by Sheilina Somani

Project Psychology

Book Review

9781409438298.jpg

By Sharon De Mascia

Project Psychology is clearly written from a personal perspective. It provides an excellent mix of established models, techniques and strategies, as well as detailed explanations for less experienced project managers.

Being given a concise overview at the commencement of the book, together with a neat summary to conclude, ensures this book is useful for leisurely reading and for quick insights. Each chapter provides some questions to aid the user in reflection on his/her own experiences.

Although the introductory reviews promise that the book is free of jargon, I’d advise it contains appropriate jargon, most of which is clearly explained and indeed readily accessible.

A limitation of the book is that it refers only to PRINCE2 and PMI; however, this doesn’t affect the quality of summaries and insights provided.

For me, Project Psychology provides a useful handbook for reinforcing approaches, behaviours and attitudes. There was little that was new for me, but some good use of phrasing such as 'social loafing' (where people work less effectively when in a team rather than alone) and 'principled negotiation' (building on the Harvard Negotiation Project).

I appreciated the summaries of various approaches including that of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory. The text reinforced the importance of being appropriately trained to be more adept at interpreting output from techniques and strategies in selection and management of people.

It’s refreshing to see quoted research upon the importance of people dimensions in project management leadership. There are some readers who may find the book too people-centric, however, in managing projects/change, and therefore being responsible for managing people, we all need to learn, reflect and grow our knowledge and resources.

In conclusion, to borrow Sharon De Mascia’s words: "Project managers who understand the significance of the human element in projects, and who know how to successfully address people issues at all stages of the project life cycle, are more likely to be successful as project managers."

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