HBR Project Management Handbook



Book Title:  HBR Project Management Handbook – How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects
Author: Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez
Publisher: Harvard Business Review
List Price: $50.00 (hardcover)
Format: Hardcover, 330 pages, softcover and kindle available
Publication Date: October 2021   
ISBN: 978-1647821265
Reviewer: Ermioni Takou
Review Date: March 2023


Project management (PM) skills are more relevant in today’s project economy than ever. Even though many companies invest in developing talents with PM skills, either formal or informal, the statistics show a low project success rate, which consistently has a substantial economic loss. This easy-to-read book provides tools, techniques, and a simple visual framework, known as Project Canvas. It is written in an enjoyable way that captivates the reader to put these insights into practice right away.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The HBR Project Management book is broken into four parts:

  • “Project Fundamentals for Everybody” introduces the reader to the concept of projects, from small ones to megaprojects, and the reasons behind the author’s view of reinventing project management.
  • “The Project Canvas” framework for any project (agile, traditional, or hybrid) with well-equipped examples is introduced in the second part.
  • “Individual and Organizational Project Competencies” stresses the importance of project leadership, prioritization, and agility.
  • “A Better Future through Projects” talks about future innovations from technology, to crisis management, to the diversity of thinking through project management.


Nieto-Rodriguez’s long experience in project management and HBR’s guidance resulted in creating a well-structured and fun-to-read book that extends and reframes the traditional PM methodology to deliver value and success.

We live in a project economy where change is constant due to digital transformation, customer expectations, industry regulations, environmental disasters, etc. This constant change affects how we manage projects. The PM methodology developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is still relevant but would benefit from a less technical and complex language used by PMI experts.

The author, who served as PMI’s chairman, has been troubled by the low success rate of projects (60-70% of projects fail). He created the Project Canvas, a simple but robust project management framework based on the Business Model Canvas developed by Alex Ostrewalder and Yves Pigneur. The success of Project Canvas lies in shedding light on three domains: the project manager’s role, the senior leaders’ role in sponsoring the project, and the organization’s structure and culture. The book challenges us to rethink how we monitor and assess project success, not only via the traditional triple constraint / golden rule but also by introducing two new constructs, namely the “Engagement Triple Constraint” and the “Benefits Triple Constraint”.


To read entire Book Review, click here

How to cite this review: Takou, E. (2023).  HBR Project Management Handbook – How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/pmwj129-May2023-Takou-HBR-Project-Management-Handbook-book-review.pdf

About the Reviewer

Ermioni Takou, MBA, PMP

Plano, TX, USA


Ermioni Takou is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) experienced in managing various transformational projects. She helps blue-chip companies manage change on the people side of the business. Ermioni earned her MBA at the University of Dallas. Before that, she was directing a family-owned business. She has been privileged to work on one of the world’s most famous monuments, the Parthenon of Athens, Greece. She has been a PMI Dallas Chapter member since December 2022.

Email address: ermtakou@gmail.com

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the PM World Journal and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide books to the PM World Journal; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members who agree to provide a review within 45 days; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  After publication, reviewers can claim PDUs for PMP recertification, or continuing education units from other professional bodies.

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