Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management

Author: Scott Berkun
Pages: 408
Publisher: O’Reilly
ISBN: 0596517718


It doesn’t matter if you just got that promotion and you’re supposed to oversee a project or if you’re a one man band working on something, “Making Things Happen” is essentially for anyone.

Why is this review on a website dedicated to computer security? Well, project management is essential in every aspect of an organization and the security team is no exception. Having a firm grasp on how to work on a given task and create a positive environment filled with communication should be the basis for any project. This is where Scott Berkun comes in and delivers a book that shines a bright light into the right direction.

About the author

Scott Berkun worked on the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft from 1994-1999 and left the company in 2003 with the goal of writing enough books to fill a shelf. He makes a living writing, teaching and speaking.

Inside the book

What I really like about this book is the fact that it doesn’t just tell you what to do. It guides you through the thinking process involved in the various stages of a projects and helps you evaluate what’s important at every stage.

You’ve got the project going on as planned, the ideas are flowing and then something unfortunate happens. Things are bound to go wrong at a certain point and it’s all about how you handle the situation that will decide the outcome of your project. Don’t worry, the author has some advice for you, lots of it actually. That advice translates to the entire book as the Berkun didn’t just use his own experience but also interviewed more than a dozen project managers.

“Making Things Happen” is filled with examples you’ll see as useful. For example, what’s the difference between a good and a bad e-mail? The author provides both and illustrates the differences.

In order to make the material both easier to digest and find at a later time, each chapter closes with a summary of what’s been presented as well as assorted exercises. I must say that this approach is exceptional as it not only makes you think about a variety of details and situations but it also sharpens what you’ve learned in the book, and forces you to apply it to real-world situations.

Final thoughts

Forget piles of unnecessary information, boring theories and charts, this title is all about real-world experience and practical examples. If your aim is to understand project management and discover how to manage your projects well, “Making Things Happen” is definitely the next book you should read.

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