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February 14, 2005
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 The H.R. Doctor Is In

Getting Booked

Today is the day that the final proofs of HR Doctor’s book, entitled Don’t Walk by Something Wrong! went to the publisher. It has already been accepted for publication and the various complex processes have been completed. These include editorial review, design of the front and back cover and at least three different people proofreading it for typos and format problems.

Despite all of that effort, the "final author’s proof" - that one more chance to review the book before it’s published - resulted in finding 98 more changes. All of these changes, of course, are designed to make the book more enjoyable for the reader. They are also aimed at making sure the book doesn’t become required reading in an adult education class on "how to improve your spelling in the English language." Don’t Walk by Something Wrong! should be out in February, in time for the NACo Legislative Conference.

It is very exciting to have worked hard on a project and to see it approaching its final conclusion. On "final approach" to project completion, it looks as though the end is in sight and the work will be successfully completed. The credibility of having achieved closure to a major project is always very satisfying and a great relief. That is all the more true if the work or the project may be enjoyable to others. Perhaps the project will help people you may not even know in their careers or in their lives. Hopefully, readers will agree that those goals were met when they read Don’t Walk by Something Wrong!

However, everyone, book author or not, has projects in life which involve a lot of organizing and hard work. These project management responsibilities are not solely within the purview of executives. Perhaps the greatest of all project mangers may simply be moms and dads who manage the development, growth and nurturing of the next generation of humans. They may be underpaid (especially the moms!) and have no vacation or sick leave benefits, but their work is very valuable and overwhelmingly successful.

The more complicated a project is, the more opportunities there are for mistakes. The HR Doctor has learned in the writing of Don’t Walk by Something Wrong!, as well as in other work projects, including preparation of budgets, capital improvement plans and strategic business plans, that there is always great value in one more review. It gives one more opportunity to focus on the work before it becomes final.

Just as the proofreading of the HR Doctor’s book by different people still didn’t pick up some errors, project managers will be well served by inviting another set of eyes, another brain and another heart to review the project before declaring victory. Doing this with a diverse group of colleagues may be especially valuable. The advantages of a wide spectrum of viewpoints and backgrounds in project management is often an understated value of staff diversity.

On a recent walk with Kamala, the HR dog, we discussed this very phenomenon of a final review. She pointed out that the best way to do that one more review, is to do it after a period of detachment. Get away from the project for some period of time, albeit perhaps a brief time. Don’t think about it on your morning walk. Approach the project again after a long weekend or a brief vacation.


Our very own "Dr. Phil," has just published a compilation of his HR Doctor columns: Don’t Walk by Something Wrong! Learning about Life, Business and Public Service from the "HR Doctor"

The 391-page book is available in paperback for $26.95 or hardback is $36.95; there is also an Adobe e-book version.

Don’t Walk by Something Wrong! by Phil Rosenberg may be ordered from, or, the publisher at or from your favorite local bookstore.

You may find that you see the work from a different perspective or something you should have caught earlier suddenly jumps into your brain. The value of a detached observer can make a big difference in the project, whether it’s yourself after a brief rest or another person loaning you their skills to help with the review.

Finally, when the project is finished and the outcomes delivered another round of sincere and grateful thank-you’s needs to be said. Don’t Walk by Something Wrong! has a substantial acknowledgement section recognizing people who have made a difference in the publication of the book and all that went into it over the years. It’s never inappropriate to say thank you, and it’s never enough just to say it once.

One more note about project management and the "just one more review" phenomenon. Don’t let the value of that additional review turn into a quicksand pit. Don’t fall prey to the idea that it is all right to put off project scheduling and the joy of completing the project for an excessive period because the 37th person involved in project review has yet to report in. While multiple reviews by diverse people are helpful, they should not be allowed to create project paralysis instead of project success. With apologies to any readers who are members of the National Rifle Association, the phenomenon of "Ready, Aim Aim Aim" should not wreck the project’s success.

The HR Doctor is enjoying the experience of being "booked!" - at least that kind of booked!


Phil Rosenberg


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