The shortest distance between two points is a straight line


The longest distance between two points is a shortcut


The first edition of this book dealt mainly with the fundamentals and industrial applications of network analysis and a cost/progress control technique called SMAC, which is now known universally as earned value analysis.

In the light of the rapid advances in computers, especially the development of the PC, the second edition updated these techniques and included a detailed description of a well-known computerized project management program.

The third edition expanded the earned value section, described two other computer project management programs and introduced some of the other 'hard topics' required by a project manager.

Because of the demand created by students taking the Association for Project Management's APMP examination, the fourth edition included all the hard topics required in the examination syllabus. The soft topics were deliberately not included, as these were applicable to general management and not exclusive to project management. To illustrate how these hard topic techniques can be applied and incorporated in practice, several fully worked examples of typical projects were included.

As with the previous volumes, this fifth edition was written to meet a specific need. In this case it was the fulfilment of a request by the publishers and some of my lecturing colleagues at University College London, to produce a book which included all the hard and soft topics required by the latest syllabus of the APMP examination. In addition the book should also meet the needs of the PMI examination as stipulated in the PMI Body of Knowledge.

When starting a new edition, one inevitably wonders whether any section of the current edition has become obsolete and whether it should therefore be updated or left out altogether. After all, a plethora of computer-generated coloured printouts such as Gantt charts showing base schedules and updates, tables, summaries, histograms, pie charts, 'S' curves and even networks themselves have replaced hand-drawn or typed documents. My first thoughts were therefore to leave out the chapters on arithmetical analysis and the case for manual analysis since nearly all network planning is now carried out by sophisticated computer programs which not only take the chores out of the analysis process, but also enable 'what if' scenarios to be rapidly examined.

However, we have not yet reached the stage when computers can think for themselves, so that the creation of the logic of a network must still be done by humans. Except for standard repetitive projects where it is possible to design logic modules, each project network of any reasonable size should still be hand-drafted and discussed with colleagues before being keyed into the computer for processing. For this reason the section on manual analysis has been retained. In any case the trend to generate a Gantt chart direct from a table of preceding and succeeding activities and then printing out a network diagram is putting the cart before the horse. Such a practice reduces the possibility of maximizing parallel activities and reducing the overall duration of the project. In other words, it destroys the very essence of network analysis.

A single textbook can never replace a good course of lectures on project management in which a lecturer can illustrate the subject with anecdotes from his or her own experience. For this reason some of the subjects in the book have been enhanced by descriptions and practical advice useful to a practising project manager who may already have passed the qualifying project management examinations.

The book has been designed to be not only a study text for examinees, but also a manual for professional managers. Exercises and sample examination questions and answers (except for the set of bullet points) have therefore not been included but can be found on the book's accompanying web site In addition, 33 questions and answers can also be found on the companion web site.

The worked examples at the end of the book, which are only loosely representative of the four chosen industries, have been included because, after many years of lecturing, I found that what students appreciated most was the opportunity to see how all the project management techniques they were taught during the course actually 'hang together'. The important thing to remember is that not all the techniques are applicable to all situations and certainly not to all the many types of projects, but managers should regard this book as a tool box from which the most appropriate tool can be used for the particular job in hand.

Project management methods have been adopted by many manufacturing industries, commercial organizations and financial institutions since they were first brought to the UK in the early 1950s by the American petrochemical construction companies and as most of my experience has been with major civil engineering and process plant contractors, it is not surprising therefore that many of the examples in the book have been taken from these industries. I must stress, however, that all the techniques given can be tailored or modified to suit other industries, even if not all of them appear to be immediately applicable. Clearly a knowledge of man management, communication management, health and safety and cost control is required for every type of project whatever the nature of the enterprise, but there is no doubt that by applying some of the less-well-known techniques such as network analysis and earned value analysis, performance and control can be enhanced.

A. Lester

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment