REVIEW: "Actionable Strategies", Stephen S. Bonham
- BKACTSTR.RVW 20090520
"Actionable Strategies", Stephen S. Bonham, 2008, 978-1-59693-119-0,
%A Stephen S. Bonham
%C 685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062
%G 978-1-59693-119-0 1-59693-119-1
%I Artech House/Horizon
%O U$59.00/C$70.95 617-769-9750 artech@...
%O Audience i Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 261 p.
%T "Actionable Strategies"
The preface asserts that management or control approaches are
generally pursued from the separate viewpoints of performance (metrics
of various types), process (a beloved but ill-defined piece of
business jargon, roughly meaning "how we do things"), project
portfolio (the range, scope, and particularly diversity of projects or
products, poorly explained by Bonham), or risk management (which
requires whole books to even define). (These four items are
abbreviated, by the author, as PePPR.) As the author points out,
there is a good deal of overlap of information required in these four
areas, and an integrated approach might produce benefits. This is
said with a great deal of verbiage, and a wealth of buzzphrases.
Chapter one starts by quoting Raynor's "Strategy Paradox" that
companies can't adapt because the environment is simply changing too
rapidly for anyone even to keep up with it: businesses must prepare
for change, but can't prepare for everything that might happen.
Bonham then goes on to say that businesses need to be adaptive and
prepared, and gives other equally contradictory advice. PePPR is
again surrounded by a storm of utterances, with little that is useful.
Although chapter two is entitled "Maturity," and the Capability
Maturity Model is briefly mentioned, the Deloitte Business Maturity
Model is presented in two completely disjoint ways, and is forced into
alignment with two separate lifecycle or project models, leading to a
complete shambles which does not explain anything about business
maturity at all. Towards the end an "execution" maturity model of
astounding complexity is attempted. A generic overview of some
planning models is given in chapter three. A survey of various models
and ideas on performance management is provided in chapter four, with
process management dealt with in five. Project portfolio management,
in chapter six, does note the need to balance return on investment,
strategic alignment, organizational support, architectural alignment,
asset leverage, and resource availability. The way to do this,
apparently, is to have good project management. Some finance-oriented
(capital risk) risk management frameworks and general concepts are
discussed in chapter seven. Bonham throws a lot of words at the idea
of integrated execution in chapter eight, but without providing much
There are a great many business references in this work, and a good
deal of erudition. Unfortunately, the content and writing does not
provide useful guidance to those having to make difficult business
decisions in tumultuous times. Those who have used and worked with
these approaches, and who have worked with the range of them, will
best know whether they can be integrated and the combined process used
to advantage. Those people will not need this book.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2009 BKACTSTR.RVW 20090520
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