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Best Project Management Books for Every Manager

Posted by, Pavel Kukhnavets
on May 19, 2017

Reading is one of the most helpful ways to become more professional. Professional books can teach much better than lectures or professors. In this article we prepared the list of books with their descriptions for you. They will be of much help in managing projects in 2017.

Why is it so important to read the best project management books?

Today strong project management skills are required as never before. That’s why professional books together with project planning tools may be of great use for both experienced project managers and young specialists.

We are going to help you to save your time for the research the books to read. This overview complements our previous article about project management ebooks and describes up-to-date and best books in 2017 that will help you to get new skills and knowledge. With their help, it will be easy to create any plan, work with project management scheduling, delegate tasks, use a progress tracking to measure the progress of your projects, etc.

The experts who have written these books offer different tips based on their own strategies and methods. Let’s check out how many tips and tools you can choose for your work and self-development with these project planning books.

Strategic Project Management Made Simple by Terry Schmidt

“Terry Schmidt is one of the most brilliant planners in the world.”

Tony Robbins

Why is it worth reading?

“My introduction to formal project management came in college when I built what must be the world’s biggest bar (Gantt) chart”.

Most projects need innovations and new tools. They never run if you will use the obsolete strategies and old methods. Terry Schmidt (https://www.linkedin.com/in/terryschmidt) proposes a business strategy that will show you how to:

  • Create a practical action plan for any idea
  • Avoid potential mistakes
  • Align the goals and the vision of the company
  • Improve workflows and reduce conflicts
  • Get teams moving faster

One of the most famous management books Strategic Project Management Made Simple consists of three parts. In the 1st part, the author shows how to start thinking outside the charts and build the strong project backbones with the logical frameworks. The 2nd part of the book discloses four important issues for any team:

  • What do we want to realize? And what for?
  • What is the measure for our future results?
  • Do we have the alternative projects or competitors around us?
  • How can we get them?

In the 3rd part, Terry Schmidt shares his thoughts on how to put concepts into actions. In the end, he offers special tips for doing the Project RAP (Rapid Action Planning).

Project management book by Terry Schmidt GanttPRO review  Terry Schmidt the author of books for project managers

Bullet points:

  • Compelling methods develop the best project management strategies.
  • The author’s effective tools turn problems into project plans.
  • Projects should be divided by their goals. The projects with no clear goals should eventually be eliminated.
  • Strong benefits come from developing a strong strategy

Who is the target audience?

Experienced professionals who work with different technologies and tools will definitely appreciate this book. It will work for the managers who have enough knowledge and experience of working in different companies, not only in the particular sphere. “Strategic Project Management Made Simple” will be also interesting to beginners and junior PMs, who want to make the first steps in their career.

“Up to you” or “a must”

“This is a must-read book for all leaders who want to revitalize their organization.”

Dale Hough, Chief of Reengineering, Los Angeles.

Customers admit that this book shows the importance of addressing projects from a strategic perspective. There are 93 customer reviews on Amazon on the day of this article writing, and 80% of them suggest 5 stars.

Customer review on a project management book

Learn more about Terry Schmidt:

Project Management JumpStart by Kim Heldman (The Third Edition)

Why is it worth reading?

This book proposes the essential basics and tools of project management for junior managers and young specialists. Kim Heldman (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimheldman), a Senior IT Director of the state of Colorado, has revised the previous versions and included new updates with the fresh project management methods.

The 3rd Edition of this book describes the standards and practices you need to know to become a project manager. With the help of this guide, young specialists can learn the main principles of project management and the ways to define their goals and avoid risks.

Project management book Jump Start GanttPRO review  The book for project managers by Kim Heldman GanttPRO review

Bullet points:

  • You can get project management skills and knowledge attending classes, reading other books on project management and networking with others in your company.
  • “There is not a huge difference in the way the projects are managed today than when Noah built the ark”. The tools are the same.
  • The materials on project management methods, case studies and new examples. The author’s tips on how to create successful project schedules and budgets for better project management.

Who is the target audience?

The book is mostly for beginners in project management, who want to find out new practices and helpful strategies. “Project Management JumpStart” will help to run their projects on time and on the budget. The experienced project managers will also find useful examples of projects and will have a chance to install some interesting tools.

“Up to you” or “a must”

According to customers’ reviews, Kim Heldman uses a conversational tone, light style and helpful examples. If you are a new specialist who wants to build a successful PM’s career, – this book is a good choice for you, as it can be a basic introductory guide.

Jump Start book for project managers GanttPRO review

The Lazy Project Manager by Peter Taylor

Why is it worth reading?

According to “productive laziness” concept, you may test your efforts where it really matters and learn how to work smarter.

Peter Taylor (https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterbtaylor) proposes to divide projects into three parts: Startup, execution, and conclusion. He pays more attention to Startup phase as it is the time when you need to work hard on your projects.

Describing the Execution part, the author recommends to take everything easy and allow the team do its work according to the plans. In the final stage, you can find the useful lessons that will help you with other projects.

