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eXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles, and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7409-1
560 pages
October 2004, Jossey-Bass
eXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles, and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility  (0787974099) cover image


Today’s new breed, eXtreme projects are different. They feature high speed, high change, high complexity, high risk, and high stress.  While traditional projects follow the classic model of ready, aim, fire, eXtreme project managers succeed by shooting the gun and then redirecting the bullet while not loosing sight of their moving target. eXtreme Project Management provides a practical guide for leaders working under high risk and high pressure while producing the desired bottom-line results.  Based on Doug DeCarlo’s extensive experience in working with more than 250 project teams, his eXtreme project management model is built around an integrated set of principles, values, skills, tools, and practices proven to consistently work under conditions of rapid change and uncertainty. eXtreme project management is based on the premise that you don’t manage the unknown the same way you manage the known.  It’s a people-centric approach to high performance that makes quality of life a fundamental part of the project venture.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by James P. Lewis.

Preface: Out of the Darkness.


The Author.

Introduction: Into the Light.

How eXtreme Projects Are Different.

Ready, Fire, Aim.

How eXtreme Project Management Is Different.

Changing the Paradigm.

Part One: The New Reality.

1 Developing a Quantum Mind-Set for an eXtreme Reality.

Is There a Method to Your Madness?

Linear Lunacy.

Newtonian Neurosis and the eXtreme Project Manager.

Self-Diagnostic Tool.

Do You Walk Your Talk?

It’s Jazz, Not Classical Music.

Toward Peaceful Coexistence.


2 The eXtreme Model for Success.

Two Keys to Success.

What Is a Project? A New Definition.

What Is Project Management? A New Definition.

What Is an eXtreme Project?

What Is eXtreme Project Management?

How Is Success Measured on an eXtreme Project?

Who Holds a Stake in Success?

What Are the Elements of the eXtreme Model for Success?

Putting in Place the Skills, Tools, and Environment to Succeed: The 5 Critical Success Factors.

Part Two: Leadership Skills for an eXtreme World.

3 Leadership Begins with Self-Mastery.

The Project-Crazy Organization.

The Formula for Self-Misery.

The Formula for Self-Mastery.

Taking It to a Higher Court.

4 The eXtreme Project Manager’s Leadership Role.

The eXtreme Project Manager’s Role.

Stakeholders: The eXtreme Project Management Context.

Your Role as Process Leader.

Nine Reasons That eXtreme Project Managers Fail.

You Are More Powerful Than You May Realize.

When Commitment Is Not Obtainable.

5 Principles, Values, and Interpersonal Skills for Leading.

The 4 Accelerators: How to Unleash Motivation and Innovation.

The 10 Shared Values: How to Establish the Trust and Confidence to Succeed.

The 4 Business Questions: How to Ensure the Customer Receives Value Each Step of the Way.

Developing Interpersonal Skills for an eXtreme World.

Principles of Effective Communication.

How to Negotiate.

How to Resolve Conflict.

When All Else Fails.

6 Leading the eXtreme Team.

Process Values.

Characteristics of Teams.

Establishing the Core Team.

Creating the Conditions for Successful Teamwork.

The Keys to Running Productive Meetings.

Facilitation Skills.

Decision Making and Problem Solving.

How to Earn the Right to Lead the Process.

7 eXtreme Stakeholder Management.

The Stakeholder Challenge.

Business Values.

The Stakeholder Universe.

Managing Your Stakeholders.

The Role of the Steering Committee.

How to Combat the Phantom Approval Virus.

Managing Change: You’ve Built It, But Will They Come?

Business Question 4: Is It Worth It to You?

Part Three: The Flexible Project Model.

8 Visionate: Capturing the Sponsor’s Vision.

Getting Answers to Business Question 1: Who Needs What and Why?

The First Sponsor Meeting.

Beginning Work on the Project Prospectus.

The Second Sponsor Meeting.

9 Visionate: Establishing the Collective Vision.

Preparing for the Third Sponsor Meeting.

Go or No Go: The Third Meeting with the Sponsor.

Getting Ready for the Scoping Meeting.

Conducting the Scoping Meeting.

After the Meeting.

