In Change Management, Project Management

World Book DayIt’s World Book Day today and we thought we’d share some of our most favourite industry books with you.

It’s easy to buy the ’latest book’ out there, especially if you are new to the field, but there are always some ’oldies but goodies’ that ring true for us and one of these is:
Project Management Demystified (2007)
by Geoff Reiss.

On its third edition, it’s clear to us that this is definitely a good one to read. Chosen by our associate Clive Wood, he told us “My copy is from 1996, I still have it and have just lent it to my son!”

Steve Browne has recommended three books that take the form of novels. As someone who struggles to learn from textbooks, these have now made it on my own ’to read’ list. Steve has helpfully summarised the books:

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win (2014)
by Gene Kim and Kevin Behr

“It’s about turning around a failing software project and it introduces DevOps. It is an excellent read and does a really good job of explaining the need for collaboration and the management of flow.”

The second is:
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement (2004)
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

“This was the inspiration for ’The Phoenix Project’. It is set in a manufacturing plant that is failing. Again it’s a turnaround story, and has been used as a set text in many university business courses.”

The third is:
Critical Chain: A Business Novel (1997)
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

“I’m currently reading this and it uses the concept of Critical Chain to deliver projects in a shorter time by managing contingency more effectively. It had a major impact when it first came out, and is part of PMI’s PMP syllabus now.”

Part of any good project manager’s role is leadership, and with this mind I tapped the brain of Ray Wicks, one of our resident leadership experts, and he has recommended:
Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down (2010)
by Vineet Nayar.

“It’s interesting in two ways” says Ray, “As it goes against conventional wisdom that customers must always come first (although his proposition is that happy, engaged staff will treat customers well) and suggests that front line staff are key e.g. everyone else including the CEO are there to help them.”

And finally we have our recommendation by Joe French, who told me, “I am a very visual learner and make extensive use of flip charts. Increasingly, and to some people’s surprise, ’lo tech’ visual tools are making a comeback especially in the world of Agile working, and so I was really interested when a couple of years back a delegate told me about a book called:
Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures (2013)
by Dan Roam

Joe continues, “To Dan, an inspirational scribbler, no industrial problem is too complex not to be rendered in visual form on a flipchart. He positively eschews computer diagramming tools in favour of … well … the back of a napkin. And you don’t have to be a Rembrandt to make his techniques work, just be able to draw some basic shapes. I thoroughly recommend it.”

I think there’s a good range here to whet anyone’s appetite but feel free to get in touch and tell us what you’ve been reading lately. We’d love to hear your thoughts on which books have been useful, thought provoking and just downright inspiring!

See more about our training team.

Or read Steve’s blog Why we need Agile Projects and not just Agile Development and Ray’s blog Is Your Workforce Change-Ready

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