Your Successful Project Management Career
Ronald B. Cagle, 2004, Amacom, 208 pp., $ 17.95 (book).
Your Successful Project Management Career presents a detailed exposition of attributes and competencies one needs to make a career of project management. It is for people exploring project management as a career option as well as those who find themselves thrust into the project management role without the requisite knowledge and experience.
Cagle distinguishes projects from programs, the former addressing work performed for an in-house customer and the latter referring to work for an out-of-house customer under contract. Both projects and programs have commonalities.
The path to success is expressed with the following formula: knowledge + experience + persona X performance = success, noting performance is a multiplier. The author breaks down the field of project/program management into seven categories, five skill sets and five leadership roles.
The bulk of the information is presented in matrix format accompanied by narrative expansion of the matrix entries. For example, skills sets are defined by months of experience, subject requirements, proficiency requirements, proficiency enhancements, resources and suggested readings.
I would have liked to see mention of Six Sigma projects, especially as training ground for developing project management competency. However, if you are curious about or interested in pursuing project management as a career, read this book.
R.T. Westcott & Associates
Old Saybrook, CT
The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook
Michael George, David Rowlands, Mark Price and John Maxey, McGraw-Hill, 2005, 225 pp., $14.95 (book).
The first line of text on the back cover of The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook, reads “Vital tools for implementing Lean Six Sigma—what they are, how they work and which to use,” accurately conveying the content and purpose of this reference guide.
The authors present specific aspects of Six Sigma and lean methodologies in manageable, succinct chapters using a consistent format to address the purpose of each tool as well as provide guidance on why, when and how to use it.
The explanations are accurate and concise but detailed enough to provide a reasonable overview for the uninitiated or a solid reference guide for the dedicated practitioner. While the authors include many examples, there is almost always room for more. I would like to have seen a completed example, or sample, of each tool and its usage for every topic covered in the reference guide.
This book is a well-thought-out reference guide that moves tool usage beyond theory to the much needed realm of application. I believe it is definitely worth the investment.
Kunita R. Gear
St. Louis, MO
Introduction to Quality Assurance for the Retailer
Pradip V. Mehta, 2004, iUniverse, 418 pp., $26.95 (book).
Retailing is a primary activity in most—if not all—economies. Delivering quality in products and services to customers is necessary if retailers expect to be successful in the future. An Introduction to Quality Assurance for the Retailer addresses critical and priority issues for retailers and their suppliers.
Mehta starts the book by defining quality processes and results for retailers. Then the reader is presented the how-to and how-come specifics for running a retail system based on quality for customers. This book serves as a reference for retailers, large and small, as issues are examined related to product and service standards, metrics for measuring quality in retailing, costs of quality and quality management systems.
Section four of the book is key, as standards and specifications important to retail processes are presented. As this section becomes outdated and standards change, it will have residual value by alerting the reader where to turn for critical standards. Corporate social responsibilities and processes of social audits are explored in section nine, which emphasizes public accountability for retailers.
This book is a warehouse filled with an inventory of forms, checklists, sample policy statements, job descriptions, defect characteristics for selected product lines and a variety of standard operating procedures. This is a must have for people accountable for delivering quality through retail sales operations.
The Environmental Regulatory Dictionary
James J. King, 4th edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2005, 507 pp., $99.95 (book).
The Environmental Regulatory Dictionary is a compilation of the definitions and terminology contained in the entire Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 40, Protection of the Environment. There is no interpretation offered, nor any discussion of the terms. It is—as King states in the preface—”simply reproductions of those contained in the source publication.”
Practitioners needing a well-organized reference guide to definitions will find the book useful, especially as an easy means to see where there are multiple definitions applicable to the same term for different sections and as a locator to the various regulations that contain the terms. This is probably the greatest strength of the book, although someone unfamiliar with 40 CFR would have a hard time understanding the material and its importance.
The main weakness in the book is the lack of interpretation and additional comments or discussions. I found some very common and needed terms missing. Proofreading was poor, with font shifts and nonexecuted computer code throughout.
Since I did go page by page, it soon became obvious that a computer also organized the entries, as repeated entries were organized alphabetically rather than numerically. The book would probably be 50 pages shorter if definitions that were identical had multiple citations, rather than being repeated completely under the new section number.
This book achieves King’s stated goal of making it easier to search applicable regulations than in the past; however, software and internet sites are available that provide much better detail, more up-to-date information and links to actual regulation language, albeit at a much higher cost.
This book fills the need for a noncomputer, reasonably priced, quick reference guide to the terminology and definitions of U.S. environmental regulations.
Marc A. Feldman
Juran, Quality and a Century of Improvement
Edited by Kenneth S. Stephens, vol. 15, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, 320 pp., $28 member, $35 list (book).
Juran, Quality and a Century of Improvement: The Best on Quality Book Series of the International Academy for Quality is a tribute to the life and work of Joseph M. Juran. If Deming was the prophet of modern quality, then Juran is its chief architect. His contributions to the science of quality and beyond include—but are not limited to—the meaning of quality, the Pareto principle, the concept of managerial breakthroughs and the spiral of progress in quality.
The first part covers the history and achievements of Juran while the second part includes 13 selected papers from 1964 to 1994, mostly excerpts from Quality Progress. The contributions of Howland Blackinston, Frank Gryna, Blanton Godfrey and Joseph DeFeo provide a fascinating description of the vision, strategy and specific practices of Juran.
What stands out from this retrospective compendium is the focus that Juran always showed added value and effective communication, especially vs. top management. Quality professionals with the ambition to be relevant and contribute significantly to the management team of their organization have much to learn from his work. Moreover, specialists interested in change management will have much to gain from studying carefully the comprehensive work of one of the vital few whose impact affected economies and the standard of living of many individuals all over the world.
Ron S. Kenett
- The Path to Profitable Measure: 10 Steps to Feedback That Fuels Performance, Mark Morgan, ASQ Quality Press, 2005, 130 pp., $20 member, $25 list (book).
- Effective Teamwork: Key In-sights, edited by Sumati Reddy, ICFAI University Press, 2005, 189 pp., $15 (book).
- The Lean Office: Collected Practices and Cases, Productivity Press, 2005, 121 pp., $15 (book).