The Lazy Project Manager – Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis

The Lazy Project Manager is arguably one of the better project management books I read in a while.  It does not propose to teach your hard project management skills, the ones that being a PMP is all about: WBS, costs, schedules, etc.  Instead, it focuses on some of the softer skills, the ones that we often forget about, thinking that a good Gantt chart is all a project needs.  You probably have heard it all before at some point, but the book is a short, it reads well and serves as a great reminder.

As someone said on Shelfari.com, “Twice the taste, half the calories of regular project managers.”  And writing a simplified synopsis of it is easy — Peter Taylor provides it himself at the end of the book.

  • A project is thick, then thin, then thick again.  As a project manager, work hard at the start of the project.  Then you can rest in the middle of it and work again at the end to see it to a great close.  Kind of a variation on the old proverbs: measure 10 times, cut once; fail to plan, plan to fail.
  • Stay ahead of the game, start confidently, dress appropriately.  I especially like the dress appropriately part.  Dress appropriately for being in charge of a project, and not just for the organization you work for.  You don’t have to wear a suit everyday but being dressed a notch above everyone else won’t hurt.
  • Manage your project sponsor; know what’s in it for them.
  • Manage the project and scope creep.
  • Avoid communication breakdown.  But know when to communicate and how.  Multi-page status reports make for great documentation but, if nobody reads them, for poor communication.  As a project manager, sometimes you have to get out of your office and have a face-to-face conversation.
  • Have fun.
  • Stay calm.
  • Get the best team and retain them.
  • Don’t overload yourself.
  • And make sure to learn from each project.

I love books that can be summarized in a bullet list.