Virtual Project Management: Software Solutions for Today and the Future explores the technical management issues involved in the revolutionary new way of building complex software intensive systems faster and cheaper by employing the power of distributed operations. The book examines the implementation issues that cut deep inside present day collocated engineering organizations and recommends practical and affordable actions to aid organizations seeking increased productivity through distributed operations.
The demand for integrated solutions constructed from a combination of existing and newly developed software increases daily. Many organizations find themselves with shortages of the critical skills necessary to compete in many of these newly created markets. Employing virtual collaborative development provides a dramatic increase in a company's opportunities to successfully compete. Virtual collaboration provides a broader skill and product knowledge base coupled with a deeper pool of personnel to potentially employ.
It removes two of the major barriers—company affiliation and physical location. Virtual Project Management: Software Solutions for Today and the Future focuses on critical characteristics underlying how work actually gets done in traditional collocated engineering environments. It examines the changes taking place on virtual projects through a series of anecdotes based on real project experiences.
The book provides an 8 step practical and affordable plan that can be used as a framework in either setting up and executing a new virtual project, or in instituting improvements to a project that has drifted off course. Others have lived through the pain of learning lessons the hard way. You don't need to follow their path.
The insights and solutions offered by Paul McMahon answer the questions virtual project leaders will be asking well into the 21st century.
Review By: Ronald R. Goodwin, PMP 07/08/2010Mr. McMahon offers advice, guidance, tools, and examples of how to "rapidly integrate products that weren't originally developed inside your organization when the critical skills...needed to succeed are not easily accessible."
The first thing the book provides is a traditional 8-Step Plan for managing a large-scale project, which McMahon also uses to organize the book. Then he introduces subtopics in each division such as questions, recommendations, pitfalls, traditional collocation, remote task management, and team communications. The book ends with a new 8-step plan that works if the team is separated by location.
The smaller co-divisions, or subtopics, make the book somewhat difficult to follow. Mr. McMahon use of tales, problems, and insights also complicate his message. He does get to the point and resolves many issues regarding how to handle a large, complex, advanced technology software project that has not gathered all the SMEs and other topical experts into one cohesive space.
I found many ideas in the book support the Extreme Project Management concept. Mr. McMahon also delves into the integration effort and its dilemmas. In this section, he deals with a recommendation called the "Global Component," which is a logically related set of component-products that meet certain criteria like a well defined set of requirements, design component-product artifacts, source code component-product artifacts, and stand-alone test component-product artifacts such as test cases and results. The Global Component offers two primary advantages: system integration management support and a well-defined freedom line for the allowable use of site-specific institutionalized processes.
Overall, what the text provides makes the effort of working through the complexities of the subject worthwhile. I came away with a number of good ideas to use with my team. However, what keeps this book from being more highly recommended is its complexity. For the project manager with little time to read, I would not suggest reading this book to quickly improve one's methodologies or techniques.