As I noted in my review for A Project Manager's Book of Forms: A Companion to the PMBOK Guide
, I got interested in project management when I realized I had been on several project teams at work, only we called them initiatives and they went off the rails because we therefore hadn't given enough attention to things like scope and deliverables. That book of forms is excellent for figuring out what you need to figure out and document a properly executed project. This book, on the other hand, is best for the person who has been given a project in a functional department organization where project management isn't in the DNA. It tells you all the things you need to know to execute projects correctly in an organization that is on board with project management, but, frankly, so do a lot of other books. Where this book shines is its emphasis on getting projects, their management and their use of company resources to mesh with the operations of the broader organization. A regular project management book will tell you that it can sometimes be challenging to get a line manager to sign off on your project using one of his or her employees and that you need to overcome it. This book gets into the nitty gritty of legitimate reasons for the line manager to take that stance and what you need to think about and do to overcome objections. A regular project management will tell you about the importance of managing project scope and the need to rework things with stakeholders before you accept a change in scope. This book goes into detail about the challenges of working with stakeholders from the over-enthusiastic who keep wanting to add things to that person whose only stake is not having your project supplant something he perceives to be on his turf.
In the past, as I've read about project management, one of my most common reactions was cynicism: the ideas they presented were good, but I doubted than any of the organizations I've worked for would buy in. This textbook gets it and really gets into how to fit projects into the organizational culture, not just how they would be done if the organizational culture was generally supportive of project managers doing what they needed to do to manage projects.
Because of its size and scope, this is more of a textbook than light reading. I myself have been skimming a chapter here and there rather than wading through page for page. That said, if you are running into challenges implementing projects in your organization, you're better off buying this and slogging through than picking up another three books on how to execute great projects if you haven't gotten any traction with the great ideas from the last three books because the real problem is making things happen within the organizational culture.