Art of PM book: what do you want in 2nd edition?

I’m working w/O’Reilly on an updated 2nd edition of The art of project management.

We’re brainstorming ideas for how to improve the book, but agreed to start with you folks. How can we improve the book? Here are a few ideas, but feel free to add your own.

If you have longer suggestions/gripes or want to help with the 2nd edition, leave a comment.

21 Responses to “Art of PM book: what do you want in 2nd edition?”

  1. Sundar Narasimhan

    Hey Scott – I found the book great, and read through most of the material and find myself reaching for it on occasion. It is on these latter attempts I’ve wished for alternate ways of easily finding what I read before (may be a better index?, or a threaded introduction with links into later chapters?).

  2. Donald Jessop

    The last couple of chapters in the book did not seem as well developed as the first chapters. I’m not sure if it was due to my running out of steam while reading the book or whether the contents weren’t as targetted as they could have been, but, to me at least, they seemed to almost be a different book. Maybe it was the lack of personal stories that was the deciding factor as the personal stories in the other chapters always seemed to echo events that have occurred in my own career.

  3. Tina Coleman

    Enjoyed the first book, interested in helping with the 2nd.

  4. gwynne stoddart

    My favorite technical book is Harbison and Steele’s The C Reference Manual. When working on a compiler, linker (that was me) or debugger (that too) each section contained pertinent cross references at the end. That meant you could both read the book end-to-end and use it as reference. My point (and I do have one in here somewhere) is that your book is a lot like a reference document. I looked at the section on running non-annoying meetings this morning (just so I would behave in a meeting I was going to). It may not be your usage model to have a book that is a reference guide on PM…but that’s how I use it. Anyhow – I really liked the book a lot, and recommend it to engineers who want to read about PM. I don’t know that many PMs or I’s suggest it to them too.


  5. Dave Graham

    I thought the first edition was great, and I’d be interested to see what’s changed in the 2nd. Happy to help review the 2nd draft.

  6. Steve Lawson


    I thoroughly enjoyed your first book thanks to my 20 year old daughter who bought it for me after I was asked to take a PM job with my current employer (Graybar Electric).

    I’m not currently involved in working with you on your second edition. How can I get involved and help?

  7. Chris Dahl

    Possibly an accompanying CD with project management document templates that you’ve used over the years Scott. I’ve found myself scouring the web over the years for such documents and they’re not always the easiest thing to find.

  8. usabilist

    Hi Scott,

    i think the book already covers most of topics in PM so there is barely a need to extend it. But, if you do, I would like to see more info on working with people – i mean “bad cases” like when someone in team is difficult to handle with and he makes a bad impact on the rest and so on ..

  9. Thijs

    I have to agree with Sundar. I was thrilled by the first 60%/70% of the book and found it a very entertaining read.

    Finishing it started to feel like a chore towards the end. Still useful information, but the flow in reading it was missing.

  10. Thijs

    I’d be happy to get the book out and try and find where it started to lose the flow for me if you’re interested by the way.

  11. Marina Romashko

    “Art of Project Management” has been great motivation for me in “making good stuff happen” in my career as Project Manager, not only.
    As new to Project Management, i find the book very helpful. Adding Exercises can be good thought and will help to implement a lot of techniques/ideas from the book in practice.
    Thanks, Scott

  12. Chris M.

    I’ve read the “Art of Project Management” twice and regularly refer to it when dealing with challenging situations. I’m currently using it to prepare for a promotion board/competition.

  13. Edmund

    I found your AOPM book excellent, it really stands out from all the others because it’s so packed with useful insights and hard won experience. Most books on PM are very dry and hard going because they focus on process and tools, not what it’s really about which is managing people. Please don’t change the overall intent of the book and make it like all the others. Let’s have more wisdom and less technical bumph!

  14. Terrence

    I love AOPM and gave it to all my engineers who found it a great help. We have very little in the way of dedicated PM resources in my shop, so everyone needs to do most of their own PM work. Often we find team leads and managers filling that role, which is a poor use of their time in many cases.

    I’d love to see more PM tips and tricks for non-PM staff. Simple templates (i.e. NOT MS Project) are a great help too to get people over the hump to actually doing PM.

  15. Martin

    I appreciate your first version, and I look forward to help you for the second version. And as you know, your first version is now available in French. Bravo !

    Maybe a suggestion ? I could be interesting to have :
    – more personal stories (in the last chapters, like a blogger already said) ;
    – to have more focus or tight content (for the last chapters) ;
    – a chapter on communication : what and how to communicate. For example, how to evangelise your project within your business unit / organization with the QCS (Quality / Costs, Schedules), with visual cues like traffic lights or meteorological icons, in order to communicate the synthesis of a project in 1 or 2 pages.

  16. M Petzold

    The option I voted for was to add problems to the end of the chapters. However, this can be a tricky thing to do in project management. What I see as really needed are case studies and simulations of what a project manager might face. I suspect this can be as difficult as writing the book in the first place.
    Also, if you are considering crossing the boundary to textbook territory, you might map out how your book satisfies the PMI certification criteria. I’m not a member, or certified, but that seems to be a big selling point of PM books in the textbook market.
    I could be available for review, if it would help.

  17. Kenneth

    I would like to see footnotes on the same pages as the reference or the information from the footnote incorporated into the text.

    I would also like to see detailed references on the quotes and ideas (more than just the person’s name). This is not a 100% problem because in some(most?) cases you do provide enough details or it can be discovered in conjunction with the bibliography.
    An example where it can be deduced is: On page 249 you quote Emerson in paragraph 2 and in paragraph 5 you provide an external reference which includes the quote in paragraph 2, though you can’t work forward from the quote in the text without further reading the page and then reading the reference outside the book.

    Some quotes look like they were copied off of a quote aggregation website. It would be more helpful if the Buddha’s quote on page 248 listed the “Kalama Sutta” as the source. It isn’t trivial to just search for that text and link it to the Kalama Sutta because of the particular wording of the quote you used. A google search of (“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it” buddha) returns 48,000 hits, a search of (“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it” buddha kalama) returns 7.

    and do this all without being overly pedantic!

    I would also like it if the words in the graphics were bolder for easier reading and add a secondary un-annotated alphabetical bibliography.

    Thanks, this book should have been titled “The art of working and getting stuff done.”

  18. Rob Grady

    Interesting problem can also be the interesting opportunity. I think the opportunity here is to broaden the audience to product management. I have found the principles of the book to apply to project management and product management. It’s a book I’ve continuously recommended and am planning on using as part of our internal product management training seminars. Looking forward to the next rev with exercises!



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