The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management

by Eric Verzuh

Hardcover(5th Revised ed.)

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The all-inclusive guide to exceptional project management

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management is the comprehensive guide to real-world project management methods, tools, and techniques. Practical, easy-to-use, and deeply thorough, this book gives you answers you need now. You'll find the cutting-edge ideas and hard-won wisdom of one of the field's leading experts, delivered in short, lively segments that address common management issues. Brief descriptions of important concepts, tips on real-world applications, and compact case studies illustrate the most sought-after skills and the pitfalls you should watch out for. This new fifth edition features new case studies, new information on engaging stakeholders, change management, new guidance on using Agile techniques, and new content that integrates current events and trends in the project management sphere.

Project management is a complex role, with seemingly conflicting demands that must be coordinated into a single, overarching, executable strategy — all within certain time, resource, and budget constraints. This book shows you how to get it all together and get it done, with expert guidance every step of the way.

  • Navigate complex management issues effectively
  • Master key concepts and real-world applications
  • Learn from case studies of today's leading experts
  • Keep your project on track, on time, and on budget
From finding the right sponsor to clarifying objectives to setting a realistic schedule and budget projection, all across different departments, executive levels, or technical domains, project management incorporates a wide range of competencies. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management shows you what you need to know, the best way to do it, and what to watch out for along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119148227
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/09/2015
Series: Fast Forward MBA Series
Edition description: 5th Revised ed.
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 402,289
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

ERIC VERZUH is President of The Versatile Company, a project management training and consulting firm based in Seattle, Washington. His company trains thousands of professionals every year in the fundamentals of successful project management. Verzuh is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute and the author of The Portable MBA in Project Management, published by Wiley. Contact him at or e-mail him at

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Table of Contents

Forms Available Online xii

Acknowledgments xiii

About the Author xv

Preface xvii

Part 1 Introduction

Chapter 1—Project Management: A Platform for Innovation 2

Introduction 2

Project Management is Keeping Pace with Global Change 4

Project Management is an Essential Leadership Skillset 5

Successful Projects Deliver Value 5

The Art and Science of Project Leadership 6

A Practical Checklist for Successful Projects: How This Book Will Help You 8

Beyond the Book: Tools for Application and Continuous Learning 11

End Point 13

Stellar Performer: OrthoSpot 14

Stellar Performer: PM4NGOs 15

Chapter 2—Foundation Principles of Project Management 17

Introduction 17

Projects Require Project Management 17

The Challenge of Managing Projects 19

The Evolution of a Discipline 20

The Definition of Success 24

Project Management Functions 26

Project Life Cycle 28

Organizing for Projects 31

Project Managers Are Leaders 35

End Point 36

Stellar Performer: Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center 37

Chapter 3—Build Great Products: Lessons from Agile, Lean Start-Up, and Stage-Gate 42

Introduction 42

Defining Value: A New Lens for Judging Projects Informs the Development Process 43

Leverage a Consistent Product Development Process 44

Best Practices for Capturing Requirements Are Integrated into a Product Development Process 47

A Development Process is Not Project Management 48

Innovation Projects Experiment to Discover Desirability and Viability 49

End Point 51

Stellar Performer: The Lean Startup Innovation Movement 53

Stellar Performer: The Agile Approach to Software Development 57

Stellar Performer: The Stage-Gate System for New-Product Development 65

Part 2 Defining the Project

Chapter 4—Project Initiation: Turning a Problem or Opportunity into a Project 74

Introduction 74

Project Initiation’s Place in the Project Life Cycle 75

A Proposal Defines the Future Business Value 77

Managing Requirements is Tightly Linked to Project Initiation 78

Common Principles for Project Initiation 80

Basic Project Proposal Content 85

Designing a Realistic Initiation Process 88

End Point 89

Stellar Performer: The Logical Framework Approach 90

Chapter 5—Know Your Key Stakeholders and Win Their Cooperation 98

Introduction 98

Stakeholder Focus Throughout the Life of the Project 99

Stakeholder Management is Risk Management for People 101

Stakeholder Roles: Project Manager 102

Stakeholder Roles: Project Team 102

Stakeholder Roles: Management 103

Stakeholder Roles: The Customer 106

Affected Stakeholders Can Make Crucial Contributions 108

Engage Affected Stakeholders 110

Lead the Stakeholders 112

End Point 113

Fast Foundation in Project Management 113

Chapter 6—Write the Rules: Key Documents to Manage Expectations and Define Success 116

Introduction 116

Project Rules Are the Foundation 117

Publish a Project Charter 119

Write a Statement of Work 121

Statement of Work: Minimum Content 122

Responsibility Matrix 129

End Point 132

Fast Foundation in Project Management 133

Part 3 The Planning Process

Chapter 7—Risk Management: Minimize the Threats to Your Project 137

Introduction 137

All Project Management is Risk Management 138

The Risk Management Framework 141

Step One: Identify the Risks 142

Step Two: Analyze and Prioritize the Risks 146

Step Three: Develop Response Plans 152

Step Four: Establish Contingency and Reserve 158

Step Five: Continuous Risk Management 159

Unexpected Leadership 160

End Point 160

Fast Foundation in Project Management 161

Chapter 8—Work Breakdown Structure: Break Your Project into Manageable Units of Work 164

