Book review: The Dead Presidents’ Guide to Project Management. Essential lessons for project managers and sponsors

presJim Johnson wrote the book The Dead Presidents’ Guide to Project Management. Essential lessons for project managers and sponsors.

It considers 38 brief lessons from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.

The president of the United States must be a good project manager as well as a good project sponsor.

  • Good project manager: uses domain knowledge, skills, tools and techniques, is a servant-leader, must have skills to influence, to work enthousiastically, is goal oriented, must have good connections, is a good negotiater, delivers bad news early and bravely, provides solutions and is truthful;
  • Good project sponsor: must inspire people, is enthusiastic, must have imagination, must have clarity of purpose, can effectively distribute decision power, and understands the process of government and influence to get anything done.

For every president we get an illustration by Kayla Johnson, a three page introduction and lesson focussing on specific competences you need as a project manager or project sponsor and a quote.

E.g. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He used an iterative process and methodology when building his home Monticello. He was not afraid to tear something down and enforced change management. His apprach was to develop new features in small, unobtrusive increments. When did we say that agile started?

I summarized the quotes in attached figure including pictures of all dead presidents (download: dead presidents).

Dia1

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5 responses to “Book review: The Dead Presidents’ Guide to Project Management. Essential lessons for project managers and sponsors

  1. Pingback: New PM Articles for the Week of May 16 – 22 - The Practicing IT Project Manager

  2. Hi Henry, Thanks for the book recommendation. It sounds like a great mix of history and project management. Do you have a link to a high res version of president’s quotes?

  3. Pingback: Overview of my year 2016 book reviews | Henny Portman's Blog

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