The No-Nonsense Project Handbook front cover

The No-Nonsense Project Handbook


By: Deirdre Fox and Máire Kearns

This is a handbook for anyone who has to deliver IT projects. It is a step-by-step guide to every phase of a project lifecycle, from conception through to implementation. The authors have harvested lessons learned from a multitude of projects implemented worldwide across all types of industries. From their extensive experiences of delivering projects, they provide valuable checklists, templates, processes, procedures and real-life lessons learned.


This book is written for anyone who has to run any aspect of an IT project, whether you are a consultant working for external customers or are part of an IT department working for internal customers. It is not a theoretical book it is a practical book focusing on what will get you through the everyday life of the unpredictable IT project!

We find that Project Managers can typically be divided into three types of people i.e. those that were technically competent with zero to little management skills, those who had some management skills with zero to little knowledge of IT and those that had neither! And these project managers never get real world project delivery training. Their training (if any) is typically theoretical, high level and not relevant to the every day life of an IT project and is often delivered by a lecturer who has never lived the ups and downs of delivering an IT project. And let’s face it, IT projects are different, they have their own culture and their own bad reputations! We know we have lived it!

Who should read this book?

This is book aimed at anyone who is involved in delivering IT projects i.e. project managers, technical leaders, developers, business managers and users. We wrote it with a few audiences in mind. We felt that firstly project managers need a simply laid out handbook outlining, step by step, the daily tasks for each phase of a project that they could refer to on a daily basis. We felt that project managers should be able to hand this book to all their team members and show them how their project will be run! We wrote it for technical leaders who need to manage and keep on top of the technical solution and who will find the detailed technical checklists beneficial.

However for the advanced technical reader please note that this book is focusing on managing IT projects, it needs to be supplemented with technical manuals and references for in-depth technical information on technical areas like architecture, hardware, databases, networks, infrastructures etc. We wrote it for developers who very often are just given code to write and are rarely included in the overall big picture of a project. We also felt that young developers still in or just graduated from college can learn very valuable professional lessons from this book. We often found that graduates just out of college had no real idea in how to blend into corporate IT projects i.e. what they should do and what they shouldn’t do! They will also benefit from all the technical checklists.

We wrote it for business managers who may hail from Finance, HR, Marketing, and Sales etc., backgrounds, letting them know what is expected of them. The top reason why IT projects fail of course is the lack of user involvement. So we wrote this book for users too who are constantly frustrated by not getting the requirements they asked for, who are often slightly in fear of IT people and are often baffled as to how projects actually get implemented. We wrote it for the user who wants to know how IT projects should be run, what role they should be playing and how to define their requirements in a comprehensible manner. There are many useful checklists and recommendations for the user who has to interact with IT projects, departments or people.

The objective of our book

Firstly we feel that you should be able to read this book over a weekend or a long haul flight! The purpose of this book is to hand hold you through an entire IT project lifecycle i.e. from initiation to rollout. We have:

  • Defined the roles and responsibilities for team members
  • Defined how to manage your team and your customer
  • Shown you how to manage the delivery of the project from start to finish
  • Provided best practice guides for gathering requirements, estimating and project planning
  • Explained how to run efficient workshops and requirement gathering sessions
  • Included project justification checklists
  • Provided developer checklists e.g. Coding standards, Unit Tests, Code Reviews etc.
  • Presented an innovative comprehensive guide on best practices for managing the testing phases i.e. System Test, User Acceptance Test (UAT) etc.

We feel sure that after reading this book you will feel confident in knowing what you need to know about running an IT project and know what you don’t need to know, which is just as important!

Style of the chapters
We have purposely kept the style of this book simple. You should be able to read each chapter independently and gather your information, as you need it on a daily basis. You will notice that each chapter has a similar format. Each chapter has:

  • A “thought provoker” at the start just to get you thinking
  • An “In a nutshell” definition of the topic to be discussed
  • A detailed description of the topic
  • “Tip” and “Warning” boxes which highlight key tips or things to remember and watch out for
  • An “It could happen to you” story that serves a purpose of showing you the odd things that have happened to us and could happen to you and make you realise that your project is actually normal
  • Templates and Checklists

We have refined and used this methodology across all our projects worldwide. IT Works! When used properly, you can be sure your project will come in on time on budget! You can also be pretty sure that you can enjoy a life outside of work! We hope you find it helpful and wish you every success with any project you may be planning for the future. Please contact us if you have any questions, queries or suggestions through


  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Blackhall Publishing Ltd (1 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842180894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842180891
  • Package Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.6 x 1.4 cm