You know, there are tons of project management books out there. How do you sieve out the good ones?
I remember buying tons of books when I first started out in project management – many of the books didn’t really help me at all.
Over the course of my career, I’ve identified 6 PM books which are true gems – I’ll share them with you in this article.
Book 1: The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management
This book by Eric Verzuh was one of my first project management books. I’ve read it from front to back many times and still refer today.
It’s an excellent read and written in layman language. I don’t find it dry or academic at all, yet it covers all the essential PM domains and processes. It also has the real-world examples, templates, and PMP prep questions – packing in solid value for its price.
Book 2: Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management
This book, written by Scott Berkun (a Microsoft project veteran) is easily one of the best PM books ever written.
From idea generation to managing teams and schedules – it’s all in here. And importantly – this book that breaks away from the usual the usual “PMP certification” content that so many PM book focus on.
Making Things Happen is highly readable, with advice grounded in real-world experience. This book truly has a permanent space on my bookshelf.
Book 3: Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams
This book, written by Terry Schmidt, PMP, helps project managers keep their “eyes on the ball”. He forces PMs to address projects from a strategic perspective – something many of us fail to do (most of us just “jump” straight into project execution, don’t we?)
I particularly like Terry’s practical advice and examples, culled from his years of PM experience with companies and government.
Book 4: Project Management Lite: Just Enough to Get the Job Done…Nothing More
This book, by Juana Clark Craig, PMP is well-known for bypassing the technical mumbo jumbo language found in most project management books.
I love to flip through this book when I’m stuck with a project problem. It’s refreshing to see a “lite” books that just focuses on practical guidance for project management – all the way from planning to completion and also sufficient for small to large projects.
Book 5: Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process
As you might know, Agile methodology is fast being adopted by many companies out there. As a PM, you need to know Agile approaches to projects and Scrum is one of the most popular.
Being a traditional “waterfall” project manager, I didn’t know much about Agile. I picked up a few books on the topic and most of them disappointed me.
But not this book! Essential Scrum, written by Ken Rubin, presents the ins and outs of Scrum very clearly. You’ll get solid, practical descriptions of planning and the Scrum meetings – a wonderful guide for newbies and a refreshing for current Scrum leaders. If you want to learn Agile, get this book!
Book 6: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK Guide
If you’re taking the PMP exam, this book is a must buy. If you’re a PM who just wants to know the “end-to-end processes” concerning project management, this book is also a must buy.
Myself, I’ve bought every edition of the PMBOK and the material is just getting better and better.
Do take note that the PMBOK does not tell you “how” to execute, it merely shows you the “what” behind project management. If you want to learn the “how”, read one of the other books on this list.
The list above showcases some of my favorite project management books. I’ve kept copies of all of these books within easy reach and they really help me when I’m stuck with projects.
Whichever level of project manager you are, you’ll do well do buy and read some, if not all, of these books from cover to cover!