The lazy project manager book GanttPRO review  Peter Taylor's book for project managers GanttPRO review

Bullet points:

  • Working less while help to get more done.
  • Successful project managers with own cases.
  • Helpful charts and amusing anecdotes that enrich your knowledge and entertain.  

Who is the target audience?

This book will be good for people who do not like reading long and boring texts with trivial tips. It is quite popular among the best latest management books. The author uses a simple style with many jokes and anecdotes. You will not be bored, for sure. And even if you are a lazy manager you will get to the finish of reading.

“Up to you” or “a must”

Readers appreciate the easy reading style of the book, anecdotes and storytelling.

“It’s is a pleasure to have read Peter Taylor’s deeply experienced perspective on Project Management. The lessons learned here form an excellent checklist that every project manager should commit to memory”.

John P. Dyer

The lazy project manager book's GanttPRO review

Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun

Why is it worth reading?

The updated edition of this book by Scott Berkun is a real bestseller. It consists of the essays about the strategies for managing projects. Each essay contains basic concepts and tips on what it takes to get through a large software or web development project.

Scott Berkun (the experienced Microsoft manager who left the company in 2003) uses comfortable style and easy tone for his essays. He shares his thoughts about: making right decisions, specifications and requirements, leadership and trust, the truth about creating ideas and how to realize them, how to make things happen, etc.

The book for project managers by Scott Bercun GanttPRO review  Scott Bercun the author of books for project managers

Bullet points:

  • Project management exists everywhere, no matter how you define it. It can be a job, an activity or a role in society.
  • What to do when things go wrong (from the Chapter 11): Calm down. Check all the problems in relation to your project. Calm down again. Be with the right people. Try alternatives. Create the plan. Execute and debrief.

Who is the target audience?

The author suggests reading his work for the people with a leadership role in a project. It can be helpful for both technical and non-technical readers:

  • Experienced team leaders and managers.
  • Newcomers, young specialists.
  • Individual programmers and testers.
  • Students.

“Up to you” or “a must”

You should pay special attention to this book, because it can help you to develop ideas and run the successful project. Use Scott’s Berkun tips for various stages of project execution, from project vision to measuring results.

Customer review on a book about project management

Learn more about Scott Bercun:

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Why is it worth reading?

This book will be useful not only for managers but for each reader who tries to change his/her life and plan success in all spheres. The main key is to work with your habits.

Charles Duhigg (who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013) explains in his book why our habits exist and how we can change them. He shows why people and companies struggle to change their lives, while others can simply remake themselves overnight. We can be more productive, build a great business, lose weight, and earn money. We can do everything! The only thing we need to understand is how habits work.

The power of habit for project managers GanntPRO review  Charles Duhigg the author of books for project managers

Bullet points:

  • How to use the power of habits in lifestyle and business (projects).
  • Some practical ways to set your own habits without the extra help.

Who is the target audience?

This book should be good for everyone. Whether you are a project manager, a global CEO, or even an inveterate booser, who wants to change own habits, – this book will give you some good advice. You can also put it on the shelf with the best books for IT managers.

“Up to you” or “а must”

You may have any thoughts about bestsellers, but it is a wrong way to judge what you have not read. So, take a chance to read it to get an idea about the current trends and leave your comment same as more than 3700 readers on Amazon did.

Project management book's customer review

Learn more about Charles Duhigg

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

Why is it worth reading?

The first-hand information about Scrum methodology exclusively from its creator – the man who firstly applied it in his team a little bit more than 20 years ago. Knowledge obtained during reading will help to bring projects into effect with more efficiency and less time spent.

Jeff Sutherland (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffsutherland) explains that standard methodologies are not efficient, and great plans go up in smoke. As a result tasks are not fulfilled in time, and teams do not feel happy.

The book describes principles of teamwork and iterative improvement. Today this methodology is successfully applied by big companies all over the world. For example, 70% of software developers use it in their work.

The art of doing twice the work in half the time

Bullet points:

  • Scrum accelerates the pace of all beginnings regardless of a project and increases work efficiency.
  • Every day hold 15-minutes meetings. Discuss there how to increase quality and speed up all work.
  • Small teams work more efficiently. Stick to the rule 7 plus-minus 2 members.
  • Give people opportunity to do what they feel right to do.

Who is the target audience?

The book will help to achieve what is considered to be unachievable by others. It is good for project managers, leaders, directors and, of course, IT specialists.

Described methods work well at a global scale (like new technology, system or program creation) and for personal projects (like house building, etc.).

“Up to you” or “a must”

“This book cuts through the jargon and pedagogy and gets to the essence of what makes it work.”

Adam Messinger, former Twitter CTO

The book is a constant top-10 maker in Time-management category on Amazon. 74% of all reviews are marked as 5 stars.

Words about best books for project management

Is it enough?

You have viewed 6 PM books that we appreciate most of all. All these books deserve to be read anyway. After all, there are no bad books, but just different opinions.

We are looking for new top management books to read and analyze. And then we’ll share them with you!

What Project Management book from our review left the most impact on you?

Do you know good project management books? Feel free to comment.

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