Long ago I studied Project Management very briefly. OmniTI does a mix of project work and operations work and the orchestration of those two things is quite interesting (more to come on that in a future blog post). Regardless, my understanding of project management principals was getting far to rusty and I decided to read up.

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management by Eric Verzuh, while likely an awful project management book for anyone serious about learning the deeper craft of project management was an excellent book for me. It runs through a brief history of the topic and then launches into terms, technique concepts and explains their purpose. Occasionally, the author is really talking to the reader as if they will be applying the techniques as a project manager. Given that this book is (appropriately) geared toward someone pursuing an MBA, it seems unlikely that a real (good) project manager would ever read this book.

Most of my colleagues said something like: “A book on project management… must be riveting.” I responded that I was actually enjoying it, but around 85% of the way through the tide turned and from thereon out I wanted to gouge out my eyeballs. Miraculously, I pulled through and finished with vision in tact. I’d recommand this book to other business people that have the need to hire and/or manage project managers. The restraint learned by not gouging your eyeballs out at the end of the book can even be applied at times when working with a bad project manager.

The one thing that got me thinking in the book (and that’s what I really want books to do) was the articulated different between projects and operations. It was clear and well laid out. It spoke to the intrinsic need for a fundamentally different management style for projects and for ongoing operations. While that itself may be obvious, it make me realize that many of the engagements we take on at OmniTI aren’t just “a bit of both” they are both. I’m still collecting my deeper thoughts on this, but suffice it to say I have more understanding and respect for why it is so challenging to manage expectations when delivering fast-paced services offerings on the Internet.