Friday, April 29, 2011

Read: Making Things Happen

A reader of Pixel Paddock looking to enter the world of interactive producing recently emailed me to ask, what book should I read to get started? I'm often asked this question, and the answer always starts with one book.. Making Things Happen - Mastering Project Management, by Scott Berkun.

Scott spent 10 years at Microsoft, leading teams responsible for IE, Windows and MSN. But it's not just his pedigree that makes this book worthwhile, it's about the focus. As Scott puts it "projects result in good things when the right combination of people, skills, attitudes and tactics are applied". And this is the core of the books content. It's not simply how good process = project success. There's a real human element to this: relationship building, respect, influence, good leadership, getting the best out of people.. key areas for any good Interactive Producer. And the small but important details: Effective meeting structure, writing good emails.. why people get annoyed.

Combined with well worn process and learned lessons from years of producing in the digital world, you get relevant scenarios and real-world solutions. Clocking in at 360 pages, it's not a read for any one sitting, but you'll return to it again and again.

And it's not just the name and title, that share similarities with Scott Belsky's "Make Ideas Happen". Both are well-respected bloggers and public speakers. Check out Scott Berkon's blog, and while you won't get as many PM tips these days, his topics on public speaking and innovation are well worth it.