This week’s selection is “Project Management For Dummies” by Stanley E. Portny.
You might be wondering why a book on project management would be recommended for 3D printer operators. It turns out there are some very good reasons for doing so.
To most technical folks, the concept of project management is quite foreign. Many believe the key to any activity is the technical work, the core of the project. That’s in a way quite true, but at the same time that technical work can be done more efficiently, at less cost and with fewer mistakes if a dose of project management is applied.
I recall a time when a technical leader told me that “project management is just something everyone does.” Nothing could be further from the truth; while people participate in project management, they are usually not the ones doing the project management.
Project management is actually a highly refined science involving time-tested principles and certification programs to ensure practitioners adhere to those standards.
In my experience, I’d rather have a trained project manager on my team than not, because they have the skills to organize activities in ways technical folks often don’t see. They do this by following processes that reveal the true path of progress through all required tasks. Then they construct the project by sequencing the activities in the most optimal fashion.
For larger projects involving multiple people this type of planning is simply mandatory, or else problems will inevitably result later on when it’s too late to recover.
But for smaller projects, even for single-person projects, many of the project management concepts still apply. When should supplies be ordered to ensure they are on hand when they’ll be required? Is some training required before that task can be executed? What happens if an approach fails? What is the secondary approach, and what is the risk of that happening?
These and many other questions are typically answered well in advance by project management planning, and they occur in any project, large or small.
For those readers unfamiliar with project management this book could be a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the general principles of the discipline. While you won’t become a project manager, as that requires years of training and certification, you will gain an appreciation of the science behind project management and can then begin to apply the principles to your own work, even in a small way.
Let’s make projects better, one step at a time.
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