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51eKSkAVizL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_The Fundamentals of Project Management by Joseph Heagney is a book about… the fundamentals of project management.

Fundamentals is a book very much like A Compact Guide to the Complex World of Project ManagementI decided to pick up another project management book because our team at Petruzzo Photography is growing. My role is becoming more and more that of a project manager on their behalf, and things around here are still pretty messy.

Who needs to be where when, with what, and doing exactly what is needed is still a challenge, but one that we’re going to get better at come hell or high water.

What I liked about this book, especially over A Compact Guide, is that Fundamentals is really written more conversationally. It’s much less like a user manual, and much more like a human introduction. Like A Compact Guide, Heagney goes through the broad strokes on the PMBOK, the project management body of knowledge, put out by the Project Management Institute.

Unlike A Compact Guide, this book is much more willing to go off course to help the reader understand the concept, rather than simply the stated PMI standard. Technical diagrams are used to explain some concepts, but there are often simplified diagrams as well.

Another thing I liked about this book is that Heagney is not an apologist for the exact way PMBOK prescribes we approach project management. He goes to lengths to explain why certain standards are important, but isn’t shy to remind us that the important thing is that the project is completed on-time and ideally, under-budget.

Something else I found very refreshing was Heagney’s human approach. He devotes a lot of text to thinking about the human element of the project team and helping the reader to realize that project management is not a series of switches and levers, which when pulled at the right time, in the right order, magically makes the project go. Rather, like anything that brings people together to do something, there’s going to be a mess.

Toward the end of the book, things began to feel like they were dragging. Perhaps it was the persistent conversational style that I was appreciating in the beginning of the book, but wishing he’d just bullet point things by the end. Never the less, the chapters were fairly short and it was definitely worth reading.

If you’re running a business, both Fundamentals and A Compact Guide are probably useful, but I would read Fundamentals first, and use A Compact Guide as a refresher a few months later.