Any artofpm corrections?
The revision of Making things happen (formerly known as the art of project management) is wrapping up.
As a last call for anyone with a correction, typo, or reference suggestion they’ve found in their edition of the book, Speak up now! Anything that you’ve though should or could be fixed is fair game.
Reward: If you’re the first to suggest a correction that gets made, I’ll get you a copy of the updated book!
Leave a comment if you’ve got something. Cheers.
In my copy of TAOPM (First Edition, April 2005) there’s a short list of typos:
On page 4: s/these inquires/these inquiries/.
On page 47: s/to makes its dates/to make its dates/.
And for the index I’d like to suggest an entry “measure of work” (refering to page 454 in TAOPM).
To be honest with you and to give candid feedback, I really would like to see some work done on the organization of the book. Let me explain, for what it’s worth.
One of the things that really frustrated me was the number of times that something touched on but quickly shooed away by saying “topic x will be expanded on in chapter y”. Well, that or something to that effect. Those kinds of things nagged at me, because it was usually several chapters away and, of course, by then I won’t tie the ideas back to where they were touched upon earlier. I would have almost preferred if the topic[s] had been left alone until their proper chapter, because this simply added to the confusion.
Another thing (sorry!) was that sometimes I felt the brevity could be improved to varying degrees. Sometimes I found myself reading several paragraphs under each bullet point, something which I felt detracted from the whole idea of using bullet points. If something requires three paragraphs of exposition, perhaps it should not be introduced as a bullet point in a list. I more than once almost forgot what the list was about because I was buried in the details of the particular bullet point itself.
Again, in so far as the organization is concerned, I really think it would benefit from being pruned a bit in many places. I don’t know a tactful way to put it, but I felt like more than once you went off on somewhat tangential discussions that really, -really- drew me away from what the chapter was supposed to be about. I seriously stopped and asked myself, quite a few times, “What did that have to do with the chapter?”. That actually happened a few times when it -wasn’t- a tangential discussion, which brings me to my final request.
Please, if nothing else, invest some time in running through the chapters and asking yourself if every couple of paragraphs you have something to tie the material back with the main idea of the chapter. I very frequently found the book lacking in this regard. I should never have to think about what the chapter is about, it should be evident to the reader without having to flip back to the start or forward to the summary.
I really hope you find this information useful. I am not trying to be critical or nit picky or anything of the sort. I in fact read your second book first, so perhaps that has biased my views slightly. I personally found your second book to be much more concise and a lot better about the sort of things I mentioned above, so I have no doubt that you’re a capable writer that has since improved his craft. I look forward to the next edition of your PM book and that it shows some of the polish that ‘Myths of Innovation’ had.
Thanks for inviting reader comments and for reading all this!
Hey – criticism is good. No worries. You won’t offend me I promise :)
The challenge for me is two things:
1) Your feedback is totally valid, but knowing what to do with it is something else entirely. I’ve had folks tell me they like the asides: so should I keep them and disappoint you, or trim them and disappoint them? On this end, it’s tricky. Like making software, sometimes the critique is clear but the action isn’t.
2) The book is intentionally raw. It’s a handbook more than anything else. And yes I abuse the hell out of bulleted lists. I wouldn’t write the book that way today, but my aim was to cram in advice and tactics – make it easy to skim and refer – not a jolly good read like Myths is. I can’t fix that in revision: I can tame it, but not reinvent it.
If you have specific examples that’d be useful (Where did you get lost? What were the worst tangents? etc.) Then at least I can make sure to review those and see what I can do.