bassist-cum–business consultant employs a music analogy to explain project portfolio management.
In presenting a complex business topic, some analogies can be exceedingly effective while others can wear thin. Leonard’s debut compares the culture of an organization to the bass in an orchestra. More broadly, he views an orchestra and its musicians akin to a business organization and its employees. Because of the author’s in-depth knowledge of both music and project management, the analogy is sustainable: “If an orchestra cannot play a versatile range of music, after a while, their performance will become predictable and stale….There has to be a framework in place that allows new pieces to be practiced and performed. Companies must design a framework for standardizing project management techniques within their strategic portfolio management environment.” While the music analogy appropriately recurs throughout the book, the material generally follows more traditional and expected topic areas. The content is divided into seven “steps,” including vision, values, best practices, and execution. These steps are described in separate chapters. For each step, Leonard recounts his own musical, personal, and business experiences; cites examples of successful organizations; includes specific implementation strategies; raises key questions; and provides additional resources. Especially helpful are the numerous lists the author presents to make the text more engaging. For example, he lists five areas to consider in preparing for organizational change, eight steps to developing best practices, 10 steps to strategic execution, and 11 common mistakes in the development of project portfolio management. Like many consultants, Leonard has devised his own methodology, and he generously shares it: He outlines and discusses a systematic process he calls “the ADeXI Framework” (which stands for Assess, Design, Execute, and Improve). He closes the volume by urging the reader to “turn up the bass on your favorite music device and in your organization, and enjoy those low tones that move your heart and that rattle your soul.” The author is obviously passionate about both music and project portfolio management, and his enthusiasm shines through the text. He deftly strikes the right balance between orchestral and project management nomenclature.
Nicely orchestrated and well-executed business advice.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)