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Project Management

5 Must Read Project Management Books for Accountants

There are so many project management books out there, it’s hard to tell what’s worth the read. Here are the 5 must-read books on project management.

So, you started a business and it’s going great, except for one thing... project management.

While your accounting education taught you all about profit and loss statements, budgets, and tax returns, it brushed over the all too important skills required to run a business. And now that your business is up and running, you need a little help making sure it continues to run.

37% of executive leaders said lack of clear goals is the most common factor behind project failure, according to the 2017 PMI Pulse of the Profession report.

One of the best ways to tune your skills for project management is through literature. But there are so many project management books out there, it’s hard to tell what’s worth the read.

We sorted through more than 100 books to compile this list of the five best project management books, so you can hone your skills and excel at running your firm.

Best for beginners: Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management

If you’re completely new to the project management landscape, you need a simple and comprehensive guide. Author Scott Berkun spent more than a decade as a project manager for big tech companies. In this bestselling book, Berkun offers a collection of essays on philosophies and strategies for defining, leading and managing projects.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • How to make things happen

  • Making good decisions

  • Specifications and requirements

  • Ideas and what to do with them

  • How not to annoy people

  • Leadership and trust

  • The truth about making dates

  • What to do when things go wrong

Why we like this book

Berkun’s writing is smooth and easy to understand. Unlike many other project management books, this one isn’t technical or full of jargon. He writes from experience and his tone matches that of project manager with good, entertaining and passionate advice. Find Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management on Amazon.

Best for a quick refresher: Brilliant Project Management

This book by Steven Barker is a classic. It’s chock full of hilarious and memorable challenges you will encounter when running a big team or planning an important project. Barker covers all the essential principles, needed skills, and effective methods that successful project managers use to meet objectives.

Pick up this book when you’re:

  • Stuck on a team project or planning process

  • Need fresh ideas to motivate yourself (and employees)

  • Trying to stay on budget and schedule

Why we like this book

Barker’s book is full of practical tips and real-world relevance without getting bogged down by theory. It’s a handy desk reference and captures all the basics of project management. Find Brilliant Project Management on Amazon.

Best for accidental project managers: Project Management Lite: Just Enough to Get the Job Done...Nothing More

Written by Juana Clark Craig, PMP, this book is just 138 pages. It doesn’t cover all the usual specialized terms, but instead presents the reader, in plain language, how to plan a project, work the plan, and close it out. It’s a step-by-step guide with worksheets and checklists for easy execution.

Why we like this book

This is a great book to get you from the initial “oh, no!” to a successful job done. It has all the information you’ll need to get up and running with your first project. We especially love how each chapter starts with a quote that encapsulated the message of the chapter perfectly. Find Project Management Lite: Just Enough to Get the Job Done...Nothing More on Amazon.

Best for leveraging technology: The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive

A lot of project management material focuses on managing people and organizational issues. But few incorporate a discussion about technology. This book, by Terri L. Griffith, teaches you how to balance your team, tools, and processes. It’s a great step-by-step guide for managers that want to create and mix powerful strategies across each of an organization's dimensions of people, technology and organizational processes.

Key takeaways include:

  • Effective ways to leverage technology in team and work management

  • Advice from first-hand interviewers with “plugged-in” leaders

Why we like this book

Griffith’s book offers a fresh look at management issues. It’s filled with case studies and first-hand interviews, keeping it fresh, interesting and relevant. Plus, it covers content that’s often neglected in project management literature. Find The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive on Amazon.

Best for strategic thinkers: Strategic Project Management Made Simple

Most projects and strategies never get off the ground because of the faulty methods used to turn their ideas into actionable plans. Terry Schmidt’s book couples a step-by-step process with an interactive thinking tool, so you can take a strategic approach to designing projects and action initiatives.

The book builds a solid platform around four foundational questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish and why?

  • How will we measure success?

  • What other conditions must exist?

  • How do we get there?

Why we like this book

Setting a strong foundation with four central questions, the book helps readers flesh out a simple, yet sophisticated, workbench. The framework provides the right mix of structure and flexibility for designing and managing initiatives in a rapidly changing context. Strategic Project Management Made Simple on Amazon.

Always improve your practices

The best project managers are always looking for ways to improve their practices. While “project manager” might not be in your job title, the skills are immensely valuable for anyone running an accounting firm.

Want to make the best use of your resources for maximum profitability? Click below to start your free trial of CORE project management software today.

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