From Professional Project Services

Professional Project Services
Reading List
The Complete Project Manager
The Project Management Answer Book
Switch: How to change when change is hard
Business Analysis Body of Knowledge
The Lazy Project Manager
Rescue the Problem Project
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I hope this holiday seasons find you and your family and loved ones well. It took me a while to figure out the perfect gift for you to show my appreciation of your support of Professional Project Services, and by extension, me. Thank you so much for following and I look forward to supporting you in your professional endeavors throughout 2013 and beyond. 

I have created the below Reading Guide to project books to help you find the book or books that will best match your needs. I will go beyond the reviews and provide additional information on target audience, specific focus, and reference or read through. I hope you enjoy and please send me your book recommendations as I work to build my 2013 reading list.
Professional Project Services Reading Guide 

The Complete Project Manager: Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills
by Randall Englund and Alfonso Bucero by Management Concepts

Audience: Geared toward Project Managers, useful to all in lead project roles 
Focus: Provides advice and case studies from project experts in maximizing project effectiveness and success
Recommended format: Paperback. Read through it once to learn and understand the concept but keep as a reference for when you need specific refreshers

This book takes a fresh approach developing project managers. It doesn't provide "cookie cutter" tools to be memorized, but rather explores strategies that practicing professionals have used and had success with in breaking through some project barriers. Many contributors (including yours truly) mean you have the advantage of diversity in styles and ideas and not just those of the authors. 
There is also a companion The Complete Project Manager's Toolkit.


The Project Management Answer Book
by Jeff Furman by Management Concepts

New Project Managers, PMPs in training
Focus: PMBOK in a simple, straight-forward question and answer format.
Recommended format: Hard copy. You will want to be able to flip back and forth and mark certain spots easily. 

This is a great accompaniment to the PMBOK and any PMP/CAPM study material. Jeff has anticipated typical questions and areas of confusion to better describe some of the technical areas of PMBOK and certification study. He has also provided some quick guides and study references that will benefit anybody getting ready to sit for the exam. See the reviews to see what the 5 star reviewers have to say. No one has rated this book below 5 stars.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
by Chip Heath by Crown Business
Hardcover ~ Release Date: 2010-02-16

Audience: Anybody
Focus: Why and how to change, personally, professionally, organizationally.
Recommended Format: Electronic to read through

Projects inherently mean change. Too often, we forget to consider the impacts of change on those affected. This book offers some practical advice on how to guide others through change. We have a responsibility to help sell the change and ensure our projects have a smooth transition. Bonus: Learn some strategies to realize changes yourself. 

A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge� (BABOK� Guide)
by IIBA by International Institute of Business Analysis

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Audience: Business Analysts and Project Manager. Project managers often fulfill the role of business analyst on their project, but even when not will prove beneficial in leading, mentoring, and partnering with your business analysts.
Focus: Best practices in business analysis from developing the business case to validating an implemented solution met the expectations.
Recommended format: Hard copy. I truly prefer hard copy for reference books. However, membership to the IIBA will gain you access to one electronic copy (which can be printed).

I muddled through as a business analysis for years before I learned of this Body of Knowledge. Well, it didn't exist but has now been around since 2005. Preparing for the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) exam in 2010 opened my eyes to what a great resource this is for those responsible for business analysis tasks.If you think that business analysis is limited to gathering requirements, the tasks of this Body of Knowledge will be a huge eye opener for you.

The Lazy Project Manager: How to be 
twice as productive and still leave the office early
by Peter Taylor by Infinite Ideas

Audience: Project managers
Focus: Making the project management job easier by following best practices and upfront planning. I'd call it the "why" to follow PMP best practices as it provides "what's in it..." for the reader.
Recommended format: Kindle works just fine.

This is an excellent read on how to make our jobs easier as PM's. It is written with a sense of humor and humility that made it easy for me to engage and learn. Peter pairs advice with real life experiences to make understanding how you can have a positive impact on the projects you manage, all while doing less work. If you have ever had to defend, or wondered yourself about, the value of thoughtful planning, warm and fuzzy team building, or the need to communicate to stakeholders, you will find examples of what goes well when done properly and doesn't go so well when missed in The Lazy Project Manager. Let the experiences of Peter and his past colleagues entertain and educate you.

As an added bonus, you'll get a quick and easy test you can 
apply to your sponsors, coworkers, and friends to determine who the psychopaths are. I am happy to report that none of my friends that responded on Facebook are psychopaths.  

Full disclosure...Peter is one of my co-authors on our upcoming Strategies for Project Sponsors book. As I point when presenting, I'm writing with him because I loved this book, I'm not promoting this book because I'm partnering with him.

Check out additional titles from the "Lazy" series.
Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure
by Todd C. Williams PMP by AMACOM
Kindle Edition ~ Release Date: 2011-03-20

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Audience: Project stakeholders. Project managers will likely pick it up first but sponsors and organizational executives will greatly benefit. Full team understanding and buy in would make a for a great project asset.
Focus: How to turn troubled projects around. The by product is extensive discussion on how to avoid trouble in projects from the onset.
Recommended format: Kindle to read through.
Rescue the Problem Project (RPP) prescribes a process to recover a project that has fallen off track. More importantly, it identifies the many common causes of project issues. Projects would have a much greater chance for success if given managed to the standards of the audit and recovery plan phases from the beginning. As indicated in the book, many of the issues are not with the project manager or project team, but rather organization and management policies, processes, or interference.

The steps and advice contained within RPP as candid, straight-forward, and necessary. The challenge will be for decision makers to understand this to be true. Those decision makers would best be served by taking the time to read RPP to help the organization have a common understanding.

This book makes a clear case against "scope creep" and for good estimation practices. This extends the audience that would benefit to include developers and development leads. If only... 
I could go on and on when it comes to books for the project professionals, but we'll leave it there for now. I hope you find something of interest to check out.
Vicki James
Professional Project Services