BEST BOOKS ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT

 PUBLISHED ON FEB. 28, 2019 | 20 MIN READ

Best Book on Project Management

What are the best books on project management?

Best Books on Project Management

THE LIST:

1. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management
2. Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide
3. Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager
4. Succeeding with Senior Management
5. SCRUM
6. F.I.R.E.
7. How to Manage Complex Programs
8. Emotional Intelligence for Project
9. Successful Project Sponsorship
10. Spring
11. Successful Business Process Management
12. SCRUM for Dummies
13. Project Management
14. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

1 – The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management | By Eric Verzuh

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The Fast Foward MBA in Project Management: A Practical Handbook and Reference

The detailed outline of this book as it talks about project management convincingly distinguishes it from other topics concerning business schemes. Eric Verzuh, the project management consultant, provides information about the field internals and externals, including the things needed to be prepared before taking the PM professional certification test. He goes deep into innovations, analysis, business organizations, portfolio handling, and essential matters concerning Microsoft Project Software. You can use this book as a reference textbook or as a foundation when studying about the topic. Enough information with regards to the language of PM will come in handy in future endeavors.

Quotes from the book;

“A useful proposal explains the core reason for the potential project, the balance of expected costs and expenses, and begins to articulate the future state that will be achieved if the project is performed.” 

“When project managers see their job as leading change that delivers business value, they see the bigger picture and increase their contribution to their employer and to all stakeholders.” 

“When our individual efforts are multiplied by our teammates, when we overcome huge challenges and deliver to the best of our potential, we have pride and joy in the work we perform.” 

“The added productivity that outside resources bring to the project must outweigh the effort to find and hire them.” 

“Projects are all the work we do one time. Whether it’s designing an aircraft, building a bakery display case or creating a business logo, every project produces an outcome and every project has a beginning and an end.”


2 – Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide | By Gregory M. Horine

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Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide

Gregory Horine, who has Project Management in IT as his profession, provides a clear view on the topic of PM. He has written the book in a way that its parts and chapters can be clearly understood by its readers, as everything is very well integrated. Horine exposes misunderstandings concerning project management and gets his readers to their senses when it comes to common mistakes affecting the successes of their projects. He Emphasizes on leadership and social interactions without going into the minor details. The methods Horine explained a wide array of projects, making his book a foundation for all. 

Quotes from the book;

“A project is the work performed by an organization one time to produce a unique outcome. By one time, we mean the work has a definite beginning and a definite end, and by unique, we mean the work result is different in one or more ways from anything the organization has produced before.”

“As the organizational operating environment continues to become more global, more competitive, and more demanding, organizations must adapt.”

“In addition to providing apparent value to any organization, project management also offers tremendous value to each of us as individuals.”

“You would think it would be relatively straightforward to describe the attributes of a successful project. Well, let’s just say this endeavor has kept more than a few spin doctors, politicians, and history revisionists employed throughout organizations across our great land.”


3 – Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager | By Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood

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Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

Franklin Covey’s Performance Development Consultants Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood, appeal to you to join a group of “unofficial project managers.” This is what they call unprofessional project managers who use a considerable amount of their time initiating new activities, carelessly producing products, and doing inconsistent work. If this is true of you, you probably were not seasoned in making demands for project changes or using “Gantt charts.” Out of all the organizations, 8% of them only deliver projects on time. The author’s way of providing essential content in this book is through narratives and summaries to keep their readers interested.

Quotes from the book;

“This book is for those of us who are paid to think, innovate, and create.”

“This book is about going from good to great in both your professional and personal lives.”

“Project management is the work of the twenty-first century. This means that everyone is a project manager.”

“Project management is no longer just about managing a process. It’s also about leading people-twenty-first-century people. This is a significant paradigm shift. It’s about tapping into the potential of the people on the team, then engaging with and inspiring them to offer their best to the project.”


