Project management and planning errors are often an important cause of the failures described in this blog, so I read the recent book Race Through the Forest with great interest. The book was written by Timothy L. Johnson, author of the respected and popular project management blog Carpe Factum. Timothy is a consultant who also teaches courses in the MBA program at Drake University.
Race Through the Forest offers many project management lessons, using an unusual writing and teaching approach. Instead of being a dry project management textbook, it is written as a short novel — in fact, the book is subtitled A Project Management Fable. This novel is carefully crafted to present project management issues in a readable, light, and engaging format.
The book starts by establishing the context, which consists of two sisters running a well-established business called Forest Industries. The sisters make a “bet the company” wager, creating two competitive teams to design and build the next-generation product for the company. One team uses careful project management and planning, with all the attendant delays and management frustrations associated with formal techniques. The other team dives in quickly, hoping against hope to achieve immediate results. Without giving away the story, let’s just say the book traces both teams as they struggle to build their product.
Along the way, Timothy seamlessly weaves in project management lessons, teaching through an engaging and easy-to-read writing style. In a sense, the book is similar to a business school case study only on a larger scale. Timothy is an expert in the field and I enjoyed reading the book.
Title: Race Through the Forest
Author: Timothy L. Johnson
Publisher: Tiberius Publications