Project Management For Profit

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Project Management For ProfitThe book Project Management For Profit: A Failsafe Guide to Keeping Projects On Track and On Budget is making a timely appearance in business culture today.

Moreover, authors Joe Knight, Roger Thomas, and Brad Angus know it, as they note that the future has arrived and why projects are the result:

“One reason is the amazing proliferation of project-based companies in today’s economy. Construction firms, software companies, architectural and engineering firms, marketing and public relations and consulting businesses, designers, machine builders, event managers, IT systems companies… it seems as if the whole world is getting more project based, since people can now collaborate easily over large geographic distances.”

Project Management for Profit offers a methodology that clearly speaks to that world.  It notes what should and should not happen to get a project off the ground, all with a style fitting for those seeking metrics for progress but not necessarily a specialist enough to know exactly where to start.

I discovered it through a book selection with Harvard Business Review press, and felt the author’s approach matched up for what small business need in seeking a project manager.

Three sections cover the basics for promoting the metrics and methods involved with the system:

  • Laying the Foundation mostly explains how the system came to be, fueled by a small company’s struggle to reconcile project cost in its accounting.  Later chapters in the segment focus more on how to apply the system.
  • Putting The System to Work covers useable metrics and approaches, particularly on managing expenses and time.
  • Getting The Most Bang For Your Buck gets into establishing scorecards and metrics for monitor progress.

The title’s mention of failsafe can cause thoughts of those “get rich” hackjobs at first glance, but from page one you’ll find that the authors’ instincts are the real McCoy for profitability.

Knight, Thomas, and Angus note that project management is a mindset “that turns up in every corner of the business world.”  And the principles are crafted with a straightforward honesty, no used-car salesman spin, such as principle one, which reads:

“Project Managers are responsible for planning, initiating, executing, and profiting from their projects. They should know exactly where a project stands at any given time throughout the course of the venture.”

The second principle addresses today’s hyperactive economy, seeking timely information to make key decisions.  These principles are pretty straightforward. Yet Project Management for Profit also provides ideas on how to implement each principle.

A chapter notes how materials cost can overrun, giving a project manager the very way to monitor his or her actions outlined in principle one.   Measuring percent completion and gross profit per hour is also explained, as well as introducing other useful metrics such as efficiency percentage.  Each chapter explains the pitfalls without overdoing the effort.

There’s also those aforementioned what-not-to-dos, such as blobs. Here’s how the authors define it:

“A blob is a large task or series of tasks required for the project, but with details that are poorly defined and hence poorly understood.”

Another project killer is target fixation:

“People don’t die from target fixation in business, but projects and companies crash and burn all the time because of it. People get focused on one goal—one target—to the exclusion of all else.”

The book is a brief solid guide, with tips and insights readable for those on the go and distracted by a million things needed for their project.  The book reads as it’s advertised, meant to help people who need a system but are not technically savvy at standard project management technique.  It can fit a small team together in one locale or a team spread across the globe.

Regardless of your team’s composition, they will certainly be well managed.

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Pierre DeBois Pierre Debois is Associate Book Editor for Small Business Trends. He is the Founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and medium sized businesses that rely on web analytics data. A Gary, Indiana native, Pierre is currently based in Brooklyn. He blogs about marketing, finance, social media, and analytics at Zimana blog.