Book review: Profit from projects

9789490003012-150Last week I joined a brainstorm session, facilitated by IPMA-NL about the next annual PPM congress in 2010. Jan Bloem presented some highlights from his book Profit from projects. Due to the story he told, I bought the book.
One of the main topics is the overview of six key programme and project finance processes. It starts with (de)selecting projects, managing the business case, funding and contracting, budgeting and planning, presenting results and closing projects. Lots of financial reports are introduced to explain specific topics like introducing risk calculation in the business case, earned value metrics in financial progress reports, CAPEX or OPEX, different accounting methods like earned value management, percentage of completion, zero profit or completed contract accounting method. It shows portfolio analysis reports based on EVM or strategic earnings. Next to the processes you get an explanation on trails for improvement and the steps how to achieve these improvements. Those trails are categorize projects, tune performance measurement, standardized processes, implement information systems, develop competences and roles and create awareness and energy. Bringing the processes and trails for improvement together in a matrix you can give an assessment of the current financial processes your are using right now.
As you can read there is really a lot of interesting material but I have some attention points too. In the preface it’s stated that you can start in any chapter. I would suggest that you start in chapter 2. I couldn’t find a storyline in chapter one. It was confusing but I heard some of the story by Jan himself so I kept reading. If it will come to a second print I would suggest that the books starts with chapter three and all material of the first two chapters can be cut and paste into the other chapters. I also have the feeling that there are several articles used as the starting point for this book and that the text could be polished a little bit more to create a more consistent story. But if you are responsible for project finance and you need practical guidance this book will definitely help you.

One response to “Book review: Profit from projects

  1. Writing books is quite a job as you know. I hope it comes to a second print. These comments are very helpfully. It feels rich to get such qualitative response!
    One of the big issues I’m looking at now as a management consultant – while many companies are struggling for solutions – is how to bring closer the managing and monitoring of benefits during the project lifetime. I’ve made some progress on this recently, but there is more work to be done. Benefits tracking and benefits management are key words and maybe part of the solution.
    The issue is that many benefits are defined to come in in the period of exploitation, after a project has delivered. So how can business management and portfolio management have a realistic monitor of expected benefits (income, cost savings) during the project itself? So they can make better decisions when a project runs out of it’s (cost) budget. Which (new) techniques can help us with covering this issue?
    So who’s next?
    Jan Bloem

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