E-Business Project Manager
by H. James Harrington and Tom McNellis
reviewed by Bob J. Holder

First, E-Business Project Manager is an exceptional text for teaching and training would be E-Business project managers and providing executives and peer team members with an intelligence e-business. It's vast number of checklists also makes it a useful publication for experienced project mangers. They could be scanned and used to monitor and audit projects. I would rate the book as a five.

Second, the book is an easy read. The authors have done an excellent job of detailing the project management process from start to finish. However, I wish the authors would have provided a resources section to augment their discussions of, for example, CM and supply chain management. They might have also provided case studies of firms that have done an exceptional job implementing such things as site design, supply chain management and CM.

Third, they do an excellent job of discussing marketing, promoting, selling and support products and services. However, they ignore two other economic offerings. In The Experience Economy, Pine and Gilmore suggest there are five economic offerings. They are commodities, products, services, experiences and transformational offerings. Pine and Gilmore suggest the markets for the latter two are rapidly expanding and of greater economic value than service and products. Finally, Pine and Gilmore's work provide ideas and processes for improving a firm's site.

Fourth, the text provides an excellent discussion of serving customers. However, they fail to address noncustomers. This can be problematic as observed by Peter Drucker. Drucker points out that countless enterprises have suffered decline and death because they have ignored noncustomers. The authors could have added additional value by discussing how to monitor noncustomers as a part of their e-business strategy.

Fifth, the authors seem to emphasize customer wants and needs. They do an excellent job discussing how to learn customer wants and needs. The McKenna Group suggest, however, that this can be problematic. They indicate that firms also need to ask why. The "Why question" examines the customer's decision making processes. Asking this question allows the firm to gain an intelligence of what they call the firm and customer eco-system. This intelligence allows the firm to improve its marketing, processes, information, experience as marketing, offerings and site to have a greater impact on the customer's decision making process.

Sixth, the authors seem to assume a firm only needs one site. This maybe valid for pure E-business firms. However, it may not be valid for banks, retail establishments and professional service firms that serve local markets within and/or outside a nation. Research suggests branches, stores and professional offices serve different customers. They have different economic offering needs and wants from other branches and stores. Each requires its own marketing plans, strategies and tactics, economic offerings and delivery systems. The authors might have included a business model based on each store and branch as a whole business with their own E-business strategy and site customized for their local market. This model appears to be used, for example, by global professional services firms and government agencies operating outside their nations. Its use is based on their recognition of market differences. Such differences also exist within the same nation and every city and region.

Seventh, the book provides some good strategies for involving customers, vendors, partners and organizational members in the development process. However, there are others. My personal bias is "whole system" processes such as Search, Open Space and Real Time Change conferences. My sense is that these methods would do a better job of creating ownership and improve speed and quality of implementation.

Finally, the authors are right to stress continuous improvement. However, E-business is an every changing phenomenon. IT and business models are continuous changing. This suggests the need for discontinuous improvement and breakthrough innovation. The Experience Economy is an illustration. Pine and Gilmore suggest business is as theater. This does not mean business is just entertainment. It means staging memorable experiences for customers. Most E-business strategies don't do so. Those firms that will be engaging in discontinuous improvements and will likely attract customers because the Net generation is seeking the "wow."

In summary, I strongly recommend this book even with the shortcomings I have noted. I would have found it a useful book for the E-business strategic and marketing planning that I have been involved in. Finally, I think its benefits far outweigh its shortcomings.

E-Business Project Manager
by H. James Harrington and Tom McNellis
Minneapolis, MN: Best Seller Publisher, 2002


Bob Holder is a development consultant. His St. Louis area based consulting firm works with profit and non-profit organizations and small enterprises. He was a contributor to the book, After Atlantis: Working, Managing and Leading in Turbulent Times. His, Requisite for Future Success ... Discontinuous Improvement in the Journal for Quality and Participation with Ned Hamson was the lead article in the launching of Emerald Management, the trade name for MCB Publishing in the United Kingdom. His articles have appeared in ODJ, ODP, Quality Digest, CI Magazine, Journal for Quality and Participation and Quality Journal. Bob has been devoting the last two years to teaching and doing paid and volunteer consulting in Russia. He consults, speaks and writes about innovation, strategic visioning and human systems design.

Contact Bob J. Holder at:
Gray Matter Production 620 Roosevelt Dr. Edwardsville, IL. 62025
Telephone: (618) 692-0258, Fax (618) 692-0819, e-mail: HBob372917@aol.com .

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Copyright 2002 by Bob J. Holder. All rights reserved.

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