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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme by Robert K. Wysocki

Book Reviews
Title: Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme
Author: Robert K. Wysocki
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Reviewed by: Valentina Rada
Reviewed: December 2020
Reviewed on: PM World Journal

Effective Project Management is a practical how-to guide for project managers who are interested to know more, or improve their knowledge, about project management related methodologies given their projects’ needs.

The author of the book is an experienced consultant in project management, founder of Enterprise Information Insights (EII), Inc., who has written 26 books of which, Effective Project Management, is at the 7th edition and was recommended by Project Management Institute (PMI) as reference material for any project manager. Dr. Wysocki’s book is relevant and impactful to today’s environment as it covers considerations from waterfall, agile and hybrid project management methodologies.

Overview of Book’s Structure 

The book is structured into key three parts and encompasses fifteen chapters and five appendixes.

The first part, Understanding the Project Management Landscape, is an introduction to project management processes and tools, and restates many of the PMBOK Sixth Edition project management standards in relationship with the five process groups, reevaluated by Dr. Wysocki as: Scoping, Planning, Launching, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing.

The second part, Traditional Project Management, outlines project management fundamentals and how those apply and could be adapted in more complex real project situations.

Finally, the third and the last part, Complex Project Management, presents a more sophisticated approach of project management on how Agile, Extreme and Hybrid frameworks could be selected as appropriate fit to each project situation.

Gradually, the Effective Project Management guide takes the reader from basics of project management and how those apply to real projects to an intermediate section of how to scope, plan, launch, execute and close projects, reaching to an advanced level of hands-on experience in managing complex projects.


Although the Effective Project Management book presents an extensive project management background, is well documented in terms of process, technicalities, Dr. Wysocki kindly shares from his experiences as a consultant in various areas he and his team managed projects. From this perspective, the book is a great source of examples and how those link to theory.

The reader of this project management practical guide can perceive the refined transition from project management basics to more complex concepts blended with applicable hands-on models that can be used for managing successful projects.

Highlights: What I liked!

The concept I liked the most, which resonates with my experience as well, is the comanaging model. It is either co-managing with the Client or co-managing with the Functional manager as being key factors for success in a project. Traditional projects could have one Project manager and a Development team manager, but a complex project should be co-managed. Both managers will co-manage separate areas of responsibilities, but share equal decision making. It is important not only to have someone who provides ideas, such as business value or technical expertise, but also to have that visible support surfaced by a co-managed model. “Project success is measured first by the business value that the solution delivers and secondly by the successful execution of the process that created the solution” (Wysocki, 2019, p. 93) 

Another area I enjoyed reading and which is reflected throughout the book relates to

the importance of planning, good planning. Regardless of the methodology used, allocating the right amount of time for planning pays out long term in a project. A good project plan presents a multitude of benefits, such as: reduces uncertainty, increases

understanding, improves efficiency. The plan having the purpose, through many others, to provide a basis for measuring work planned against work performed. (Wysocki, 2019, p. 195)

Who might benefit from the Book?

Given the educational and training purposes, the Effective Project Management can be referenced as a higher education material. Students and faculty already adopted the Effective Project Management materials as a great source of project management elevated knowledge. It is highly recommended for those who study for the PMP exams certifications, too.

Consultants and practitioners could benefit from reading this book considering the many valuable project management models and perspectives Wysocki presents, such as: co-managing model, understanding project landscape in terms of complexity, and

uncertainty or the extreme complex project management models.


Wysocki’s approach in the Effective Project Management book is thorough and well documented. As mentioned earlier, it reaches a broad reader audience, from novice to expert project managers. It is like a pyramid. It gives you basics of project management unveiling vast elements of traditional project management, and then starting second and mainly third part, it elevates to advanced concepts and how those can be used in complex projects. 

Effective Project Management is a must-have guide on one’s desk, regardless if it is about introspecting project management or leading complex projects. Although project management is about unleashing tacit management skills and its success depends on so many factors, Wysocki does an excellent job of revealing project management concepts in a practical and mindful manner.

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