Frequent readers of the BCS IRSG Informer newsletter will be familiar with our series of reviews of books covering recent advances in information retrieval and related areas. Today, we are widening our focus slightly by providing a review of a book on a more general aspect of IT.
The first book of choice is the Third Edition of ‘Project Management for IT-Related Projects’, edited by Bob Hughes. The book has been published in August 2019 by the BCS and can be purchased online from the BCS Bookshop.
Before I start talking about the book, I probably have to give some background information on the BCS, or The Chartered Institute for IT as it is officially called. While most of you might only have come across the BCS as the home of the Information Retrieval Specialist Group (who organises the annual ECIR conference), it actually is an institution of wider importance in the UK. The BCS’s mission is “to represent the IT and computer science sector at home and abroad”. Apart from supporting special interest groups like ours, they also offer a range of different qualifications that target both users and professionals of IT systems.
The book is the official textbook of the one of these qualifications, namely the BCS Foundation Certificate in IS Project Management. Its five authors are all either BCS examiners or course providers, i.e., they have a strong expertise in teaching project management. Although the book is intended as learning companion for this qualification, it can also be helpful for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of IT project management.
The book consists of eight chapters that cover essential concepts of project management, including an introduction to projects and project work (Chapt. 1), project planning (Chapt. 2), monitoring & control (Chapt. 3), change control and configuration management (Chapt. 4), quality (Chapt. 5), estimating (Chapt. 6), risks (Chapt. 7), and project organisation (Chapt. 8). All chapters start with clear statements of the intended learning outcomes and each concept covered is explained further using illustrative examples. Moreover, small exercises – or activities – are included that require the reader to further engage with the content taught. Solutions and pointers to these activities are provided at the end of each chapter.
With 162 pages of length, the book certainly cannot cover all aspects of IT project management. Nevertheless, I consider it to be a useful resource that gives a compact overview of the tweaks and challenges of the subject matter.