6 must-read project management books for entrepreneurs

Posted on March 4, 2017 in News

If you’re starting or sustaining a business, knowing how to keep your projects – and your business! – organized can be the difference between failure and success. You may have thought of project management as something that specialists do in corporations, but it’s vital for start-ups too. A well-planned structure helps you track what progress you’ve made, and what strategic direction to follow in the future. It also saves you a lot of time on redundancies. Being organized is pretty much always a good thing, and the skills that you can learn from the discipline of project management are highly transferable to business development and professional development (and even personal development!) You’ll find that acquainting yourself with the various project management styles out there will make your business more efficient and effective.

But learning the entire canon of project management is often unnecessary, especially when your project is part of the operations of a small-to-medium-sized business, rather than, say, the installation of a new telecommunications technology across a country. Your projects will generally be shorter, smaller, and not require three years of undergraduate study in project management: getting too bogged down in the details gives you less time to focus on your core activities of running and growing your business.

Here’s 6 books that will give you the basics you need to know as an entrepreneur in order to project-manage your way to greatness.

Project Management for Small Business: A Streamlined Approach from Planning to Completion (Joseph Phillips)

As Joseph Phillips has identified, the usual project management models aren’t designed with smaller businesses in mind. He understands that you’re short of time to learn the nitty-gritty, and probably don’t have the budget for dedicated project managers. This book offers you a streamlined version of what is most relevant to you as an entrepreneur in order to use the discipline of project management.

Project Management for Small Projects, Second Edition (Sandra F. Rowe)

Like Phillips, Rowe understands that excess theory isn’t suited to managing small projects. She does offer a very valuable theoretical groundwork, based on the classic PMBOK guide to project management, but the book has what you need to know and none of what you don’t.

The Toyota Way (Jeffrey K. Liker)

This classic of project management analyzes the Toyota way of doing business, which gained much attention during the bubble years and beyond for its innovative, often quite intuitive way of managing projects and people. The famous “kanban” project management system, now widely used internationally, originated from Toyota. This book offers valuable insights not only into project management, but in a philosophy of business which was (and still is, at times) very different from what was going on in the West. A fascinating read.

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time (Jeff Sutherland, JJ Sutherland)

Scrum has become a buzzword in the project management world with good reason: the focus on efficiency, agility and productivity has been groundbreaking. Co-author Jeff Sutherland was a pioneer of Scrum when it started two decades ago, and his analysis is insightful, educational and inspirational.

The project manager who smiled: The value of fun in project management (Peter Taylor)

Looking past what can be a mountain of theory, project management is about people. Without buy-in and commitment, even the most meticulously planned project can fail. The good news is, project management doesn’t have to be dry. Peter Taylor has teamed up with project management software provider Wrike to focus on putting the humor back in project management, with helpful hints and tips to keep you entertained, and maybe even find yourself sharing a bit of Taylor’s clear passion for the discipline.

Beyond the Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization (Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble)

The two authors of this book are considered world leaders in the field of innovation management. This may sound like an obscure term, but as an entrepreneur, you’re bound to be aware of how much of a difference a culture of innovation can make! Project-managing in a way that encourages leadership, openness and collaboration can create something truly special, and this book is a wonderful read to help you and your team come up with great ideas and turn them into a reality.

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