Buildings, Projects and Babies

Yasser and Yara Osman

Publisher: Pages: 107 Price: (ebook) $9.99 ISBN: Reviewed: January, 2017

Author Yasser Osman manages large construction projects—from high-end residences to a new palace for the royal family of Qatar. In his book, co-written with Yara Osman, he shares his expertise in marquee projects with large budgets through anecdotes from the field and through lessons-learned retrospectives.

The book is written in first-person, narrated by Yasser Osman. In a brief introductory chapter, he presents a global metaphor for his book: Buildings are like babies, and the construction site is like a delivery room. In this analogy, the project is the baby, the contractor is the mother, the client is the father, the planning consultant is like a doctor, and the project manager is like a nurse.

The author then provides case studies of daunting challenges he has faced as he nurses buildings into the world. Whether it’s a liability issue, the need to change materials to ensure on-time delivery, or a job requiring PhD-level expertise, the author emphasizes focusing on solutions rather than on blaming and fault-finding. In fact, Osman would all but banish the word “problem” from the construction site. For him, there are only “issues” or “challenges” to be met. The key to the project managers’ art, he believes, is that they are both technical experts and masters of relationships.

Osman writes in the style of a business white paper, with enumerated points and construction diagrams. There are no references to other works, just the author speaking to readers in the first person. Unfortunately, Osman’s delivery-room metaphor becomes tedious when he invariably uses terms like “contractor/mother” and “planning consultant/doctor” throughout the telling of his insightful anecdotes.

Despite this issue, project managers and others in the construction trades will find sage advice from a project management guru in this well-organized offering. It celebrates the role of the construction project manager while successfully imparting street-smart wisdom to a younger generation.

Author's Current Residence
Pottstown, Pennsylvania