The Blind Men and the Elephant: Mastering Project Work Review

The Blind Men and the Elephant: Mastering Project Work
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I've got quite a shelf of books on project management, some excellent, some not so good, but nearly all centering on the mechanics of planning, organizing, and controlling a project effort.What's been lacking is a good view of projects as a human activity--which is kind of strange, since every project I've ever seen has been carried out by human beings.
David Schmaltz's book, "The Blind Men and the Elephant," is a welcome addition to the project management literature.It won't teach you how to draw a PERT chart, or use Microsoft Project, or construct a formal work breakdown and budget.What it will do is give you some invaluable tools for thinking about projects and the people who do them--including yourself.
Schmaltz uses John Godfrey Saxe's classic poem about the blind men who perceive an elephant (depending on which part they touch) as a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan and a rope to illustrate lessons about human beings in project situations--lessons ranging from the only form of real motivation (what do you really want from your participation in this project?) to the nurturing of communities that truly cooperate and support each other in carrying out a project.The style is personal, idiosyncratic and quirky, in the best sense of the words--the lessons are presented and illustrated with personal stories that are a delight to read even if you're not trying to manage a project at the moment.
"The Blind Men and the Elephant" is not a replacement for a good textbook on organizing and managing the mechanics of a project; it's something far harder to find--an essential addition to the shelf of any project manager who might someday have to deal with human beings.

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Product Description:
Using the "blind men and the elephant" metaphor, this useful guide explains how a "follow the leader" approach creates troubled projects by pulling attention from the real source of power and authority - the individual. Using real-world stories, it shows how anyone can transform a fuzzy project assignment into a meaningful, satisfying experience. Author David A. Schmaltz·-- creator of True North's Mastering Projects Workshop at Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Project Sun Workshop -- reframes the root cause of difficulties in project work, singling out "incoherence" (the inability of people to make common meaning from their common experience) as the main obstacle, and presents a set of simple, easily available techniques to increase a project's coherence and its participants' enjoyment of the process.

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