Project Management For Mere Mortals®

Project Management For Mere Mortals®


The Tools, Techniques, Teaming, and Politics of Project Management

Author: Claudia M. Baca, PMP

Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional (June 25, 2007)

This book walks the reader through the tools and techniques of five project process groups: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling, and closing. Each chapter is designed to teach the reader how to start these techniques immediately in his or her organization by examining each topic with four different focuses: project management tools and techniques, building an effective project team, dealing with organizational politics and finally a case study.

The case study will weave all of the chapter topics together into a sample project that progresses throughout every chapter of the book.

MSRP Price
$54.99 $29.97

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ELG Endorsement

Wendi and I have known Claudia for over twenty years, and trust her and like her. But that isn’t why we’re selling her stuff here. The reason why is that Claudia stands out as one of the few project management gurus who actually understands:

  • How to articulate the point of a project, and that it’s vital to do so correctly. Lots of time and money – lots! – are wasted because people screw this up.
  • How to spell out the authorities project managers need to succeed, even in complex “matrix” environments with “borrowed resources.” There’s a best way to do this, and Claudia describes it.
  • How to keep things as simple as possible, but no simpler (borrowing a quotation from Einstein). She can help you tailor the “amount of project management” you use to what you really need.

We have always been proud to call Claudia friend and colleague; now we’re proud to be able to spread a little of her pragmatic wisdom.

Incidentally, Claudia helped author the Project Management Institute’s standards for Organizational Project Management (how organizations should organize so as to be proficient at project management), and she was the first person, globally, to be certified in conducting OPM assessments.

So . . . she knows her way around.

Bill Casey


What people have said about Project Management for Mere Mortals®

“Project Management for Mere Mortals is a must read for all project managers with responsibilities for large or small projects, regardless of industry or product. Baca has cleverly taken the (sometimes) difficult lexicon of project management and distilled it into easy-to-read, understandable concepts. Her case study examples lead Project Managers from Project Initiation through Project Close–and those between–with ease. In today’s growing discipline of Project Management, we must understand the potential hurdles and where to capitalize on prior knowledge. Baca is a Project Management guru. No person involved with the execution of projects should be without this book…ever.”

–Lisa Marie Jacobsen, CAPM, Project Manager, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

“Project Management for Mere Mortals is an excellent book for the beginning as well as the experienced project manager. At the elementary level, the concepts are clearly explained, and at the advanced level, hints and tips are explained that give new insight to the concepts. I especially liked the case studies that applied each chapter’s lessons.”

–Kaaren A. Walsh, PMP

“This book is an excellent learning tool for beginning Project Managers and a terrific resource for experienced Project Managers.”

–Janene A. Luders, PMP


Project Management for Mere Mortals® strips away the myths and mysteries of effective project management, giving you the skills, tools, and insights to succeed with your next project–and every project after that.

Long-time project manager and trainer, Claudia Baca, walks you through all five process groups of project management: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Baca examines each process group from the perspectives of the working project manager and team member, highlighting the organizational issues most likely to arise and offering proven solutions. For each process group, she presents tools you can start using right now–and demonstrates those tools at work in a realistic running case study.

This guide takes you from the absolute basics through advanced techniques, such as measures of performance and change control. You’ll learn how to

  • Accurately scope projects and build workable timetables
  • Create trustworthy budgets and use them to manage your project
  • Organize work assignments for maximum efficiency
  • Build project teams, and keep them motivated
  • Intelligently assess quality goals, and decide “how good it has to be”
  • Identify and mitigate the real risks your project will encounter
  • Control changes and stay on track, no matter what surprises occur
  • Close projects successfully, and learn lessons for future projects
  • Gain crucial skills you’ll need for PMI certification

This book has been crafted to support professionals who are new (or almost new) to project management, as well as experienced project managers who want to handle complex projects and organizational politics more effectively. Whatever your role or assignment, it’s your fastest route to deep project management mastery.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Kim Heldman, PMP xv
Preface xvii
Acknowledgments xxv
About the Author xxvii

Chapter 1 Setting the Project Management Context 1
Chapter 2 You’ve Been Assigned a Project! 19
Chapter 3 How Big Is This Project? 53
Chapter 4 Laying Out the Work 99
Chapter 5 The Art of Estimating 131
Chapter 6 Quality–How Good Does It Have to Be? 169
Chapter 7 Communication–What Do You Think About My Project? 207
Chapter 8 Risk–What Should You Worry About? 257
Chapter 9 Creating the Schedule 291
Chapter 10 Budgeting–How Much? 331
Chapter 11 The Rhythm of Project Execution 369
Chapter 12 Keeping the Project on Track 397
Chapter 13 Controlling Changes 421
Chapter 14 Success!–Closing the Project 441
Answers to the Review Questions 457

Glossary 471
Bibliography 477
Index 479

Download the sample chapter