ICM 590: Plan on, planners

One of the best guys I ever worked with was this project manager (PM) named Dave.

Dave was cool as hell. He drew doodles a lot, often kept a bottle of liquor at his desk, and was always cracking jokes while he worked. It always surprised me how jovial he was considering his job seemed like a giant annoyance. As a PM he was constantly working late, constantly getting attitude from other members on the team, and constantly dealing with a rash of issues I would never even have to think about.

I always wondered what sort of knowledge Dave needed to be a PM, and ICM 590 dropped that knowledge on me like a bomb.

For anyone who has yet to figure out what they’re doing as their Capstone Project, I highly recommend they figure it out BEFORE they take 590. The most useful thing we did in the class was map out our projects from start to finish. The mapping gave men a much better idea of the tasks I have ahead of me, and revealed a lot of issues I had never considered before.

I only had one real issue with ICM 590, Greg Horine’s Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Project Management. If you’re the type of person that enjoys reading lists, then this might be the book for you. If you’re like me, and you like reading books that take the time to explain things with examples and true-life experiences, then I would avoid Horine’s work all together.

As someone who has worked with many project managers in a professional setting, I found Horine’s book to do little more than list out exactly what it is these people do every day. It was a lot like reading the instructions to changing the clock on your old VCR: There is no story, just a never-ending list of steps.

Such a book might be fine for someone who is a project manager or a person interested in getting into the gritty details of what project management entails, but for this class it was ill-suited. I would have rather read a book that approached project management from a more personal angel. Even still, this one sub-par reading aside, the class was great.

In the end, ICM 590 taught me the proper way to plan projects: whether they be massive long-term works of passion or a short weekend building a birdhouse. It’s a class that will give you an appreciation for every great project manager you’ve ever met, and will certainly help you better understand what to expect when working on projects in the professional world.

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