The Power of Interpersonal Skills in Project Management is a well-researched book that attempts to cover what is a very important and relevant topic for the project leader.
Deborah Herting provides a concise introduction to the subject in what is a relatively short book—the main text is only 62 pages—compared with typical literature on project management and leadership. Unfortunately, this isn’t much more than a thought-provoking discussion of the interpersonal skills necessary—nay essential—for the project manager.
In a nutshell, this book is a dissertation written for academia, and often fails to connect with the reader.
Interpersonal Skills in Project Management
Nonetheless, this book is a relevant, if not a unique addition to the project management library. The book is broken down into six chapters tackling interpersonal skills and social characteristics, comprehensive research findings, and strategies for developing social awareness. It also includes detailed bibliography and several appendices.
Herting begins by explaining that whilst projects are an integral part of business many organisations place too much emphasis on process, methods and performance metrics and not enough on the human side of project management. The premise is that businesses are more successful when they combine both technical skills and interpersonal skills. I agree. But I don’t think this is new thinking. And I don’t think someone who buys The Power of Interpersonal Skills in Project Management will need much convincing either.
Fortunately, chapter three provides an excellent introduction to the social characteristics or competences we should find in project managers. It’s hard to fault. I simply wanted more and was a little disappointed that the author didn’t go into more detail or draw from her own considerable experience.
Likewise, the research findings reinforce the need for people skills in project management—communication, leadership, and relationship building—but misses the opportunity to relate this to actual situations or case studies. I would have enjoyed reading clear and workable advice for project managers on these important topics.
Regrettably The Power of Interpersonal Skills in Project Management invests too much time reviewing the literature of the past decade and presenting the author’s research findings in a rather sterile fashion.
More emphasis should have been placed on developing strategies for success and providing the reader with real-world approaches for improving the human aspects of project management.
Perhaps this is to be expected? As I have learned from the book, the purpose of the original text—which remains largely unchanged in the book—was partial fulfilment of the requirements for a masters degree in organisational dynamics. This book is little more than a masters dissertation.
If you’re interested in developing your interpersonal skills you would do better reading Human Aspects of Project Management by Vijay Verma.
Deborah H. Herting is the founder and CEO of The Deborah Group a consulting boutique specialising in helping people and their organisations maximize the powerful asset of human relationships. She is recognised as someone who produces quality project outcomes within scope, schedule, and cost objectives. Deborah earned her masters degree in Organisational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. Doylestown, Pennsylvania is her home.
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The Power of Interpersonal Skills in Project Management: Including Strategies for Success [Kindle Edition] [US] [US Kindle]
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