Although managing projects has been going on for thousands of years, the practice has only recently been
recognized as a discipline in its own right. Suddenly master’s-level degree programs are springing up at
schools throughout the world, and certificate programs are being offered as well. Not only that, but some
organizations have begun to ask their contractors to provide only project managers who have been certified as
professionals by the Project Management Institute, the professional society for practitioners.
In today’s fast-paced world, organizations that practice sound project management methods have a
competitive advantage over those who fly by the seat of the pants. Why? Because competition is rapidly
becoming time-based as well as cost-based. That is, if you can get a product or service to market faster than
anyone else, you have an edge on your competition. Further, if you can control the costs of your work better
than others, you can sell your products or services at lower margins; “sloppy” management requires that
goods be sold at higher margins in order to make sure the business is profitable.
What if you aren’t dealing in products or services? The same principle applies. If you are nonprofit or a
government agency, you face competition from others who might be able to do your work more efficiently
(and at lower cost). In short, we must all learn to work smarter, not harder, in order to survive into the
twenty-first century. Managing projects better is one way to achieve that result.
This book gives you a fast-track approach to managing your own projects. You will learn the essential steps in
setting up project plans, scheduling your work, and monitoring progress/exercising control to achieve desired
The approach outlined in this book is based on what is considered best practice by experts in the field. If you
follow the methods presented here, you will increase the probability that you can meet critical performance,
cost, and schedule targets. Admittedly, there is a lot more to project management than can be presented in this
short book, but if you learn the essence of the tools, you can go on from there to increase your skill.