem-solving, and leadership. If you’re a team member, project manager, or even a non-technical stakeholder, Scott offers dozens of practical tools and techniques you can use, and questions you can ask, to ensure your projects succeed.” –Bill Bliss, Senior VP of product and customer experience,

In The Art of Project Management, you’ll learn from a veteran manager of software and web development how to plan, manage, and lead projects. This personal account of hard lessons learned over a decade of work in the industry distills complex concepts and challenges into practical nuggets of useful advice. Inspiring, funny, honest, and compelling, this is the book you and your team need to have within arms reach. It will serve you well with your current work, and on future projects to come.

Topics include:

How to make things happen
Making good decisions
Specifications and requirements
Ideas and what to do with them
How not to annoy people
Leadership and trust
The truth about making dates
What to do when things go wrong 

Table Of Content Of The Art Of Project Management



Who should read this book

Assumptions I’ve made about you in writing this book

How to use this book

A brief history of project management (and why you should care)

Using history

Web development, kitchens, and emergency rooms

The role of project management

Program and project management at Microsoft

The balancing act of project management

Pressure and distraction

The right kind of involvement



The truth about schedules

Schedules have three purposes

Silver bullets and methodologies

What schedules look like

Why schedules fail

What must happen for schedules to work


How to figure out what to do

Software planning demystified

Approaching plans: the three perspectives

The magical interdisciplinary view

Asking the right questions

Catalog of common bad ways to decide what to do

The process of planning

Customer research and its abuses

Bringing it all together: requirements

Writing the good vision

The value of writing things down

How much vision do you need?

The five qualities of good visions

The key points to cover

On writing well

Drafting, reviewing, and revising

A catalog of lame vision statements (which should be avoided)

Examples of visions and goals

Visions should be visual

The vision sanity check: daily worship


Where ideas come from

The gap from requirements to solutions

There are bad ideas

Thinking in and out of boxes is OK

Good questions attract good ideas

Bad ideas lead to good ideas

Perspective and improvisation

The customer experience starts the design

A design is a series of conversations


What to do with ideas once you have them

Ideas get out of control

Managing ideas demands a steady hand

Checkpoints for design phases

How to consolidate ideas

Prototypes are your friends

Questions for iterations

The open-issues list



Writing good specifications

What specifications can and cannot do

Deciding what to specify

Specifying is not designing

Who, when, and how

When are specs complete?

Reviews and feedback


How to make good decisions

Sizing up a decision (what’s at stake)

Finding and weighing options

Information is a flashlight

The courage to decide

Paying attention and looking back


Communication and relationships

Management through conversation

A basic model of communication

Common communication problems

Projects depend on relationships

The best work attitude


How not to annoy people: process, email, and meetings

A summary of why people get annoyed

The effects of good process

Non-annoying email

How to run the non-annoying meeting


What to do when things go wrong

Apply the rough guide

Common situations to expect

Take responsibility

Damage control

Conflict resolution and negotiation

Roles and clear authority

An emotional toolkit: pressure, feelings about feelings, and the hero complex



Why leadership is based on trust

Building and losing trust

Make trust clear (create green lights)

The different kinds of power

Trusting others

Trust is insurance against adversity

Models, questions, and conflicts

Trust and making mistakes

Trust in yourself (self-reliance)


How to make things happen

Priorities make things happen

Things happen when you say no

Keeping it real

Know the critical path

Be relentless

Be savvy


Middle-game strategy

Flying ahead of the plane

Taking safe action

The coding pipeline

Hitting moving targets


End-game strategy

Big deadlines are just several small deadlines

Elements of measurement

Elements of control

The end of end-game

Party time


Power and politics

The day I became political

The sources of power

The misuse of power

How to solve political problems

Know the playing field



Annotated Bibliography

Philosophy and strategy



Management and politics

Science, engineering, and architecture

Software process and methodology


Photo Credits


About The Author The Art Of Project Management

Scott Berkun (@berkun) is the best selling author of seven books, including Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker and The Year Without Pants. His work has appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, The Economist, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio.

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