Agile Leadership and the Management of Change



Book Title:  Agile Leadership and the Management of Change: Project Lessons from Winston Churchill and the Battle of Britain
Author: Mark Kozak-Holland
Publisher: Multi-Media Publications, Inc.
List Price: $34.95
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 9781554890354
Reviewer: Michael J. Fellers, PMP
Review Date: December 2022



Congratulations! You are the new project manager, taking over responsibility for an ongoing project that is headed for failure. The stakeholders are in disarray, partners are giving up, procurement is at a standstill, the governance framework is dysfunctional, and a hostile takeover is about to commence. By the way, if you fail to get the project back on track and accomplish our goals, “then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age…” Better get to work.

This is the situation that Winston Churchill was thrust into when he was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in May 1940. This is not a book about Agile Methodology, rather it is about how leaders and organizations can transform themselves from static and stodgy to agile and adaptable. Author Mark Kozak-Holland uses Winston Churchill and his transformation of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain to illustrate the characteristics and behaviors of an “agile leader.”  He cites specific examples from this perilous period of history to provide relevant lessons for leaders today.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is composed of twenty-five short, straightforward chapters. The first half of the book covers the period from September 1939 through June 1940. The author gives special attention to the circumstances of Winston Churchill’s appointment as prime minister (PM) during the early stages of World War II and equates him to a project manager (PM) who takes over an exceptionally complex project that has been failing. Churchill’s problems, decisions, and actions are described in their historical context and extrapolated to challenges and actions that project managers are faced with in “today’s world.”

The book’s second half discusses and analyzes Churchill’s four-pronged solution to his challenges amid an imminent invasion. It examines his implementation of these four “project areas” and then assesses his success or failure by detailing the historical events of each month from June through October 1940.

At the end of each chapter, the author provides key lessons and suggestions to educators for further consideration. The key lessons are a bulleted list of what we should comprehend from the chapter. They include descriptions of what the author calls an “agile leader” as well as connections to PMBOK Guide (3rd Edition) knowledge areas that are represented within the chapter. The final chapter contains twelve takeaways and a summary of the agile characteristics that Churchill exemplified.


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How to cite this work: Fellers, M. (2023). Agile Leadership and the Management of Change: Project Lessons from Winston Churchill and the Battle of Britain, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue I, January. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/pmwj125-Jan2023-Fellers-Agile-Leadership-and-Management-of-Change-book-review.pdf

About the Reviewer

Michael Fellers

Dallas, TX, USA


Mike Fellers is the Texas area Operations Manager for a global leader in healthy building technologies. He was awarded a B.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University and a project management M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas. He spent twenty years in the Texas Army National Guard as an Engineer officer before retiring. He and his family reside in Dallas where he is a member of the PMI Dallas Chapter. Contact: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefellers/

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