Book Review: Project Management Lessons Learned

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Lessons Learned In Project Management: 140 Tips or Less is a collection of tips from project managers all over the world. The book also includes advice from John A. Estrella, the book’s author.
The preface explains how he was inspired by the idea to gather wisdom from Twitter and make a book.
Although the book may be inspired by Twitter, the tips are only 140 words and not 140 characters. This allows the authors to communicate their points in a paragraph. It makes it much easier to read. There are 145 tips in the book, with a bonus section at the end.
The tips do not appear to be in a particular order. The book is not divided into themes or arranged by contributor name. It is not recommended to be read from cover to cover. Instead, you can use it as a guide to help you find inspiration.
It would be difficult to find the right tips for project issues due to the lack of a thematic structure. Instead, just open the book and see if you can be inspired by the challenges you face.
However, you should be able to read the tips. This is Pawel Brodzinski’s example:
Although it is safe, not always the best option, acting according to a schema isn’t always the right thing. You will have all the facts, even if you don’t know the limitations of your method. The information will allow you to make the best decision. Common sense is often the best strategy. It is a good idea to use it when standard procedures don’t work for you.
The book’s back cover features an impressive list contributors. This is Ana Maria Rodriguez:
How detailed should your plan be? Don’t plan details you won’t be able or interested in monitoring during project execution. Plan details that will need to be monitored and controlled later. You will need to update them later in the project’s life cycle.
Many of these tips are related to organizational politics. This confirms that project managers do not learn how to use new tools to track risks or calculate estimates but how people work.
This is something I discovered when I was researching for my book Project Management in the Real World. Learning how people work helps us become better project managers.
Estrella provides more than half of the tips. These are stories and adaptations of conversations with others and books he has read. He has a unique point to share about delegation. He calls it “the ask.”
Be clear when delegating tasks to team members. Are you asking them to review the documents and give feedback or to edit the documents and finalize them? Instead of just forwarding an email with a FYI, tell them what you want them to do with it. Clear “asks” can speed up the completion of tasks.
You can also find great suggestions for free team building events. Estrella’s tips were actually more enjoyable than the others.
I was one of those contributors who shared my learnings, and here’s my tip:
An average large company that manages 150 projects per year loses PS13m annually by failing to stop projects that are failing. It is not always the responsibility of management to cancel projects. If you are working on something that isn’t going as planned, you should speak up. The role of the project manager is to oversee the work and to give an objective view on how it is done. This could mean stopping all work and starting again or not starting at all.