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9 Best Books for Project Managers to Maximize Potential

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One of the best ways for project managers to improve their skills is through books written by experts. The following list of the best books for project managers will provide you new insights and help you stay on top of your game.

These are some of the best project management books that cover a range of topics from project planning and execution to team management. These project management textbooks are meant to help you manage your projects more efficiently and nail them.

Table of Contents

Making Things Happen, by Scott Berkun

Making Things Happen is a comprehensive guide to the art of project management. It provides a unique perspective on how to handle complex projects with ease. You’ll find valuable lessons on how to overcome common challenges and make things happen, while also developing your own management style. In this book, Scott shares his wisdom on the different aspects of project management, including planning, execution and leadership.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Without change and the occasional struggle, we can’t learn or grow.

If you lead an active intellectual and emotional life, your ideas will grow with you.

Imparting trust, the real meaning of delegation, is a powerful thing.

Human nature reciprocates positive emotion, and when you bring something real out, you invite others to follow.

Often, QA has the best insight into design oversights and potential failure cases that others will overlook.

HBR Project Management Handbook, by Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

HBR Project Management Handbook is considered the best book on management. It offers a comprehensive overview of the latest insights, practices and developments relevant to project management. It covers the key elements of successful project management, like planning, monitoring and control. You’ll find plenty of practical advice and examples to help you deliver projects on time, within budget, and with high-quality results.

The Lazy Project Manager, by Peter Taylor

The Lazy Project Manager is another project management book, but with a fresh approach to project management. The book emphasizes the importance of being efficient, rather than working harder. It offers a way of thinking about project management to achieve more with less effort. Peter shares the ways to be more productive by focusing on the things that matter, delegating responsibilities and avoiding unnecessary work. It will help you save time while delivering outstanding results.

Also Read: 5 Best Books for Time Management

Scrum, by Jeff Sutherland

Scrum provides a comprehensive overview of the Scrum framework. It dives into this art of doing twice the work in half the time. The book covers the key concepts and practices of Scrum like sprints, product backlogs and daily stand-up meetings. You'll be able to learn how to apply this world-famous agile methodology to your own projects, increase team collaboration and deliver quality results.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

If you need a hero to get things done, you have a problem.

Doing more than one thing at a time makes you slower and worse at both tasks.

The Scrum Master, the person in charge of running the process, asks each team member three questions: 1. What did you do yesterday to help the team finish the Sprint? 2. What will you do today to help the team finish the Sprint? 3. What obstacles are getting in the team’s way? That’s it. That’s the whole meeting.

Greatness can’t be imposed; it has to come from within. But it does live within all of us.

Doing half of something is, essentially, doing nothing.

Also Read: 21 Best Books for Marketers and Salespeople

Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber

Agile Project Management with Scrum is a practical guide to using Scrum framework for managing complex projects. In this book, Ken outlines his own successes and failures in agile project management. You’ll be able to understand how to use Scrum to solve problems and gain a solid foundation in Scrum to drive better results. It’s one of the best agile project management books out there.

Top Lesson from the book:

Common sense is a combination of experience, training, humility, wit, and intelligence.

Be Fast or Be Gone, by Andreas Scherer

Be Fast or Be Gone focuses on the importance of agility in project management. And it’s another among the best books on agile project management. In the book, Andreas talks about how essential it is to quickly respond to change in today's fast-paced business environment. He provides practical advice to help project managers adopt a faster and flexible approach to project management, and avoid getting left behind.

Also Read: 7 Best Books for Product Managers

Rescue the Problem Project, by Todd C. Williams

Rescue the Problem Project provides a roadmap for project managers to turn around a failing project. It’s one-of-a-kind guide that helps you identify the symptoms of a dying project, prevent them and recover from them. It’s among the best project management books that’s invaluable whether you want to solve an immediate issue or improve your project management skills in the long run.

Top Lesson from the book:

When the customer anticipates something without specifically requesting it, and it is missing from the exclusion list while other non-requested items are included, the customer argues that the anticipated item is in scope.

Project Management Case Studies, by Harold Kerzner

Project Management Case Studies is a collection of real-world case studies that illustrate the different challenges and opportunities in project management. Harold covers a wide range of industries and topics for project managers to take help from. It might not be the best book for project management, but it’s a valuable resource for inspiration for sure. You'll learn from the experiences of others and understand how to apply the practices in different scenarios.

The Messy Middle, by Scott Belsky

The Messy Middle explores the challenges and opportunities of the difficult phases of projects. The book includes practical insights and strategies to overcome the obstacles and maintain momentum throughout. It’s one of the most recommended books on project management. Whether you're leading a project or looking to improve your management skills, the book will come in handy.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

There is no better measure of your values than how you spend your time.

Sometimes a reset is the only way forward.

The best way for a start-up to “disrupt” an industry is to be a thesis-driven outsider – someone who hasn’t been jaded by the industry but has a strong opinion for what should change.

Imagination happens only when your mind has the freedom to run rampant.

Startups win by being impatient over a long period of time.

OK, those were all the popular books for project managers to read. They’re some of the best books for project management and planning, to get the best possible output from the team.

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