Lessons Learned in Project Management: Oct 2015 PM Book Club Review

Lessons Learned in Project Management
Lessons Learned in Project Management

Title: Lessons Learned in Project Management: 140 Tips in 140 Words or Less
Author: John A. Estrella, PhD
Year: 2010
PMEvolution.com Book Club Review: October 2015

Lessons Learned in Project Management: 140 Tips in 140 Words or Less is a unique format with brief PM tips from a wide range of individuals. While a straight read is possible, it may be most beneficial to read each tip similarly to how you’d read a tip-a-day type calendar and taking some time to reflect on each tip.

Below are five top tips from the book and some reflection on each. (Note: Only the title of each tip is listed below. Check out the book for the full 140 words on each.)


Plan only details that you intend to monitor during project execution (Ana Maria Rodriguez, MSE, PMP)


A lesson learned early for project managers and one, once learned, you’ll fight to teach others who always want more detail in tasks, time entries, WBS, specifications, etc. Consider the level of detail that is important to track for the project to stay on course. While you will have various levels of detail for different levels of reporting, find that lowest level of granularity required for reporting and don’t ask your team to document or report status below that level.


Create a conducive work environment for the project team (Robert Posener, Project Manager, PMComplete Pty Ltd)


The role of the project manager is not to DO the work, it is to ensure the goals of the project (customer) are achieved. Removing obstacles, developing a true team mentality, caring about individual team members and their personal success, etc. are the ways project managers have the greatest impact on their projects.


Always give credit where it’s due (Robert Van De Velde)


As with most leadership roles, the buck stops with the project manager. While failures rest on the shoulders of the project manager, credit for successes, especially creative ideas and extra effort, are best given to individuals. If this doesn’t sit well with you, if it doesn’t seem fair, consider whether you really want to be in a leadership position.


Keep your plans agile and objectives personal (Nic Evans)


Know that the near term aspects of your plan will be more accurate than the further out aspects. Expect to regularly assess how realistic your plan is and adjust it, along with stakeholder expectations, accordingly. Knowing that objectives will be less fluid than plans, give individuals objectives to help guide their decision making. Open up their ability to challenge plan details when they don’t line up with their objectives.


Learn basic accounting (John A Estrella, PhD)


At some level, all organizations must relate things to the bottom line. Project managers who can communicate effectively with the finance and accounting departments will stand a much better chance of having their budget discussions resonate with the sponsor.



  • If you’ve read the book, which tip resonated with you the most?
  • Share a lesson you’ve learned in project management in 140 words or less.

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