Book review: Alpha Project Managers, What the top 2% know that everyone else does not

The Alpha Project Managers from Andy Crowe is based on The Alpha Study, a survey of over 5000 project managers and stakeholders. This study took a careful look at the practices and attitudes of 860 project managers against thousands of stakeholders. The purpose of this study was to understand what the top performers do that sets them apart. The book gives us a short biographical sketch of the 18 Alphas. You will get insights why those 18 Alphas differ from the rest of the group and how that influences project success. The following eight major areas are explored where top performers stand apart from everybody else:
– Attitude and believe
– Focus and Prioritization
– Communication
– Approach
– Relationships and Conflict
– Alignment
– Issue Management
– Leadership
For every area you get the insights about the questions and answers from the Alpha and the non-Alpha ones. Based on these answers the study went back to the project managers and the stakeholders to find answers on the why by additional questionnaires and interviews. Every area chapter ends with an overview what the Alphas know. E.g. Communication: the greatest disconnect between the two groups seemed to be that Alphas were generally aware of how their message was being received by stakeholders. Alphas took the time to understand stakeholder needs in advance, and how they tailored communication to meet those needs. The Alpha group made reliable and predictable communications a priority, even going so far as using this as a tool to manage stakeholders. They set the gold standard by making their information not only very clear and highly concise, but also relevant to their audience.

If you, as a project manager, want to improve your performance and you know your own strengths and weaknesses, this book can be of great help to you to take a next step.

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