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  • Tami France, PhD

Book Summary

"The Project Leader: Four Proven Principles to Go from Goal Pursued to Goal Achieved" is a practical and inspiring guidebook by Brian Davidson. This hypothetical book is a valuable tool for anyone leading a project, imparting wisdom through four key principles that promise to bring any project from mere conceptualization to successful completion.


  1. Chart the Course: The first principle is charting the course. In Davidson's view, a well-drawn map outlining the journey from the start to the completion of the project is pivotal. This principle encourages the use of a Simplified Project Charter to clearly capture the project objective and high-level scope needed to achieve that objective. The clearer the goal, the more momentum the project leader can build with their team early on.

  2. Establish a Shared Vision: The second principle focuses on establishing a shared vision among the project team. According to Davidson, success isn't just reliant on a clear vision from the project leader but also on the shared understanding and buy-in from the entire team. Techniques for cultivating this shared vision range from collaborative brainstorming sessions to transparent communication about the project's purpose and goals.

  3. Navigate the Obstacles: The third principle delves into the challenges that inevitably arise during a project's lifespan. Davidson emphasizes effective leadership and team collaboration as crucial in navigating these obstacles. He offers practical advice on how to deal with common issues such as scope creep, team conflicts, and deadline pressures. The ability to negotiate these obstacles, he suggests, can make the difference between project success and failure.

  4. Focus on the Goal: The final principle that Davidson discusses is maintaining focus on the goal. Despite the obstacles that may arise, the project leader's eyes should always be on the desired outcome. The close of a project is not just about reaching the end but also about reflection and learning. Davidson underscores the importance of post-project reviews to understand what worked well, what didn't, and why, ensuring these learnings are applied to future projects.


The book features real-life case studies and personal anecdotes to illustrate these principles, demonstrating their applicability across a range of settings, from large corporate initiatives to small community projects. "Chart the Course, Establish a Shared Vision, Navigate the Obstacles, Focus on the Goal" ultimately provides a holistic approach to project management, guiding project leaders through every step of the project journey.

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