4 – Succeeding with Senior Management | By G. Michael Campbell, PMP

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Succeeding with Senior Management: Getting the Right Support at the Right Time for Your Project

Problems in communication are usually shared between project managers and higher executives because of their different points of view. Michael Campbell, who is an expert project manager, offers his readers valuable information on building bridges with senior executives. Higher executives usually think about the bigger picture, while project managers are concerned about finishing every detail of a project to achieve the bigger picture. The roles of project managers are to look for senior manager sponsors, stay connected to higher executives, and to keep them informed as well. The author delves into specific issues that will affect the success of a project.

Quotes from the book;

“Why is executive leadership so important to the success of a project?’ The simple answer is that people respond to the agenda that their ‘boss’ feels is important.” 

“Consider the amount of risk (the risk tolerance) your sponsor is willing to take in completing the project successfully.” 

“Disagreement often comes because the warring stakeholders are not actually defining the problem the same way.” 

“Business is full of jargon and acronyms. So is project management. Be very sensitive to using either jargon or acronyms when talking with your sponsor.”

“Projects often start with great fanfare and all manner of support from everyone involved. Then battles…occur as the project progresses and support begins to dwindle.”


5 – Scrum | By Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland

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

Former pilot fighter Jeff Sutherland together with his son J. J. Sutherland who was a correspondent uses analogies from their military experiences in their fascinating book on Project Management. They use lively illustrations, shocking statistics, and easy instructions to convince their readers to apply the methods they offer concerning business projects. The outline they made are not limited to those who need personalized teaching, but also those who are familiar and who want proof of its productiveness. If you achieve just 10% of what other companies such as SpaceX, Zappos, etc. achieve, you better read the techniques, this book teaches you.

Quotes from the book;

“Scrum embraces uncertainty and creativity. It places a structure around the learning process, enabling teams to assess both what they’ve created and, just as important, how they created it.”

“The world is constantly getting more complicated, and the work we do is gaining in complexity at an ever-increasing rate.”

“How many times do you hear about some massive project costing millions and millions being canceled not only because of the cost overruns but because it simply doesn’t work? How many billions of dollars are spent each year producing nothing? How much of your life is wasted on work that both you and your boss realize doesn’t create value?”

“Teams are what get things done in the world of work. There are teams that make cars, answer phones, do surgery, program computers, but the news on, and burst through the doors of apartments occupied by terrorists.”


6 – F.I.R.E. | By Dan Ward

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F.I.R.E.: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation

Dan Ward, who is a professional project manager and an experienced military technologist, keeps his information lively by using stories of war while relating them to the topic of management. To achieve less complicated projects, Ward suggests a more natural approach and persuades project managers to save money, utilize enough people, and use lesser time. He inserts stories such as Superman, Star Trek, Death Star, etc. to keep his readers engaged with his writing. This book is highly recommended for project managers, top executives, and students because of its readability and use of commonsense. There is no room for boredom in Ward’s world.

Quotes from the book;

“A superficial pursuit of speed, thrift, simplicity and restraint results in products that are simplistic, cheap, hasty and too small.”

“Speed without thrift and complexity is going to lead to a spectacular crash.”

“FIRE codifies the…principles and tools used by some of the best technology developers in the world.”

“A low-cost solution that doesn’t work is actually a pretty expensive solution.”

“In an environment of rapid change, long-term projects are a losing proposition.”


7 – How to Manage Complex Programs | By Tom Kendrick

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How to Manage Complex Programs: High-Impact Techniques for Handling Project Workflow, Deliverables, and Teams

Tom Kendrick, who was a former program planner at Hewlett-Packard and presently a director in both project and agile management at UC Berkeley, composed a book about complex management. He lets his readers understand the complexity of his book by breaking it into sections, beginning with “program initiation” until “program closure.” He uses his experience as an ex-program planner at HP to offer his readers actual examples and learnings. Though a few sections of his writings are lengthy and challenging, Kendrick provides you with detailed information concerning this topic. For those who are concerned about developing their careers, you won’t regret reading this manual.

Quotes from the book;

“The principles of effective program management require a firm organizational foundation to take care of both project details and the overall context.”

“Successful program management begins with a good command of project management processes, but that is never sufficient.”

“One approach to dealing with the inherent complexity of programs is to develop a model of the work based on planning.”

“Programs are generally larger than projects, but there may be some overlap in scale between large projects and small programs.”

“Initiating a major program is a significant undertaking, best approached by managing it as project.”


8 – Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers | By Anthony Mersino

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Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills You Need to Achieve Outstanding Results

Anthony Mersino informs his readers with the foundations of Emotional Intelligence for project managers. He offers them more understanding on how to dominate their emotions and how to express their feelings to those who are present with them. Mersino provides reasons why project managers should learn how to manage and be aware of themselves. He believes that emotional intelligence is a significant factor that will have a great effect on a project manager’s success. This book provides relevant and necessary information. Therefore it is not for those who are already well knowledgeable about psychology in organizations and other similar studies.

Quotes from the book;

“Look for the best in people. Try to see beyond their current performance to their true potential. Hold them to that higher bar and encourage them to reach for that level of performance.”

“Once we understand the emotional landscape, we can look past the emotions to the principles involved.”

Project team leadership is the overarching aspect of the emotional intelligence framework for PMs.”

“Being honest and forthcoming with the people we interact with on our projects sounds quite simple, but it is rarely a simple thing to do.”

“Self-assessment is about viewing ourselves accurately and seeking feedback from others to improve our performance.”


9 – Successful Project Sponsorship | By Michiel van der Molen

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Successful Project Sponsorship: A Time-Saver for the Busy Executive

Apple’s iPod, Porsche 911, and the ISS (International Space Station) are some of the winning projects in the world. These projects flourished because of their intelligence in applying project management and active sponsorship. Michel van der Molen, an expert in Project management, expounds on project sponsorship and its nature, makes a comparison between control and support, and provides a reason why the project sponsors are the owners of the project, who are as well the ones taking primary responsibility on the project. This manual is highly recommended for every person who is a part of a project scheme with its great detail and comprehensive information. 

Quotes from the book;

“Most project plans focus almost exclusively on ‘what to do if everything runs according to plan,’ and pay little attention to ‘what to do if not everything runs according to plan’.”

“Make optimum use of the resources both inside and outside your organization, so that project sponsorship requires the minimum level of effort.”

“A business case is not merely a financial trade-off. It is the answer to the question [of] why we do the project.”

“It is often impossible to predict what we will need at the end of the project. Changes have become the rule instead of the exceptions to be avoided.”

“A project is an investment, so it is only successful when it contributes to the objectives of the sponsoring organization.”


10 – Sprint | By Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz

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Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz provide their readers with practical solutions to problems arising in project management. As trends continue to change, most creative ideas are not given room for growth. Therefore, business people have no choice but to keep on coming up with new business ideas at a fast pace. In your company, you have to consider if your plan can find its target market. If you find one for it, then develop it. If it does not work, think about another. This manual hands out its procedures in a detailed manner, teaching you how to utilize a “commercial idea” at a quicker pace.

Quotes from the book;

“It’s what work should be about—not wasting time in endless meetings, then seeking camaraderie in a team-building event at a bowling alley—but working together to build something that matters to real people. This is the best use of your time. This is a sprint.”

“Longer hours don’t equal better results. By getting the right people together, structuring the activities, and eliminating distraction, we’ve found that it’s possible to make rapid progress while working a reasonable schedule.”

“We’ve found that magic happens when we use big whiteboards to solve problems. As humans, our short-term memory is not all that good, but our spatial memory is awesome. A sprint room, plastered with notes, diagrams, printouts, and more, takes advantage of that spatial memory. The room itself becomes a sort of shared brain for the team.”

“By asking people for their input early in the process, you help them feel invested in the outcome.”

“Being in a curiosity mindset means being fascinated by your customers and their reactions.”


