What's new about the new edition?
This is the second edition of The Definitive Guide to Project Management. This edition has been updated to incorporate the latest thinking on project management and current best practice. Project management is nothing if not a practical discipline, and it is also a new discipline. As such, how to do project management is evolving. The fundamental principles are now fairly stable, but the knowledge of how to apply them continues to evolve.
In the last few years corporations have taken a much more strategic interest in project management, and, for different reasons, the same is true of government departments. Faced with great pressures to reduce costs because of globalization and the resultant increased competition, corporations have downsized, outsourced, restructured and cut every possible cost. The only remaining area where significant cost reductions and, more interestingly, gains from innovation and creative thinking can help to rescue competitive advantage, is project management, and its cousin programme management. Government too has been forced to radically rethink its approach to project management. Around the world, government is expected to deliver more, under greater scrutiny, and in many democratic countries there are signs that the electorate is close to refusing to pay any higher taxes. The result of these pressures in both the corporate and the government world is a severe need for better project management. The only way to get new things done, to innovate and reap the benefits of innovation, is through project management.
Projects are essentially defined as getting new things done, and as such they are risky. But is there really any similarity between getting new things done in, say, critical illness surgery and, say, building oil rigs? That is, is project management a general discipline, with general principles which apply to a wide variety of different kinds of industry? Yes, is the short answer. Of course, one would be insane to try to innovate in one kind of business without using available expertise, in other words, there are many things in projects that will vary from industry to industry, but there are also general principles. This is not so odd, as we can see by making comparisons with accounting and general management. Irrespective of the particular business, there are general accounting principles which apply when doing accounting, and general management principles which apply when managing, irrespective of industry. There are also accounting techniques used in some industries and not others, and management techniques used in some types of organization only.
A result of the recent increase in interest in project management, and its universal applicability across all kinds of organization, is a rapid development of methodologies for doing project management, and a consolidation of them.
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