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I regret giving this book away. It’s a desk reference that I use for my current job, managing project managers. It’s very, very helpful.
Optimizing Human Capital with a Strategic Project Office by Jeannette Cabanis–Brewin has an awkwardly long subtitle. It is also rather boring, with an outdated looking cover. It’s still a great way to get the most out of project managers even if you don’t have a Strategic Project Office.
The authors write that project management might seem foolish at first glance because of its reputation for project failures. The authors do suggest it, however, arguing in the first sections of the book that focusing on projects across a company can help align strategic goals with actual deliverables.
The business press often repeats the mantra that projects should have a greater business focus. The same is true for business: a project focus is essential. Projects can appear to be popping up all over the company without a project focus at their highest levels, creating confusion.
Optimizing Human Capital is a practical book. Although it is not an academic book as the authors point out, each chapter contains extensive references and many pages of notes. Chapter 3, on competency-based employment and how you can hire effectively, is excellent. It contains lots of great advice on project management and recruiting.
The authors offer valuable advice on how to manage turnover, performance, retention, and coaching. The authors also discuss career paths and provide useful information about how to create a career path for project managers. Even if you’re not a project manager, this book is still worth reading. It shows you the potential career paths that are available to you. You can also suggest their model to your Project Office Managers!
I enjoyed the appendices. Appendix A contains sample roles for every possible project-related role, from Chief Project Officer to Project Estimator to Project Office Administrator.
Appendix B contains a portion of a project management maturity model. The other appendices have useful copy-and paste information that you can use immediately in your organization. Why reinvent the wheel? This will be a great addition to your corporate library if you are the head of a project office.