10 Speculate: The Planning Meeting.

Preparing for the Planning Meeting.

The Twelve-Step Planning Meeting Process.

11 Speculate: Postplanning Work.

Assessing the Project Management Infrastructure.

Estimating Financial Requirements.

12 Innovate: Learning by Doing.

The Underlying Dynamics.

Time Boxing.

Applying the SCORE Model.

The Goal of the Innovation Cycle.

13 Reevaluate: Deciding the Project’s Future.

What Reevaluate Is Not.

The Reevaluate Process.

14 Disseminate: Harvesting the Payoff.

What Happened to Business Question 4: Is It Worth It?

The Turnover Point.

The Stabilization Period.

The Project Review Meeting.

Benefits Realization.

Part Four: Managing the Project Environment.

15 Real-Time Communication.

What Are the Basic Communications

Needs of Stakeholders? 418

What Are the Hallmarks of a Viable Real-Time

Communications System?

What Specific Real-Time Features Do You Need?

Where Do You Find Affordable, Quick-Start Solutions?

What Are the Technical Considerations for Planning and Running Virtual Meetings?

What Do You Need to Know in Planning and Running Web Conferences?

What’s the Big Trap to Watch Out For?

16 Agile Organization: A Senior Management Briefing.

The New Dynamics of Projects.

How Top Managers Can Undermine Effective Project Management.

The Role of the Project Sponsor.

Becoming an Agile Organization: Best and Worst Practices.

Landing on Common Ground.

Making the Transition.

The World Is Only Going to Become More extreme.

Afterword by Robert K. Wysocki.

eXtreme Tools and Techniques.

Self-Mastery Tools and Techniques.

Interpersonal Tools and Techniques.

Facilitation Skills.

Project Management Tools.



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Author Information

Doug DeCarlo is principal of the Doug DeCarlo Group. His work has earned him international recognition as a consultant, motivational keynote speaker, trainer, coach, facilitator, and columnist. He often uses percussion instruments in his presentations to illustrate the dynamics of eXtreme projects.
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“A wake-up call for the project management establishment.”
--Wayne G. Dix, PMP, AXA Financial

“Inspiration for all of us in the project management profession.”
--Wes Balakian, PMP, chairman and executive advisor, PMI E-Business SIG; and President, TSI

"Not simply a book. It is a mind-expanding experience!"
--Gary R. Heerkens, PMP, CPM, CBM, PE, president, Management Solutions Group, Inc.

“A profoundly thoughtful and useful approach to managing the chaotic projects of our time.”
--Ed Mahler, PMP, president, Project Administration Institute; and president, PMI Westchester, New York, chapter

“A much-awaited alternative to traditional project management.”
--Lauri Koskela, professor, the University of Salford

“Concrete tools for when traditional project management approaches aren't cutting it."
--Victoria Tucker, president, Zero Boundary Inc.

“Doug shows us how to rise above chaos and ambiguity and to achieve results without driving ourselves mad in the process!"
--John J. Turanin, vice president, corporate planning and program management, Aradigm Corporation

“Belongs front and center on our desks where we can use it on a daily basis.”
--William Jacobson, director, project management, Wyeth Research

“A paradigm shift. Universally applicable, beneficial for all projects. Refreshing and delightful.”
--Randall L. Englund, author, Creating an Environment for Successful Projects

“A strong dose of reality and a long-awaited perspective.”
--Jim McDonough, Ph.D., PMP, senior research scientist, Eli Lilly and Company

“Doug DeCarlo adds power and insight to the growing effort to reform project management.”
--Gregory Howell, PE, Lean Project Consulting

“Doug DeCarlo is leading those of us in the IS/IT profession into a new and much-needed arena of speed, yet high-quality systems development.”
--Joan Knutson, PM, Guru Unlimited

“An approach that will greatly increase chances of successfully delivering business value.”
--John Thorp, president, The Thorp Network Inc.; and author, The Information Paradox

“I highly recommend this book to anyone facing challenging projects."
--Zed Day, CIO, University of Kentucky Medical Center

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Instructors Resources
Wiley Instructor Companion Site
Available Materials
by Douglas DeCarlo
October 2004, Hardcover, Jossey-Bass (E-book also available)
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