Book Review by Larry Marks of Project Lessons from the Roman Empire by Jerry Manas

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Book Review by Larry Marks of Project Lessons from the Roman Empire by Jerry Manas



As Stephen Covey has said, “Sharpen your saw”, you are bound to sharpen your leadership skills by reading  ”Project Lessons from the Roman Empire by Jerry Manus”. The author is not a historian but a PMP and experienced project manager who uses this book to identify several lessons that can be subjectively learned from a survey of the leaders of the Roman Empire. The lessons learned are subjective. The lessons learned are not complete are not summarized in a checklist or organized by Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) areas of study. The author is unclear how these lessons were identified since he has not studied each battle by its leader against Roman Empire aggressors. That is the not the reason to read this short book. I read it in 1 sitting, and was identify the numerous lessons that were called out from the success and failures of its leaders. Some lessons I found to be a stretch such as do not ask your resources to work “excessive” overtime. The Romans did not have this concept. The Romans did not necessarily believe in work life balance. Instead this book is rich in personal observations found from the author’s review of their contributions to humanity such as Roads, aqueduct, castles and forts as well as their use of succession planning. The author calls out the following lessons which relate to the human soft skill side of project management and if use can contribute to successful projects and programs.  I am always looking for lessons learned and ways to improve project and program success. Why do some succeed and others not? Is it the limitation of the project manager?

  1. Document lessons learned.  
  2. Document business need
  3. Document reason for being
  4. Project execution and alignment with objectives and needs
  5. Balance roles with family
  6. Encourage innovation
  7. Continuously learn
  8. Lead with compassion and competency
  9. Be goal-oriented and adaptive
  10. Ensure team is sold on the project
  11. Don’t burn out team
  12. Don’t give your team mixed messages
  13. Be culturally aware
  14. Plan for growth

These lessons are not new, but can be applied to your projects on an as-needed basis. Jerry, Another good read!

Posted on: June 17, 2017 06:51 PM | Permalink

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