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May 9, 2008

News & Opinion: Making Things Happen

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 9:40 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Scott Berkun's latest book is out: Making Things Happen, it's an updated edition of his bestseller, The Art of Project Management. Scott was a manager at Microsoft from 1994 - 2003. Back when Microsoft was working on developing Windows, Internet Explorer and MSN.
His inspiration behind the book:
"I'd yet to find a book on leading project teams that didn't bore me to tears," said Berkun when asked about his motivation for writing the book. "Every great engineered thing ever made, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Eiffel Tower to the Internet was made by teams of people, and I thought it was a crime against those triumphs if there wasn't a book about what really happens on project teams and how leaders handle it. I wanted to capture all the things I'd learned over a decade and increase the odds other people wouldn't have to make the same mistakes I did.
"How much of the software on the web that you use do you think is good?" Berkun asks. "If it's a small percentage, you can't blame the lack of amazing technology available to developers. The cause of poorly made things is something else--it's how projects are led and managed. My book is a handbook for people trying to make good things happen and who care about the intangible, human elements that software engineering and technology books typically overlook."

His publisher O'Reilly received an onslaught of comments on project management after blogging about Scott's new book. One of the best was from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching:
Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.

I'll share more as I get into the book. The final copy just arrived this week. And before I forget, he's also authored two ChangeThis manifestos which are a good starting point for Scott's topics.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.