Top 10 Project Management Books for the Professional PM

Do you long for a day in the workplace beginning with a planning session that has your team excited to provide meaningful and creative input for a project that is firmly set up for success and executed on schedule in a cost-effect manner?

Have all your work days and projects turn out this way, whether you are a new professional or an experienced project manager needing help with project management software. Acquire golden nuggets of PM wisdom by flipping through the pages of the project management books in this list of the Top 10 Project Management Books for the Professional PM.

Top 10 Project Management Books for the Professional PM

Information Technology Project Management, revised

1. Information Technology Project Management, Revised (with Premium Online Content Printed Access Card) by Kathy Schwalbe

Well-organized, this book provides a thorough coverage of the foundation principles in IT project management, as well as practical examples of its numerous challenges, including why some IT projects end up failing in the business world. The book offers guidance in using different tools and resources, such as Microsoft Project for setting up and managing your projects, with information on Knowledge Areas and the Project Management Process Groups as defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The case studies discussed throughout the whole book, chapter end notes, and other references are kept interesting and relevant–which is not an easy task! Also, find your learning progress tested at each chapter’s end.

Microsoft Project 2010 Step by Step2. Microsoft Project 2010 Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft)) by Carl Chatfield and Timothy Johnson D.

Microsoft Project Step by Step’s legacy of concise and clear instructions continues in this title. It relates the MS Project’s A-Z and its ever-changing versions. Well organized with just the right amount of details, jump right into a topic and find the help you need. The way this book is set up, you’ll find what you need in a flash. The tips are handy with crystal clear instructions and a detailed navigation on how to create a good plan. Even if you use Project 2013, this book remains relevant. By the end of this book, you will be able to piece together a sophisticated schedule for any of your projects, even if you had little to no prior experience with Microsoft Project.

Essential Scrum A practical guide3. Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) by Kenneth S. Rubin 

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With an enjoyable writing style, this project management book thoroughly explores all aspects of scrum. It completely covers all the ins and outs of this excellent methodology. The illustrations and constant use of the icon diagrams are also very insightful. This project management book goes beyond the development team and contains great extra information, like product portfolio management, scheduling strategies, release planning, communication, and more.

Information Technology Project Management (with Microsoft Project 2007 CD-ROM4. Information Technology Project Management (with Microsoft Project 2007 CD-ROM) (6th ed) by Kathy Schwalbe

Many project managers have problems managing information technology. This project management book focuses on information technology and is an easy and informative read that reveals ideas and information going beyond standard project management. It integrates theory and practice and the book’s case studies make it all the more enjoyable. Its project management concepts not only help solidify their feasibility, but their necessity particularly in today’s complicated IT environment. The author takes the time to connect the functions being introduced to concepts that are useful and explanations that are detailed.

The Mythical Man-Month5. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition)

This project management book is gold in terms of what a Software Development Project is all about. This should be the first book you pick up before starting a software project. It has everything, including methodologies of project management, as well as rational and cognitive thinking. Almost every page holds a nugget of wisdom. It covers the methods and processes of software development, rather than programming’s nitty-gritty details. It is amazing that a book originally written around 40 years ago remains applicable today, even for large scale projects.

Effective Project Management Traditional, Agile, Extreme6. Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme by Robert K. Wysocki

This project management book is written in a way that manages to make information stick to your brain (and it  isn’t based on your ability to memorize the details of PMI’s PMBOK.)  It contains a great introduction about the Project Management process pertaining to software development projects. The book describes the life cycle of project management, consisting of the five process groups, in the context of four typical projects styles – Agile, Traditional, Extreme, and Emertxe, which is “extreme” spelled backwards.

Revised An Introduction to Project Management, Third Edition7. Revised An Introduction to Project Management, Third Edition: With Brief Guides to Microsoft Project 2010 and @task by Kathy Schwalbe

This one is comprehensive and easy-to-read, plus it includes a great free website with templates, Jeopardy-like games, interactive quizzes, and more at a cost-effective price. As she explains project management very well, you are impressed with the author’s practical knowledge regarding the subject matter. Many real-world references included within these pages convey what organizations do right or wrong in project management. There are also xkcd cartoons or stick-figure strips to lighten things up. The suggestions here save a lot of heartache and money on projects, with fewer abandoned projects if anyone were to use these techniques.

Gamestorming8. Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers

Find yourself flipping back and forth through this project management book more than a paper or e-book version of this would comfortably allow. It includes plenty of great scenarios for group trainings, meetings, or any other occasion, no matter how big or small the group you are working with is. Imagine a workplace where teams get excited about meetings that produce results both useful and tangible and a day that begins with creative exchange which then flows into meaningful executed work by that team. Gamestorming helps you turn these kinds of days into regular occasions.

Microsoft Project 2010 Inside Out9. Microsoft Project 2010 Inside Out by Teresa S. Stover, Bonnie Biafore and Andreea Marinescu

You will find yourself up and using advanced stuff in a couple of hours after reading the Microsoft Project 2010 Inside out by Stover, Biafore, and Marinescu. It is an excellent reference book for both novice and experienced MS Project users and project managers who will find themselves getting right back into planning cost-loaded schedules after reviewing this helpful project management book. It is easy to re-find stuff and it goes into every detail of MS Project 2010 as the 1300 pages of content and title suggests.

Agile Project Management with Scrum10. Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional) by Ken Schwaber

If you are interested in learning “Agile” or “Scrum” to better communicate with your team or learn how to become a better project manager, reading this project management book is a great start in getting you hooked into Agile. It’s author Ken Schwaber, who is an experienced product manager and software developer, developed the method himself. You will find that this is the must-have text on learning`how to do it’ and adopt Scrum practices. The book uses very good real-life case studies to demonstrate commonly made mistakes and traps, various rules of thumb, and other useful information when trying to implement Scrum.

There you have a list of books to help you achieve all of your project’s goals. Not only are these project management books informative, but easily entertaining with its real-life case studies and scenarios, illustrations, and proposed activities to help guide you through the success of your project. Some are even so well-written that you’ll find you’ll want to keep them in your personal library!

What have you found helpful in the execution of your projects? Leave a comment below.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 9

  • Adriano,

    Here’s some that have guided us in the enterprise IT domain:
    1. Reinventing Project Management, Aaron Shenhar and Dov Dvir
    2. IT Governance, Weill and Ross
    3. Succeeding with Agile, Mike Cohn
    4. Project Management the Agile Way, Goodpastuer
    5. The Seven Secrets of How to Think Like a Rocket Scientist, Jim Longuski
    6. The Martian Principles for Successful Enterprise Systems: 20 Lessons Learned from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Ronald Mak – this is especially good for agile developers working on mission critical systems

  • Wysocki’s book is a must for anyone who wants to understand project management methodologies ranging from the tradition to the extreme…..a horizon expander.
    From Schawber’s book one can gain an appreciation of the discipline needed to make agile software development…..and not just scrum…..effective. And, to get below concepts into the guts, I’ve always liked Mike Cohn’s Agile Estimating and Planning.

  • Powerful Project Leadership by Wayne Strider covers the gloriously messy people parts of project leadership. Some of the stickiest most intractable project problems have little to do with process, tools, and templates and more to do with people problems.

  • Effective Project Management by Robert K. Wysocki I read it and it’s really amazing. I read lots of PM books and I learned many things about project management. Thanks!

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