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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Project Management: A System Approach to Planning...
Author:
Harold Kerzner
ISBN:
0 471 22577 0
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
1192pp
Price:
£51-95
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
management
Appeared in:
15-6
This is not a software engineering book but a generic project management book that has an engineering bias. Any book that survives to a seventh edition must have something going for it. No, wait, there is an eighth edition that was published a month ago! I picked up the review copy of the 7th edition at a show a couple of months back. It appears that editions seven and eight were printed just two years apart. I discovered this looking on the web, as the book I have (the 7th edition) has no history of the previous six editions at all. I find this strange, that a book on project management has no revision history.

This is designed in part to be a textbook and there is a separate lecturers' resource and workbook. This is (it appears) on free download from the Wiley web site, via password protection. (see

www.wiley.com/kerzner
for information). There are also questions and problems at the end of each chapter. There are no solutions for these in the book. The author maintains that the book and the workbook together make an excellent self study guide for the US Project Management Institute's Certification Exam, though how you are supposed to do this when the workbook is only available to lecturers I am not sure. Thatsaid, the questions at the end of the chapters are often there to provoke thought rather than a single quantifiable answer.

It is a solid book and not just for its 1200 pages and hard cover. There are plenty of illustrations, diagrams and cartoons; many I suspect are part of the lecturers' resource kit. They certainly look like part of the Project Management Courses the author runs, but this is not a picture book, there is much detailed and highly informative text. However, I think that this book will stand on its own without the additional courses.

That this book is used for courses shows in that things are explained clearly and with diagrams. Therefore the average reader, new to project management, will be able to follow the techniques and numerous case studies from many areas of industry; between them they highlight many things that are not obvious and are quite thought provoking. As the book covers virtually every area of project management it covers areas that many project managers will not be directly responsible for, which is useful as it will give an appreciation of the problems of other people that the PM has to interface to.

There are some useful comparisons between methods and the pros and cons of each. As with most things there is no silver bullet. This book will supply you with all the information and arguments. You still have to decide which techniques to use and how to run your project!

Overall I think that this is a good book. However it is more applicable to the US than to Europe. One or two illustrations would never (ok, are highly unlikely to) occur this side of the pond. So with that in mind this book is recommended for US readers and recommended with reservations for Europeans, but check out the 8th edition first.