[techbooks] REVIEW: "Making it Happen", Mackenzie Kyle
- BKMAKHAP.RVW 990211
"Making it Happen", Mackenzie Kyle, 1998, 0-471-64234-7,
%A Mackenzie Kyle mkyle@...
%C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
%I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
%O U$27.95/C$24.95 416-236-4433 fax 416-236-4448 rlangloi@...
%P 247 p.
%T "Making it Happen: A Non-Technical Guide to Project Management"
Now, how do I classify this? If I say it is fiction, then you might
miss the fact that the material herein is instructional, and intensely
real. If I say that this is a management guide, people will stay away
from it in droves, unaware of how readable it is.
The book is in the form of a novel (or, perhaps, novelette). Not the
Great Canadian Novel, maybe. Maybe the Great Project Management
Novella. (Well, we'll reserve judgement on the "Great" for the
All right, then, we *will* talk about "Great." This volume is
certainly readable, and easily interesting enough to qualify as
bathroom or bedside fodder. Kyle grabs your attention with a
reasonably sympathetic character in a difficult situation. The author
does not take dangerous chances with either the characters or
situation, so as fiction it is somewhat bland. That does, however,
leave you enough concentration free to deal with the educational
The management substance is realistic, and the more palatable for
taking potshots at manajargon and MBA-speak. I have definitely read
management tomes with more verbiage and much less content. The early
chapters are used to set the stage, rather than get into practical
matters, but they also serve to present the sense of frustration and
confusion that is all too familiar to anyone who has undertaken such a
task. Besides, with the storyline, I am quite willing to wait for the
And meat there is. Kyle's outline, although not presented in a linear
manner, addresses not only specific functional business needs, but
also the "why"s of several points. A rather subtle lesson points out
that "political" activities have a purpose as well, in a positive way,
as well as the negative ones more often recognized. For those not
comfortable with the somewhat scattered presentation necessitated by
the story, the major points are brought out in a boxed format that
gets more frequent as the book progresses. In fact, the story does
start to suffer as the book moves on. There are only so many
"emergencies" you can pack into a plot before the audience stops
caring. There is also only so much ignorance you can attribute to one
project manager before the willing suspension of disbelief starts to
fray at the edges. However, the pace does pick up as the project gets
down to the wire.
The different types of planning tools, with their strengths and
weaknesses, get a quick, but reasonable overview.
This definitely deserves a place on the management shelf, alongside
"Technimanagement" (cf. BKTCHNMN.RVW).
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKMAKHAP.RVW 990211
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