Foreword

Brian Price

The Airbus A380 is the flagship airliner of the European EADs group, and the world’s largest commercial passenger airplane. It entered service in October 2007, two years late and $6 billion over its original $12 billion budget. In large part, the delays and cost overruns were caused by a failure of project management in coordinating engineering activities across 16 sites in four different countries. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common story of major project performance.

A report by the Standish group estimates that 43% of projects fail, with 71% going significantly over budget or late. The cost to the U.S. economy alone is estimated at $55 billion each year. Is it therefore any surprise that in survey after survey of what employers are looking for in graduates, project management skills tops the list, with an ability to work effectively in teams? In a Forbes article describing the “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want in 2015 Graduates,” eight of the ten most desired skills are related to project management. The author states, “Employers also want new hires to have technical knowledge related to the job, but that’s not nearly as important as good teamwork, decision-making and communication skills, and the ability to plan and prioritize work.”[1]

It has been my pleasure and honor to have been taught by and to have worked with Jeff Russell, Wayne Pferdehirt, and John Nelson through the Engineering Professional Development faculty of the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Their deep knowledge of project management theory is tempered with the pragmatic expertise that they bring to the subject through their own professional engineering practice. You could not wish for better guides on the journey to improving your project management skills through study and practice.

It sometimes feels as though the world is awash with books on project management, all with similar things to say on the skills required and the techniques to use. The demand is there, but it would appear that the current provision of project management texts is wanting. It is therefore a welcome development that Jeff, Wayne, and John have written a guide that provides a philosophy for project management, as much as an academic text on the methods, techniques, and skills required to be a successful project manager.

By recognizing the dynamic nature of projects and applying the living order approach, this publication gives both the novice and expert project manager a fresh perspective on dealing with the complex challenges that emerge over the life of a project. This philosophy will help you plan effective projects, and will serve as a pilot through the choppy seas of real-world projects. Combining a thorough review of the latest methods in project planning and execution, the authors have created a complete guide to the skills required to be successful in your engineering projects.

Read this book. Study its contents. Practice its methods. You will not only be a more capable project manager, but a wiser one as well.

Brian Price
Aston University


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