The Project Whisperer

The Project Whisperer: Understanding the Human Part of the Gantt Chart
by Pam Stanton

This is the first time I’ve ever begun a book review with an apology. However, I feel I must. This book is about project management, and I’ve really never been a fan of this subject matter. In fact, when asked to write this particular review, I came very close to declining the request.

Not only do I have little interest in this area, but I didn’t feel my readers would gain a great deal either. However, I was dead wrong on this one, and I seldom admit to that.

I’ve worked in and around projects, project managers and teams throughout my career and, to be quite honest, usually felt overwhelmed with what I considered to be a challenge. For instance, how do you feel when you hear some of the following terms: Charter, stakeholders, SWOTS, risk assessments, spreadsheets, Mitigation plans, tracking software, Dashboards. Gantt charts, and RAG indicators? I don’t know about you, but hearing all of this terminology makes me want to turn tail and run.

So why am I sharing my recent discovery of The Project Whisperer? Well, there are several good reasons.

  1. I’ve often shared my strong belief in the importance of a book’s title to its overall success. I must admit that I was captivated by this title for obvious reasons. The term “Whisperer” may bring to mind books, TV programs or movies such as The Ghost Whisperer, The Horse Whisperer or The Dog Whisperer … each of which focused on natural practitioners who possessed and shared their unique insight on their chosen field of interest. I believe this can be said of author Pam Stanton. This Yale graduate has traveled the world and invested 25 years working for some very impressive organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Insurance and the United Way to name just a few. She shares that experience in a very humorous but educational approach to the subject of project management.
  2. I must admit that her subtitle (Understanding the Human Part of the Gantt Chart) caught my attention as well. A Gantt Chart, in short, is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. Her insinuation that there was a human part to a project intrigued me.
  3. I’ve always felt that chapter titles were a critical element in grabbing the attention and interest of potential readers. Pam excels in this area with chapter titles that beacon you to explore their content. Here are a few which I never would have associated with project management.
    • The Assassination of Julius Caesar
    • Burgers with a Side of Chaos
    • A Little Oatmeal Goes a Long Way
    • The Horseshoe and the Party Horn
    • Tea for Ten Thousand

I couldn’t wait to see how she bridged these unusual titles to her content, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. She successfully utilized a terrific sense of human to data and case histories which made project management perfectly understandable.

Throughout this book (88 pages), the author focuses on the revelation that the “magic” to delivering successful business projects lies not in methodology but in PEOPLE! She employs graphics, definitions, case histories, and 48 content-related tips to take the reader on the seven stages of a project teams journey to success.

Whether you realize it or not, project management is critical to the success and growth of organizations in every industry today. Understanding the human dynamics of projects will certainly enlighten you as to the nuts and bolts of what may have, until now, seemed alien to you. Nobody clarifies the process as well as Pam Stanton. Check it out.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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