97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know

Author: Barbee Davis
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 250
ISBN: 978-0596804169
Aimed at: Project managers and team leaders
Rating: 2
Pros: Some pearls of wisdom
Cons: Mostly obvious and trite
Reviewed by: Andrew Johnson

97 pearls of wisdom are waiting for you in this slim book aimed at software project managers. Of course what one project manager will think of as a pearl another might well just consider it a bit of grit.

In the main I found this book irritating. It seemed to be full of home spun anecdotes and advice often based on one-off incidents.The range of topics is also much wider than you might imagine - from contracts to hiring people. Surely project management is better defined a discipline than this?  Personally I would have liked something a little more technical - metrics, Gantt charts, JIT, task tracking, methodologies  and so on - in place of many of the short stories presented.

There there is also a lot that is obvious. For example, "clever code is hard to maintain" - really I never would have guessed. Well I might not have guessed that it took so long for the teachings of the 60s structured programming revolution to reach the next century. Surely this sort of observation is the bedrock on which we build software an not a pearl to be offered up in this sort of collection? 

What is a clearer indication of the sort of information being offered is that you can guess what is about to be said in most of the essays simply from their titles, for example "Developers hate status reports - managers love them", "We are project managers not superheroes". The essays themselves just don't add much over and above the title and in the few cases where they do the grit of disagreement is often the result.

If you want to read something that's easy and mostly makes you nod your head in agreement and if you enjoy anecdotes then this might be right up your street - but don't expect enlightenment. For me it was 97 random thoughts from 97 fairly random people but of course finding a pearl is mostly luck.

Last Updated ( Monday, 04 January 2010 )