As a project manager, you’re always looking for the most effective ways to handle your time, budget and team. Of course, it’s more than natural to get stuck in your ways. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet something tells us a little shake-up in your routine won’t hurt things. In fact, picking up a few new skills and taking time to learn from experts in the field might be just what you need to reach your full potential.
Here are eight amazing project management books that will take your career from ordinary to extraordinary. Cheesy motivational poster not included.
1. “The Project Management Answer Book” – Jeff Furman, PMP
Consider this book the Ask Jeeves of project management. Useful as a supplemental study tool for the PMP exam, “TPMAB” is set up in a question and answer format for any questions you may have. The simple format and easy reading style makes finding solutions easy and fast – two of a project manager’s favorite traits. We personally recommend the second edition for its added content.
2. “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” – Peter F. Drucker
Can you get certain things done, but not others? Join the club. Considered to be one of the most influential management thinkers of all time, Drucker takes the reader through a journey of proper decision making. Written simply and clearly, he takes the reader through five traits of business effectiveness that can lead to accomplishing your goals.
3. “Project Management for Non-Project Managers” – Jack Ferraro, PMP
Whether you’re new to project management or you’re looking to further explore your career field, this book defines the basic terms and techniques used by project management professionals in a way that is accessible to beginners and experts alike. So why should you get it? It’s jam-packed with essential terms that project managers without formal training can find extremely useful.
4. “The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management (Fourth Edition)” – Eric Verzuh
A comprehensive text for beginners and experts alike, this books covers topics such as correctly using forms and spreadsheets, IT projects, agility techniques and tips for Microsoft Project. This book can also be used as a reference textbook or even an introductory manual to those new in the field. Our final take on it? It’s worth every darn penny.
5. “Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams” – Terry Schmidt
This text covers ways for every project manager to prevent failure. The book begins by asking the reader vital questions: What are you trying to accomplish? Why? How will you measure success? What other conditions must exist? How are you going to get there? The text includes helpful strategies for project managers to build project plans, making it worth your read.
6. “Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide (3rd Edition)” – Greg Horine
Covering every aspect of project management from plan to execution, this book is ideal for project management beginners looking to learn the tricks of the trade. The book discusses work breakdown structures, project schedules, budgets, controlling deliverables, working with stakeholders and even managing risks. We consider it a comprehensive text for those who are new to the industry or those outside the field looking to understand a project manager’s work responsibilities and flow.
7. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” – Jim Collins
Why do some companies succeed after a huge leap while others fail? In this explorative research project on corporate risks and successes, Jim Collins takes a deeper look into why some companies can jump the shark while others drown in the wading pool. By examining 11 Forbes 500 companies in an extensive research study, Collins takes the reader on an introspective journey, encouraging them to shape their company through common-sense steps. In summary? Taking a risk doesn’t necessarily mean risky business.
8. “Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management” – Scott Berkun
Composed of collective essays rather than giant reference materials, Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun takes the reader through a nine-year biopic of project leadership. The book takes a more spiritual approach, focusing on theory and philosophy rather than hard project management terminology. It invites the viewer to draw their own conclusions from each story, so no two project managers will read it exactly the same. A starkly refreshing look at a field riddled with complexities, Berkun’s text will encourage you to examine your work life in a new way.