11 – Successful Business Process Management | By Paula K. Berman

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Successful Business Process Management: What You Need to Know to Get Results

Standard operations and processes are essential in a functioning business corporation. The real deal is creating a system that works involving staff training, organizing, executing, and inspecting the business processes. Paula K. Berman, who is known to be a Six Sigma Black Belt, offers a detailed outline of these operations and procedures in a step by step manner. Her manual is imperative and informative. Though her book does have some minor errors that keep readers look on different pages just to get the juice of her writing. The brighter side is that she created a template for business operations in the appendix.

Quotes from the book;

“Here’s a quick way to avoid success in business: Set up every department as an independently functioning entity, and discourage communication among departments.”

“For any process improvement initiative, there may be a hundred ways to do it right and a thousand ways to do it wrong.”

“As a company grows, there’s a moment where standardized, documented processes become necessary. It’s better to get there ahead of the need.”

“What you need are processes tailored to your business; your industry, your company size, your company culture and your applicable standards. No universal solution fits all companies.”

“Your company probably has several systems, all undocumented and unplanned. The question is whether those systems are as effective as they could be.”


12 – Scrum For Dummies | By Mark C. Layton

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Scrum For Dummies

In this manual, Mark C. Layton writes about the principles that are the foundation of project management by using the “scrum” system. His quick introduction speaks about fast-paced planning, day to day scrum, rapid reviews, and agile project tools for delivery. Layton expresses the importance of scrum and how it is more than just the development of software, as it can also be applied in other industries such as India’s civil engineering and the United States’ electronic medical records. The format is specially created for starters and features some tips and points. This manual best serve new project managers who have or have not undergone training.

Quotes from the book;

“Scrum itself isn’t technical. In fact, its basic tenets are common sense.”

“Think of your vision statement as a destination with a beacon. You might have 100 ways to get there, and it doesn’t matter which way you take; the point is to end there.”

“The product road map isn’t fixed in stone and fully paved. It too is a living, dynamic artifact.”

The product road map can change. But it gives you something tangible to start with, thereby increasing efficiency.”

“Whether you’re designing a new model of sports car or planning a wedding, everyone needs to clearly understand the end goal.”


13 – Project Management | Karen Tate and Helen Cooke

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Project Management: The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course

Compared to several books concerning PM, which is mostly just informatics, this manual on project management will keep its readers energized with its exciting narrations. The book emphasizes developing skills when it comes to PM. On the downside, this book noticeably needs more editing as its order is somewhat confusing. For example, some chapters would have been better placed in the earlier parts of the book. On the bright side, there are summaries and tests provided at the end of every chapter to keep its readers on their pace. Reading this book will surely add up to a project manager’s knowledge of management. 

Quotes from the book;

“Organizations and industries tend to embrace project management when they either stand to gain significantly by doing so or to lose by not doing so.”

“Some deliverables are obsolete before completion.”

“As organizations advance their project management maturity, the improvements made to the project process will be reflected in increased revenue, better control over strategic initiatives, and more satisfied clients.”

“The world around us changes, and those changes not only affect the project itself but also the way the project’s results will be received and used when it is complete.”


14 – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge | By Project Management Institute

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A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

The group who made this guiding manual were volunteers from the PMI (Project Management Institute). The book about ways of how communication is improved. It focuses mainly on the dynamics of the discussion between clients, project managers, and members of the teams. Moreover, the book provides a step by step guide on how to properly coordinate with everyone involved in the project. This will help starters get an idea of how to converse and discuss like a professional. Knowing that this is the kind of work expected in the field, experts consider this book as a trusted reference. Plus, it has a checklist for the processes being implemented.

Quotes from the book;

“The Project Management Body of Knowledge is the sum of knowledge within the profession of project management.”

“Risk response planning is the process of developing options, and determining actions to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to the project’s objectives.”

“As with other professions, such as law, medicine and accounting, the body of knowledge rests with the practitioners and academics who apply and advance it.”


Final Thoughts

 

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Books Best Books on Project Management – Summaries – Quotes