The No-nonsense Guide to Project Management

Jul 2017 | 240pp

Price: £59.95
CILIP members price: £47.95

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The No-nonsense Guide to Project Management

Barbara Allan

This book provides a ‘no-nonsense’ guide to project management which will enable library and information professionals to lead or take part in a wide range of projects from large-scale multi-organization complex projects through to relatively simple local ones.

Barbara Allan has fully revised and updated her classic 2004 title, Project Management, to incorporate considerable developments during the past decade, including: the development and wide-scale acceptance of formal project management methodologies; the use of social media to communicate and disseminate information about projects and the large shift in the types of project library and information workers may be involved in.

The text is supported by practical case studies drawn from a wide range of LIS organizations at local, regional, national and international levels. These examples provide an insight into good practice for the practitioner, from an individual working in a voluntary organization on an extremely limited budget, to someone involved in an international project.

Content covered includes:

  • an introduction to project management, project workers and the library and information profession
  • different approaches to project management, the project cycle, the people side of projects and management of change
  • discussion of project methodologies, project management software, open source software, collaborative working software and use of social media
  • project initiation, communication, analysis and project briefs
  • developing project infra-structure, scheduling, working out the finances and carrying out a detailed risk analysis
  • working in partnerships, in diverse and virtual teams, and managing change.

If you are an LIS professional involved in project work of any kind, whether on a managerial, practical, academic or research level, this is an invaluable resource for you.

List of tables and figures

List of case studies


1. Introduction to the book

2.  An overview of project management

3. Getting started

4. Planning the project

5. Implementation

6. Evaluation and dissemination

7. Using ICT to support project work

8. The money side of projects

9. The people side of projects

10. Working in partnership


'This book is apt for all LIS professionals at any level who are involved in projects (which is extremely likely) as it can be used for big or small projects alike. However, I feel that this book can be picked up by anyone really as some of the tips in there are useful for general project management too since it features similar cradle-to-grave techniques.'
- Sadie-Jane Nunis, Good Reads

'Having read this book, I already feel better equipped to handle the more complex questions I receive at my workshop. And, now that I have this book to refer to, I feel more confident in my ability to plan and lead a larger project should the opportunity arise...I do not think my copy of this book will be getting dusty anytime soon.' 
- Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association

Barbara Allan is an author and trainer. Her background includes managing workplace and academic libraries. She has spent many years working in business schools where her focus was on enhancing learning, teaching and the student experience, and the internationalization and employability agendas. Her qualifications include a doctorate in education (on the topic of e-mentoring and women into leadership). She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2008.Barbara is a Member of CILIP and the author of several Facet Publishing titles including, Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning (2016), The No-nonsense Guide to Training in Libraries (2013), Supporting Research Students (2009) Project Management (2004) Supervising and Leading Teams in ILS (2006) and Blended Learning (2007). 

1. Introduction to the book

In this introductory chapter, Allan introduces the concept of project management and its application in library and information services. Topics considered include: different types of projects, project work and the library and information profession, professional development in project management and how to work as an effective project manager or team member.

2. An overview of project management

Chapter 2 gives an overview of project management and introduces the three main themes that need to be taken into account when starting a project: project management tools and techniques, people and management of change. Three different approaches commonly used in library and information services are considered: the traditional approach, PRINCE2® and Agile. They are explained and advice in choosing the most appropriate approach for your project is given. This is followed by very brief sections that consider the people side of project management, and the management of change.

3. Getting started

Chapter 3 describes how to get started, outlining all the activities that need to take place before the project gains approval and can go ahead. Working through the ideas presented in this chapter can help ensure that you get off to a good start. At this early stage in the project process, you should start to think about defining the proposed project, the project leadership and management structures, and the people side of projects, including team work and communications. It is also important to think about technical aspects such as risk analysis, legal issues, finance and project documentation. The result of this work is a project brief – a short written summary of the proposed project, which is used to gain formal approval for it being approved.

4. Planning the project

Project planning is discussed in Chapter 4, which highlights the importance of undertaking detailed planning for successful project management, whether the project is small or large. Specialist techniques such as Gantt charts and PERT diagrams are explained in this chapter. At this planning stage it is necessary to work out the detail of the project’s documentation and communication processes and its finances, and provide an updated risk analysis. The detailed plan will then be pulled together as a report, which has to be approved by the project sponsor.

5. Implementation

Once the project has been planned and approved the implementation process starts and this is considered in Chapter 5. During the implementation process, the project manager and team work on the project until it is complete. This chapter explores working with stakeholders, monitoring and reporting, identifying and managing problems and potential problems, communicating the project progress, reviewing the project process and project completion.

6. Evaluation and dissemination

Chapter 6 is concerned with project evaluation and methods of disseminating the outcomes of the project. It outlines the factors that need to be taken into account when evaluating a project, including measuring its impact. Dissemination of the outcomes of the evaluation process is considered in the second part of this chapter, which covers reports, community events, meetings, conference papers and presentations, and websites. It also highlights the value of social media in this communication process.

7. Using ICT to support project work

Chapter 7 explores the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to support project management. ICTs are used to help plan, organise and manage the project process, and to communicate to project team members and the wider group of stakeholders.

8. The money side of projects

Chapter 8 focuses on the money side of projects; although some library and information service projects are carried out within normal departmental budgets, many projects are funded from external sources, so many information workers become involved in obtaining external funding and managing a budget. The focus of this chapter is funding and obtaining funds from external sources, including through crowdfunding. The chapter covers current approaches to funding, external sources of funding, bidding and tendering for projects, crowdfunding, managing the finances, and audits.

9. The people side of projects

Chapter 9 explores the people side of projects and the importance of managing relationships and communications throughout the project process. The topics covered in this chapter include fundamental requirements for project workers, developing working practices, working in diverse and virtual teams, and working with volunteers including when crowdsourcing.

10. Working in partnership

Chapter 10 focuses on working in partnership on collaborative projects. It explores the following topics: the benefits of partnership working, the process of working in partnership and keeping the project together. The chapter ends with a series of case studies, which give a flavour of the realities of working in partnership.

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