I wandered into project management fairly late in life. I was originally going to be a PE teacher, but damaged my knee. I worked for a while in a bank, but hated it. I then worked as a floor manager in mail order with about 200 ladies under me. That taught me a lot about working relationships!
I joined English Electric Leo Marconi when I was 29 and it was like stepping onto a fast elevator. Within a year I was chief programmer with 20 staff. As that company was swallowed up by ICL I joined IBM and quickly became a project manager. It didn’t take me long to realize that the company had no method of project management, so after a few years a few of us left and I helped write PROMPT II, a project management method for IT projects (Very waterfall).
After a spell as IT training manager with BP International I became an independent lecturer and author, eventually coming across the original PRINCE®, which was a version of PROMPT II for the government. At that time it was published as a box set of five manuals costing £100 and was appallingly written. I wrote to the publisher, NCC Blackwell, who agreed with me and asked me to write a user-friendly version. That was read by the government and I was asked to handle the rewrite of the method, dropping the IT content. That’s how PRINCE2® came about and APMG asked me to be the chief examiner. I remember Richard Pharro saying “We might get as many as 100 exams a year”! The rest is history.
After my retirement in 2009 I continued to write. It was suggested to me that many companies were finding PRINCE2 too complex for their type of project, so I sat down, thought about it and wrote PM4A, a simpler method.
I still enjoy writing, though a lot nowadays is in the form of humorous sketches or short plays for my church.
Why I wrote the book
Having set my thoughts on the road towards simplicity, the idea of boiling project management down to its basics occurred to me, and Basic Project Management encapsulated in the book A Concise Introduction to Project Management is the outcome. It sums up all the major lessons that nearly 50 years in project management have taught me in an easy-to-digest form. Ah, the mistakes I would have avoided if I had read this 50 years ago!