Book Review: Project Leadership by Sarah Coleman and Donnie MacNicol

In this blog I’m doing a brief review of Project Leadership.

It’s fair to say that there are plenty of books around on Project Management. In fact a quick search on Amazon UK highlighted over 40,000 on this topic while the term Project Leadership had just over 6,000.

In some ways this is surprising. While there may well be dedicated project specialists for really large scale organisational projects, more often than not it is a generalist who takes the lead or is part of a leadership team driving projects and change.

When I think back over the 25 years I spent in accounting and consulting roles in big organisations I was involved in a whole range of projects. These ranged from product launches, to system changes to partnerships and even full scale service re-organisations.

Looking at most books on projects the focus is very much on the mechanics, governance, reporting and the like. All of which is vitally important to get things done.

Yet like leadership in general the real challenge of the Project Leadership is achieving results through others. Simple to say but as anyone who has ever been involved in a significant project, not always easy to do.

What I really liked about this book was that rather than getting bogged down in the mechanics of projects, it really focused on the importance of non-technical or soft skills. As well as identifying the 3 core elements, the book also went much further providing plenty of options for developing both personal and organisational capability.

Another distinguishing feature of the book was the excellent use of diagrams to get the essential points across quickly and effectively. One example of this Figure 8.3 where it brought home the very different ideas and perceptions of success among different stakeholder groups. Something that is easy to overlook, especially in big organisations.

The use of a visual to highlight who and what type of approach to different stakeholder groups set out in Figure 10.2 was another example of excellent use of a diagram to simplify.

If you are a professional from any discipline who is taking a significant role in a project, this book will definitely help you increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome.

Duncan Brodie helps accountants and professionals to successfully transition to leadership roles.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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