Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
When evaluating whether this text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately, I find myself referring back to the core subjects covered in Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and what I cover in my own introductory class. Given this, prior to reading this text and equipped with an understanding of the purpose behind this textbook (to cover the basics of project management), I expected the following topics to be covered:
1. What is a Project? Not only providing a basic definition of what a project is, but also covering project initiation context and how projects enable value creation within organizations.
2. The Importance of Project Management
3. Careers in Project Management
4. An examination and analysis of the Project Life Cycle (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, Closing)
5. An examination and analysis of the Role of the Project Manager
6. Project Scope
7. Project Schedule
8. Project Cost
9. Project Quality
10. Project Resource Management
11. Project Risk Management
12. Project Procurement
13. Project Communication Management
14. Project Stakeholder Management
Regarding Item #1, while the 4 basic elements that constitute the definition of a project were clearly discussed and elaborated upon, additional information could have been shared about project initiation context and how projects enable value creation. In particular, I felt as though the project initiation context was not covered very much. It was really only covered on page 18 (Understanding the Project Environment) which is detrimental to the reader because projects exist and operate in environments that may have an influence on them. These influences can have a favorable or unfavorable impact on the project and can make a material difference on the outcomes that they may experience, so coverage of the two major categories, i.e. enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) and organizational process assets (OPAs) would have been beneficial.
Regarding Item #2, the importance of project management is clearly emphasized. While not explicitly stated, in combination with Item #3, it is clearly highlighted as being a critical discipline that has applicability to every domain of an individual's life and career.
Regarding Item #4, Chapter 3 appropriately covered all of the major elements of the Project Life Cycle.
Regarding Item #5, the role of the Project Manager was clearly articulated within page 14 (an examination of common project constraints), but further elaboration on a Project Manager's Sphere of Influence would have been beneficial.
Regarding Item #6, Chapter 9 offers a concise summary of the critical concepts and is effective in covering all the critical concepts associated with Project Scope. The only area of further development or coverage I could suggest is some further information be added about unique considerations that must be taken into account when working in an agile/adaptive environment and how that impacts the evolution of project scope.
Regarding Items 7 through 9, each subject is covered with an appropriate amount of depth for an introductory textbook and provides readers with the necessary information to understand the concept and begin the process of applying related techniques and terminology to their everyday lives.
In my copy of the text, I saw no clearly labeled glossary of key terms that students could refer to while reading. This is, perhaps, one of the greatest improvements that could be made, as within the discipline, we have a number of unique terms (e.g., work package, work breakdown structure, critical path method). All of these terms are difficult terms to understand for students with little to no prior exposure to the topic, so the inclusion of a clearly labelled glossary of key terms would act as a tremendous resource for students to continuously refer to and would dramatically improve the overall reading experience.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
This book does include multiple accurate, error-free, and unbiased examples and tools. Within each chapter (albeit in varying degrees) flowcharts, diagrams, forms, and tables, which are made more relevant by examples are included. Examples are in alignment with PMBOK standards and do not suggest a biased opinion of any kind.
Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
The content is highly relevant, even today, and will not become obsolete within a short period of time. I had originally considered suggesting the inclusion of COVID-19 related examples, but the inclusion of such examples may prove to make the text obsolete in a few years' time, so it is worth leaving out. Regarding whether the text is written and/or arrange in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement, I believe that given my comments in the Organization/Structure/Flow and Modularity sections, it is clear that I believe additions in the future can be made without compromising the overall flow of the book.
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
The text was written in a manner that utilized lucid and accessible prose, while still providing adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used. I came to this determination by evaluation the following elements: word order, the utilization of long sentences, the structure of paragraphs and sentences, and avoiding ambiguity and vagueness.
Across all of these criteria points, the text met and exceeded my expectations. The word order was easy to understand, long sentences were not frequently utilized, the structure of paragraphs and sentences was clear, and the text was not ambiguous in any way. In all instances, the text included had an intended purpose and it accomplished its purpose with little to no ambiguity.
Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. Throughout the text, the following common acronyms are used appropriately and consistently:
AC = actual cost
BAC = budget at completion
CCB = change control board
COQ = cost of quality
CPAF = cost plus award fee
CPFF = cost plus fixed fee fixed fee
CPI = cost performance index
CPIF = cost plus incentive fee
CPM = critical path method
CV = cost variance
EAC = estimate at completion
EF = early finish date
ES = early start date
ETC = estimate to complete
EV = earned value
EVM = earned value management
FF = finish-to-finish
FFP = firm fixed price
FPEPA = fixed price with economic price adjustment
FPIF = fixed price incentive fee
FS = finish to start
IFB = invitation for bid
LF = late finish date
LOE = level of effort
LS = late start date
OBS = organizational breakdown structure
PMBOK = Project Management Body of Knowledge
PV = planned value
RACI = responsible, accountable, consult, and inform
RAM = responsibility assignment matrix
RBS = risk breakdown structure
OBS = organizational breakdown structure
All frameworks were consistently utilized and applied. In particular, the Stakeholder Analysis Template was accurately utilized.
Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
While the text is generally easily and readily divisible, additional headings could have been utilized throughout to enable the development of more easily definable and smaller reading sections. In particular, on page 15, the Triple Constraint Theory is discussed, but it is included in a larger section about the types of project constraints that exist. What would have been advisable to do is on Page 14, create a specific heading that says "Common Project Constraints" and then begin the list with the statement "On any project, you will have a number of project constraints that are competing for your attention. They are cost, scope, quality, risk, resources, and time." You can then retain the page as it is written and formatted, but then on the next page (Page 15) You can create a separate heading that indicates the start of the "Triple Constraint Theory" section and then proceed.
Asides from this, the rest of the sections felt digestible and could be easily reorganized or realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting too much disruption to the reader.
Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
The topics are presented in a logical, clear fashion. For students, I often find that starting with the macro-level topics and then progressing forward to more micro-level topics is the best approach and while this textbook does not deviate from that formula at all, it is effective in ensuring that students are easily able to follow along with the concepts being covered. The only potential suggestion that I could offer regarding organization/structure/flow is to move everything between HR Planning on Page 111 and 127 (problem-solving teams being the last section to include) to much earlier in the book (i.e. under Chapter 2), as those are all very general tips related to Management and Leadership, which can be alluded to in Chapter 11, but may be more logical to include in Chapter 2 because they are all essential skills that need to be developed and utilized by a Project Manager.
Organization Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.
Interface Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
For the most part, the text does not contain any grammatical or spelling errors. The only major area that were not error-free was the Accessibility Statement contained on Page VI and VII. Every heading contained on that page lacked the appropriate capitalization and needs to be revised. I have included a series of examples down below:
"Accessibility features of the web version of this resource" needs to be changed to "Accessibility Features of the Web Version of This Resource"
"Other file formats available" needs to be changed to "Other File Formats Available"
"Known accessibility issues and areas for improvement" needs to be changed to "Known Accessibility Issues and Areas for Improvement"
"Let us know if you are having problems accessing this book" should be changed to "Having Trouble Accessing This Book? Supports Options Available"
Subsequent to this, the following minor changes should be made:
On Page 1, under the example of Restaurant Owner/Manager, one of the statements should be revised to read "Strong planning skills, especially coordinating with the various departments (e.g., kitchen, dinning room, banquet operations food service managers, and vendors providing the supplies) ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience. Managers' abilities to recruit, retain, and monitor employee performance and training, ensures quality with cost containment."
On Page 7, revise "Software developer" to "Software Developer"
Grammar Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
While the textbook does a good job of reflecting cultural diversity through the integration of various examples that are contextually different (i.e. an example of how culture affects communication in Mumbai on page 48), greater inclusion of more examples that could apply to diverse groups, would have been beneficial. For example, on Page 133, the example provided to walk through the process of Analogous estimation is an example of John moving after he sold his apartment. For some Indigenous students in British Columbia, greater inclusion of more relatable examples such as the cost to fly in to a major city like Vancouver or Victoria from their community or scheduling a number of events within the context of a Community Gathering would have been beneficial.
Additionally, for the vast majority of examples provided, I did not see too much gender diversity. A lot of the examples were utilizing "he" or "she" pronouns and according to my records, none of the examples utilized non-binary pronouns. To that end, moving forward, I would suggest that more gender-neutral terminology be used within the context of examples.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
I would recommend this book for utilization with the target demographic of 1st Year Post-Secondary students. In Project Management, we often say that continual improvement is a foundational theory in quality management and while much remains the same from the first edition, new elements are woven into the text, and it is a better standard for the changes.
Throughout, the new edition contains little tweaks and modifications that improve the content and the flow. Much of this may not be apparent to readers who may only notice a broad sense of ease of use and understanding.
As of present, the major thing that is impeding adoption of this textbook in the classroom is a lack of a Glossary to define key terms. Glossaries can be useful for helping students identify and acquire the vocabulary of the discipline. Having students intuitively understand words from their use in readings or in class is often not the best solution since not all students have the skills required to learn vocabulary from limited exposure. Additionally, providing a glossary ensures that students have an accurate source for word definitions.
By learning and understanding the words found in the glossary, the student can become more adapt at properly using Project Management specific vocabulary and through practice acquire, a better understanding of the related concepts.
Minor changes include the renaming of several processes to improve clarity or internal consistency have also been implemented.
As a discipline, Project Management is regularly evolving and "Project Management: 2nd Edition" by Adrienne Watt continued to stand as a wonderful textbook that can provide users with a solid foundation in Project Management.