Whether you’re a project manager now, or you aspire to become one, anyone who’s established a successful career in the field will tell you the same thing: you can never stop learning. Project management is a complicated yet fulfilling career, but the best part is that there’s always room for growth. Project management is an art that requires a lot of balance, skill and effective strategizing. And as projects evolve or you work in different fields, the requirements also change.
Almost every major project executed these days involves resources and expertise from people of different domains. For example, say an organization wants to manufacture electric cars. This project would require experts from the fields of electrical engineering, electronics, mechanical engineering, marketing, supply chain, and manufacturing. Now, you’d make sure that everyone works in sync and on time. As the project manager, it would be up to you to ensure that the final goal is achieved.
So it’s safe to say there’s a lot to learn and you could never get bored in this role.
To help you out, we’ve created a list of of our favorite project management books.
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Our Favorite Project Management Books
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to continue to learn no matter what stage you’re in as a project manager. So, here are a few of our recommendations for the most useful project management books.
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK® Guide (Sixth Edition)’
The PMBOK book serves as the standard textbook for those preparing for the PMI certification. Though this book is technical and can be tough to read, it’s expansive, thorough, and authoritative.
The sixth edition is the latest in the series. Even if you’re not taking the certification, this guide is full of information you should know.
Project Management for Humans: Helping People Get Things Done
by Brett Harned, Greg Storey, and Deb Aoki
This book takes a more personalized approach to project management. The authors discuss personal stories and what they’ve learnt in their career. They also offer practical advice for the successful completion of projects.
They discuss that in addition to tactical basics like estimating and planning projects, it also helps to learn soft skills like empathy and communication, which are vital for project management.
This book is written in a conversational style and is easy to read. However, the main focus of the book is on digital project management.
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management
by Scott Berkun
This critically acclaimed bestseller is written by Scott Berkun, who has spent over a decade as a project manager for big tech companies. This book is a comprehensive and practical guide that’s suited for beginners in the field.
Complicated theories are simplified and explained with practical examples.
Although this book gives examples of projects in the software and web development domains, it’s easy for both technical and non-technical audiences to understand. There’s also a separate chapter dedicated to the resolution of issues and bugs at various project stages.
Overall, this book offers several inspirational techniques to tackle big PM challenges.
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
by Jeff Sutherland
Jeff Sutherland is the co-creator of the scrum methodology. This book talks about how scrum improves the shortcomings of traditional project management methods. The set of agile practices and increased collaboration can boost productivity and quality by as much as 1200 percent.
Though this number might seem like a stretch, it’s been observed that regardless of the industry type, following the scrum method has yielded huge improvements in productivity.
This book is recommended for those who are already in the field of project management or are at least familiar with the traditional project methodologies.
Brilliant Project Management
by Stephen Barker
This book is a quick refresher course in advanced project management. It offers memorable illustrations of common challenges faced while working with big, cross-functional teams; or while planning crucial projects without getting bogged down by theoretical principles.
It gives you tips on how to stay on schedule and budget while also delivering quality projects.
A Reading List is Just the Beginning
While there are many ways to kick off a career in project management – like taking a bootcamp or getting a certification – your journey can start with an Amazon shopping cart. Taking even just 10 minutes per day to read books from the pros could help you become a more effective Project Manager and put you on track for senior positions.
But if you're committed to pursuing a career in project management, there are plenty of other ways you can get a head start. Read up on what a Project Manager does once they're working in the field. You can also start practicing some of the foundational skills that lead to a long-term career in the industry.
If you've done your research and you know that a career full of Excel spreadsheets, Gantt charts and roadmaps is for you, then jump in head first. Enroll in a project management bootcamp to learn the specific skills top employers are looking for. You'll have a one-on-one mentor to help you get through the course, and then apply your skills in real-world scenarios. You'll even have a career coach to help you apply for jobs, fine tune your resume, and practice for your interviews.
Take the leap, and start your new career today.
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