Project managers have to deal with a wide variety of challenges when they are managing projects. From inspiring their team to delivering their best to making the right decisions at the right time, project managers should have complete command over their domain. Additionally, they should know how to take full advantage of digital tools such as task management software and project management software to get more done with fewer resources. In this article, we have compiled a list of some of the best books that every project manager should read to deliver exceptional results.
1. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun
This book is a great resource for project planning as it focuses on how you can make things happen and bring your project back on track. Additionally, beginners can also benefit from this book as it breaks down project and scheduling tasks into multiple phases and explain it one step at a time in digestible chunks, which makes it easy for beginners to grasp the intricacies of project scheduling. That’s not all, project managers can learn how to keep all their team members on the same page with this useful book.
2. The 5 Dysfunction of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Managing people, be it your team members or clients, can be a tedious task for project managers. This volume elucidates key issues that can lead to team dysfunction and result in common workplace conflicts, with real life narrations and anecdotes so that readers could easily understand the point without getting into technical details. It puts major emphasis on key factors that could ensure better team cohesion and collaboration, in turn making your project a success.
3. The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company by John Rossman
Joss Rossman, a former Amazon executive, allows you a sneak peek into the company’s guiding principles. Although, this book only consists of 170 pages, but it helps to deliver leadership lessons behind the success of Amazon. Statements such as “Leaders at Amazon focus on the key outputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.” make this book a must read for project managers.
4. Good to Great by Jim Collins
This insightful book, known as “Good to Great” focuses on 11 companies that took things to the next level and the leadership that drove these companies to success. Whether you want to know where to start and how to grow your business, or seek answers to other common leadership questions, then Good to Great by Jim Collins is for you. It divides leadership into different levels to make it easier for readers to understand what works best at which level.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
Published more than 25 years ago, this best-selling book from Stephen R Covey incorporates some valuable lessons on time management, leadership and productivity that still work. Covey, a leadership expert himself, advises project managers to take care of themselves because leadership starts from within. Additionally, it advises leaders to create a vision and exhibit self-control in tough situations.
6. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
Planning for a project is not enough and does not guarantee success especially if you are doing nothing to execute these plans. This is what this book focuses on. Execution: The Discipline of getting things done takes project managers and executives on a journey on how they can manage tasks and put their plans into action to achieve their desired results.
7. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Golman
Daniel Golman, a famous psychologist, behavioral science expert and author puts all his experience and knowledge into his famous book. He is the pioneer of emotional intelligence. “Leadership: The power of emotional intelligence” combines his writings of 20 years on organizational excellence and leadership qualities.
What makes this book unique is the fact that it is one of the few books that discusses the role of emotions at workplace and tells you how you can motivate and inspire your team members to achieve outstanding results. Whether you are an executive or a project manager, this book should be on your bookshelf.
8. Influence: Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
As a project leader or a business executive, you should have control and influence over your subordinates if you want to harness their productivity. This book teaches you how to exercise influence and persuade people with the help of weapons of persuasion such as communication, social proof, scarcity, consistency and authority. Moreover, you can also learn what persuasion techniques works best in different situations and what are the most effective ways to persuade and influence people after reading this book.
9. Creativity.Inc by Ed Catmull
Ed Catnull, the author of this book and the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studio, has discussed secrets of one of the most creative studios in the world and shows his readers how they can benefit by implementing them in their workplaces. The book also inculcates in budding project managers a knowhow of the various business challenges that they might come across.
With so much emphasis laid on creativity and innovation, you cannot afford to miss this book, especially if you are leading a creative team or wish to in future. Creativity.Inc also discusses how effective leaders contribute towards the success of Pixar studio.
10. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie was named among the 100 most influential books in Time Magazine’s list. Published more than half a century ago, the techniques discussed in this book still hold true even today. It focuses on management and instill in you the rules that will help you influence your team members and motivate them to achieve impressive results.
Key principles discussed in this book are “Be a good listener and encourage others to talk”, “talk in terms of other people’s interest” and “give honest and sincere appreciation”. By using these principles, project managers can easily make their turbulent project management journey smoother.
Although most project managers have the technical knowledge and expertise, they lack in effective management and leadership skills, which is why our list consist of a mixture of books that cover all basis. Take some time out from your busy schedules to read some of the above-mentioned books and see the difference these books can make in your life. If you have any book that deserves to be on our list, please share it with us in comments section below.