Authoritative and comprehensive; a highly relevant guide written specifically for project management professionals.

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PMO GOVERNANCE

PRACTICAL STRATEGIES TO GOVERN PORTFOLIO, PROGRAM, AND PROJECT DELIVERY

An expert examines the inner workings of the Project Management Office.

Whether a business organization thinks of its needs in terms of projects, programs, or portfolios, there is a standardized process for management that should funnel through a centralized PMO. Spivak, whose background encompasses extensive project management experience as well as management consulting, dissects and explains the optimum functioning of the PMO in this excellent debut. The book offers a useful overview of project management as well as a practical, in-depth examination of all aspects of PMO governance. The author outlines functional responsibilities and governance of the PMO, describes project management methodologies, and addresses process maturity levels. In a discussion of specific project-related career positions, Spivak doesn’t merely put forth a job description for program manager, PMO director, and other jobs—he very effectively outlines the core competencies necessary to excel at each role. The final three chapters of the volume will probably prove the most valuable to business leaders. They cover PMO best practices, leadership, and overall implementation. The author offers his “very important guidelines” for achieving PMO effectiveness, each of which is based on his experience, and uses relevant examples. He also provides specific guidelines for portfolio, program, and project management, clearly delineating the differences as well as “Guiding Statements” for building effective PMOs. A particularly intriguing section of the work, especially for larger organizations, concerns the implementation of “megaprojects” (initiatives with $1 billion-plus budgets). As for leadership, Spivak wisely covers team building as well as personal, interpersonal, and professional traits of exceptional project management leaders. The last chapter presents a short but illuminating PMO business case based on one of the author’s clients. The content is intelligently organized and expertly written, making liberal use of examples. Each chapter concludes with a bulleted summary of key points. Spivak willingly shares his knowledge throughout the book. For example, he details nine strategic recommendations for PMO improvement, contrasted with nine common pitfalls, with helpful recommendations for avoiding them.

Authoritative and comprehensive; a highly relevant guide written specifically for project management professionals.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9959618-5-2

Page Count: 270

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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