When asked about the downsides of being a project manager, some people would list long hours and substantial pressure. There’s no denying that the PM job may require you to make difficult calls or to log in…
Why focusing on ebooks for project managers? In the last couple of days alone I’ve stumbled upon 8 or 10 pieces on “best startup resources” or “sure-fire tactics for growth” but for some reason project management doesn’t seem to be cool/sexy/worthy enough for the authors. Yet, in order to grow, all projects have to be built, developed and, obviously, managed in the process. Even better, we all happen to be PMs from time to time since we all run projects of different kinds.
I am a communications specialist by profession but I find PM techniques to be useful everyday in my job. That’s why I decided to go through several ebooks for project managers and pick the ones me and my PM colleagues found especially valuable. Enjoy the list!
EBOOKS MADE FOR THE ASPIRING/CASUAL PROJECT MANAGERS
1. “The Beginner’s Guide to Project Management Methodologies” published by Wrike
This is a great resource for people heading for a PM job interview. Chances are, you will have to talk about different methodologies (or the differences between them). This guide provides a basic overview and clears up some of the common misunderstandings. What’s really compelling about this ebook is the quirky visual approach to the content which helps to memorize the information. The authors also added a list of extra resources for people who want to further broaden their knowledge.
Apart from aspiring PMs, it’s an informative resource for everyone who happens to work in the software development field. Whether a developer or C-level executive, the knowledge of different PM methodologies can improve your understanding of what’s going on within the project.
2. “Project Management can be easy” published by EasyProjects
An ebook like this is a very good resource for people whose job title doesn’t necessarily say “Project Manager”. As the authors themselves put it, it’s an ebook for people who simply “have a project to get done”.
I really appreciated the fact that this one is very straightforward about the challenges that the PMs are facing (e.g. the politics within the company). The story that this ebook tells is also very engaging, although it’s not necessarily about software development, so it could be a hit or miss.
Readers can find a glossary and a collection of useful links at the end of the book.
EBOOKS FOR PROJECT MANAGERS FOCUSED ON THE DAY-TO-DAY PRACTICES
3. “A guide to Project Management” published by teamgantt
I have to say, this one hits all the right notes when it comes to a good overview of what an effective project manager should do. Brett Harned, the author of this ebook, is focused not only on the technical aspects of the job but also on the soft skills necessary to deliver projects smoothly. It also addresses management challenges (dealing with changes, the client-team relationship) which makes for a very practical read.
If you’re just skimming through this one, make sure you read the part about being a better PM and making people respect and notice you (in the “How To Put ‘Me’ In Team” chapter). The tips provided by Brett are easy to implement and can make a huge difference.
4. “Project Management Tactics for Pros” published by Netguru
This ebook can be a perfect match for busy project managers dealing with multiple projects at a time. The authors devote quite a lot of the content to the best practices of communication in a fast-paced environment. They touch on the feedback culture as well as the PMs well-being (and fighting off procrastination!).
Arguably, the most valuable assets of this ebook are the ready-made lists of questions you can ask both before the project and when organising an AAR (after-action review) meeting.
5. “Better Software & Stronger Teams” published by ZenHub
It may seem that this is a book for people who already use GitHub as their collaboration platform. However, it’s actually also a very good intro to GitHub itself with a screen-by-screen guide.
Is it worth reading for people who are not using GitHub at work? Short answer: it is. Long answer: there’s a lot of value for project managers there (detailed info about estimating, using velocity rather than rewarding individual productivity etc). I’d recommend it to developers as well. The authors point out to the development culture, the importance of proper testing, code reviews, the definition of done — it’s an interesting read also from the programmer’s perspective.
6. “Resource Management for Project Managers — Best Practices” published by teamdeck
Full disclosure — I co-wrote this one. We created this ebook because we felt that there aren’t enough resources about running projects with people in mind.
Since launching this ebook, we’ve been getting positive feedback from the readers, including Mike Cohn himself. Personally, my favorite part is the chapter about choosing the right software for your needs. Having used several online tools (and having built one), we know well enough that software is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Our goal was to create a set of guidelines that help you identify the features you really need.
AN ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT (that’s also the title of the ebook below)
7. “The ultimate guide to Project Management” published by Zapier.
First of all, this is a one huge ebook — hats off to the Zapier team for putting this together. Don’t be overwhelmed by the volume, though, as different parts of this ebook seem to be best suited for different people. Aspiring PMs can find a thorough overview of project management systems and the skills one has to possess to be an effective manager. The historical perspective, filled with fun facts about the origins of different PM ideas, is also really engaging.
The second part of this book is most useful for people who have a say in choosing the PM software for their company. The Zapier team have actually tested 75 project management tools and described the best ones, from a simple kanban board to advanced PM solutions. The readers also get to know the software stack of 13 different companies which is helpful to understand how tools can work together to be more effective.
I’m still on the lookout for valuable resources and ebooks for project managers so don’t hesitate to link your favorites. The aim is to create a solid stash of project-related resources.