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I jumped at the chance to review Bill Dow’s book on project management communication tools when he asked me.
I must apologize for taking so long.
Why is it taking me so long? Because it’s too big to carry on the train. This book is nearly two inches thick and weighs in at 700 pages. It was so heavy that I had to prop it up on a Lego box while I read it with a child in my lap.
This won’t be a problem if you have stronger hands than I!
Everything You Wanted to Know About Project Communication
This book is a comprehensive guide to all the documents and tools available for communicating about your project. You will find all the formal documents and sections that cover the other aspects of formal communication, such as histograms and calendars.
Project Management Communication Tools by Bruce Taylor and William Dow are divided into four major sections
The first section deals with communication in a project environment.
The second section covers tools that support knowledge area.
The third part of the article covers the same tools, but it looks at them throughout their life cycle and through various processes.
The fourth section includes everything not directly related to methodologies, such as business intelligence and social media.
This book is written for PMP(r) audiences. However, even if you don’t subscribe to this way of working through projects, there are plenty of useful tips and tricks in it.
Agilists will also find their tools covered in great detail. This is a great explanation about agile radiators, which I just discovered recently.
The 2015 edition has undergone a complete refresh, including new content and tools. Some of the content that was no longer relevant to current business practices have been removed. You can also copy high-level templates and make use of them.
Is there really so much to say?
This was the question I asked when I first picked up this book. I know there is a lot to be covered in project communication. It’s not like a business can narrow it down. These are the authors’ words:
This book contains communication tools that can be used across all industries and projects. This is the best thing about project communication management. It is not industry-specific – a status update is a status update. One is needed in IT, one in construction, one in manufacturing. Although the content may be different, the tools are the same.
Although I can understand why the book contains information that overlaps in some places, it was too much for me. The tools are introduced at an introductory level. The next time you meet the tool, it will be discussed at a ‘Mastery” level.
Although the information is varied and I understand that not everyone will need to know everything about a tool’s capabilities, I would prefer to see the information combined and information about the tool’s place in the lifecycle delivered in another format.
The authors have made it easy to navigate. There’s an appendix that lists all the tools and their references in the book.
Each chapter has useful summaries at its end. It is helpful to quickly recap each area, as the information is so extensive.
Apart from the heavy book, I had issues with the font. It was just difficult to read. This is a minor issue that most readers will not have a problem with, but I am a little picky about typography.
Communication: A Broad Brush
This book is a great resource for planning your project communications, whether you are working on small or large projects. The 700 pages of information are rich with case studies, tables, and charts that provide all the necessary tools for project communications.