Introduction 164

Defining the Work Breakdown Structure 165

Building a Work Breakdown Structure 168

Criteria for a Successful Work Breakdown Structure 172

Work Package Size 175

Planning for Quality 177

Breaking Down Large Programs 179

Contractors or Vendors Can Provide a WBS 180

End Point 180

Chapter 9—Realistic Scheduling 183

Introduction 183

Planning Overview 183

Planning Step Two: Identify Task Relationships 185

Planning Step Three: Estimate Work Packages 189

Planning Step Four: Calculate an Initial Schedule 195

Planning Step Five: Assign and Level Resources 203

Small Projects Need Smaller Plans 213

End Point 214

Fast Foundation in Project Management 214

Chapter 10—Managing Agile Development with Scrum 216

Introduction 216

Scrum is a Framework 217

Managing the Product Backlog 223

Make the Plan Visible: Task Boards and Burndown Charts 225

Key Factors for Scrum to Be Effective 227

End Point 229

Chapter 11—The Art and Science of Accurate Estimating 230

Introduction 230

Estimating Fundamentals 231

Estimating Techniques 237

Building the Detailed Budget Estimate 246

Generating the Cash Flow Schedule 253

End Point 254

Fast Foundation in Project Management 254

Stellar Performer: Tynet, Inc. 255

Stellar Performer: Adobe Systems 258

Chapter 12—Balancing the Trade-Off Among Cost, Schedule, and Quality 264

Introduction 264

Three Levels of Balancing a Project 265

Balancing at the Project Level 266

Balancing at the Business Case Level 278

Balancing at the Enterprise Level 283

End Point 284

Stellar Performer: Safeco Field 285

Stellar Performer: Boeing 767-400ER Program 289

Part 4 Controlling the Project

Chapter 13—Building a High-Performance Project Team 294

Introduction 294

A Framework for Building High-Performance Teams 298

Leadership Responsibilities 302

Building a Positive Team Environment 306

Ground Rules 307

Team Identity 309

Team Listening Skills 313

Meeting Management 317

Summary of Building a Positive Team Environment 317

Collaborative Problem Solving 319

Problem Analysis 319

Decision Modes 321

Conflict Management 326

Continuous Learning 329

Summary of Collaborative Problem Solving 333

Job Satisfaction 333

End Point 334

Stellar Performer: Habitat for Humanity 335

Chapter 14—Clear Communication Among Project Stakeholders 337

Introduction 337

Embrace Your Role as a Leader 338

Creating a Communication Plan 338

Change Management: Promote Behavior Change in Affected Stakeholders 345

Communicating Within the Project Team 353

Stellar Performer: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics 359

Closeout Reporting 361

End Point 362

Fast Foundation in Project Management 363

Chapter 15—Control Scope to Deliver Value 365

Introduction 365

The Change Control Process 366

Configuration Management 372

Change Control is Essential for Managing Expectations 374

End Point 374

Fast Foundation in Project Management 374

Chapter 16—Measuring Progress 376

Introduction 376

Measuring Schedule Performance 376

Measuring Cost Performance 380

Earned Value Reporting 382

Cost and Schedule Baselines 391

End Point 393

Chapter 17—Solving Common Project Problems 396

Introduction 396

Responsibility Beyond Your Authority 396

Disaster Recovery 397

Reducing the Time to Market 398

When the Customer Delays the Project 399

The Impossible Dream 400

Fighting Fires 401

Managing Volunteers 401

End Point 402

Part 5 Advancing Your Practice of Project Management

Chapter 18—Enterprise Project Management: Coordinate All Projects and Project Resources in Your Organization 405

Introduction 405

Defining Enterprise Project Management 407

Three Tiers of Management Within EPM 409

The Four Components of EPM 411

Establish Consistent EPM Processes 412

Technology Enables EPM Processes 415

The People Who Deliver Projects 419

Support Project Management: The Project Office 420

End Point 428

Stellar Performer: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Enterprise Project Management Office 430

Chapter 19—Requirements Engineering: The Key to Building the Right Product 437
James Rivera and Eric Verzuh

Introduction 437

Requirements Engineering and Project Management Are Intimately Connected 438

Requirement Types Illustrate the Evolving Product Vision 439

Requirements Engineering Scope and Processes 441

Requirements Development Activities 443

Requirements Management Activities 445

Requirements Documentation Techniques 447

Requirements Engineering Demands Discipline 447

End Point 449

Chapter 20—Project Portfolio Management: Align Project Resources with Business Strategy 450
Ralph Kliem and Eric Verzuh

Introduction 450

The Scope and Goals of the Portfolio 452

Stakeholders: Roles in Project Portfolio Management 453

PPM Information Supports Decisions 455

Project Selection and Prioritization 456

Ongoing Portfolio Management 459

Monitor the Results of Projects and the Portfolio 460

Culture Change 461

End Point 461

Chapter 21—PMP Exam Preparation 462
Tony Johnson

Introduction 462

Requirements to Earn the PMP 463

Top 10 Study Tips for the PMP Exam 463

End Point 467

Chapter 22—Microsoft Project: Guidelines for Effective Use 468

Introduction 468

Project Management Software Supports

the Discipline 469

Looking Under the Hood: The Design of Project 469

Set Up the Project First 471

Follow the Planning Model in This Book 471

Task Types: Fix the Duration, Work, or Resource Level 473

Assigning Resources to a Project 473

Resource Leveling Your Schedule 476

Maintaining the Plan Throughout the Project 478

Project Server and Project Web App 479

End Point 480

Appendix A: The Detailed Planning Model 481

Appendix B: Downloadable Form Samples 490

Notes 495

Index 497

Customer Reviews