Published on Monday, April 20, 2009
"At my current workplace, I'm tasked with creating a rather complicated and metastasizing web-database application. I've mostly been the sole 'IT guy' at my workplaces in the past, so I've never had to, nor taken the time, to learn proper project management routines — code comments mostly got me through it. Now for this project, it's getting somewhat hairy and I'm sensing that I need to start doing things in a more organized manner. What resources would you direct me to? Books? (I wouldn't mind buying one good one.) Websites? What do proper 'specs' look like? Must I use UML (seems complicated and unintuitive) or a simpler ER diagram? For this job, I just need to provide better estimates for completing features, but what will I need if/when I would be working with a team?"
I recommend Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Theory in Practice) [amazon.com] by Scott Berkun. Berkun has quite a bit of experience working on and managing teams. You can check out his blog [scottberkun.com] for more info. and to get a taste of what his writing is like.
There are a ton of books out there - his blog has a sample chapter to read so you can see if this will work for you. I thought it was easy to read and covered quite a bit without getting bogged down. The table of contents [oreilly.com] breaks things down to a pretty low level - so that is another good way to see if it hits on what you need or if it might cover a lot of stuff you don't care about. I know I wish some of the people I've worked for had read it and took it to heart - especially the stuff about how not to annoy people.
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