This week’s selection is “Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide” by Greg Horine.
As many readers of this publication are technologists, I can hear the sigh. “Why do we have to learn about project management?” Or “Isn’t that something other people do?”
It’s true — project management is an entirely different discipline than technology, but it is absolutely necessary to attempt and succeed at any project that’s more than a trivial task, particularly if there are more than one or two people involved, and especially if there is distance between participants.
Project Management Benefits
Project management is a highly skilled profession whose practitioners have taken years of training. A good project manager can tackle incredibly complex projects and successfully plan them for everyone to execute. And they’ll usually make sure you do so.
Years ago when I was a lowly tech in companies, the idea of project management was quite foreign. Can’t you just do the work and get it done? Why would you need a plan, anyway?
Over time I learned the value of project management and its vital importance to achieving success in any even moderately complex activity. After learning the basic concepts, I actually apply them in almost every activity I perform these days, for work or otherwise.
Who Needs Project Management?
I recommend everyone have a taste of this important discipline, as it could significantly improve your progress on anything you’re pursuing. Simple project management could be incredibly useful to those in the 3D printing field as virtually all participants are using their equipment to do something practical.
In larger companies there may be individuals with formal project management roles, but this may not be the case for smaller operations. It’s those ventures that could most benefit from an understanding of project management, although even with a formal project manager, project participants could benefit from knowing why the project manager does what they do.
This book is in fact an introduction to project management. It contains far more detail than might be useful for the casual project participant. It begins with an overview of the concepts and the “essential elements” of any successful project.
Project Management Phases
Once the basics are understood, the book explains the three phases of any project:
Planning the project: What are the steps involved? Who does the work? When does all this happen? What depends on other things? Where are the constraints? How can the project be sped up, reduced in cost or increased in quality?
Controlling the project: What are the goals of the project? How do we measure success? What milestones must be achieved along the way? Where are the risks and how are they mitigated?
Executing a Project: How do participants know what to do, and when? What are the best ways to communicate? What happens when something is off-track?
And there’s much more.
Project Management in 3D Printing
Even in the smallest activity, many of these questions are beneficial to consider and plan. If you’ve never been exposed to project management, then this book could be for you.
With this knowledge, I am quite certain your 3D printing projects will be more successful, less stressful and perhaps even more profitable.