Best Technical Project Management Books

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hen it comes to software development, there are a lot of challenges that face developers. From the time you first create your code to the time you deploy it, there are always going to be challenges. Whether you’re a new developer or an experienced one, understanding and managing these challenges can be crucial for success. That’s where books come in—books that offer unique perspectives on project management and software development. In this article, we’re looking at the best technical project management books for software developers. We hope that they will help you overcome the challenges and improve your methodologies while also giving you insights into how other developers have done it before you.

1. Agile Management for Software Engineering

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Agile Management for Software Engineering, by David Anderson, turns the Theory of Constraints into pragmatic insights for driving projects, making progress where it counts, and producing great results.

The book provides a great lens for thinking in terms of business value and how to flow value throughout the project cycle.

2. Agile Project Management with Kanban

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Agile Project Management with Kanban, by Eric Brechner, is the ultimate guide for doing Kanban.

Rather than get bogged down in theory, it’s a fast-paced, action guide to transitioning from Scrum to Kanban, while carrying the good forward.  Eric helps you navigate the tough choices and adapt Kanban to your environment, whether it’s a small team, or a large org.

If you want to lead great projects in today’s world, and if you want to master project management, Kanban is a fundamental part of the formula and this is the book.

3. Flawless Execution

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Flawless Execution, by James D. Murphy, shares deep insight from how fighter pilots fly and lead successful missions, and how those same practices apply to leading teams and driving projects.

It’s among the best books at connecting strategy to execution, and showing how to get everybody’s head in the game, and how to keep learning and improving throughout the project.

This book also has a great way to set the outcomes for the week and to help people avoid getting overloaded and overwhelmed, so they can do their best work, every day.

4. Get Them On Your Side

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Get Them On Your Side, by Samuel B. Bacharach, dives deep into stakeholder management, but in a simple and effective way.

Stakeholder management is one of the secret keys to effective project management.

So many great ideas and otherwise great projects die because of poor stakeholder management.  If you don’t get people on your side, the project loses support and funding.

If you win support, everything get easier.

This is probably the ultimate engineer’s guide to understanding politics and treating politics as a “system” so you can play the game effectively without getting swept up into it.

5. How To Run Successful Projects III: The Silver Bullet

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How to Run Successful Projects III: The Silver Bullet, by Fergus O’Connell, cuts through all the noise of what it takes to do project management with skill.

While  “The Silver Bullet” is a bold title, the book lives up to its name.

O’Connell carves out the essential core and the high-value activities with amazing clarity so you can focus on what counts.

Whether you are a lazy project manager that just wants to focus on doing the minimum and still driving great projects, or you are a high-achiever that wants to take your project management game to the next level, this is the guide to do so.

6. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management

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Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management, by Scott Berkun is the book that really frames out how to drive high-impact projects in the real-world.

It’s a book for program managers and project managers, by a real Microsoft program manager.

It’s hard to do projects well, if you don’t understand project management end-to-end.  This is that end-to-end guide, and it dives deep into all the middle.  If you want to get a taste of what it takes to ship blockbuster projects, this is the guide.

7. Managing the Design Factory

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Managing the Design Factory, by Donald G. Reinertsen, is an oldie, but goodie.

One of my former colleagues recommended this to me, early in my career.

It taught me how to think very differently and much more systematically in how to truly design a system of people that can consistently design better products.  It’s the kind of book that you can keep going back to after a life-time to truly master the art of building systems and ecosystems for shipping great things.

While it might sound  like a philosophy book, Donald does a great job of turning ideas and insight into action.

You will find yourself re-thinking and re-imagining how you build products and lead projects.

8. Requirements-Led Project Management

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Requirements-Led Project Management: Discovering David’s Slingshot, by Susanne Robertson and James Robertson, is a book that will add a bunch of new tools to your toolbox for depicting the problem space and better organizing the solution space.

It’s one of the best books I know for dealing with massive amounts of information and using it in meaningful ways in terms of driving projects and driving better product design.

9. Secrets to Mastering the WBS in Real-World Projects

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Secrets to Mastering the WBS in Real-World Projects, by Liliana Buchtik, dives in deep to the art and science of the Work Breakdown Structure.

The Work Breakdown Structure is the ultimate tool that project managers have, that other disciplines don’t.

The problem is, too many project managers still create activity-based Work Breakdown Structures, when they should be creating outcome-based Work Breakdown Structures.

This is the first book that I found that provided real breadth and depth in building better Work Breakdown Structures.

I also like how Buchtik applies Work Breakdown Structures to Agile projects.

This is hands down the best book I’ve read on the art and science of doing Work Breakdown Structures in the real world.

10. Strategic Project Management Simple

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Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practices Tools for Leaders and Teams, by Terry Schmidt.

This book helps you build the skills to handle really big, high-impact projects.

But it scales down to very simple projects as well.  What it does is help you really paint a vivid picture of the challenge and the solution, so that your project efforts will be worth it.

It’s an “outcome” focused approach, while a lot of project management books tend to be “activity” focused.  This is actually the book that I wish I had found out about earlier in my career – it would have helped me fast path a lot of skills and techniques that I learned the hard way through the school of hard knocks.

The strategic aspect of the book also makes this super relevant for program managers that want to change the world.

This book shows you how to drive projects that can change the world

Project management tools and techniques

Project management tools and techniques that really work; that’s the problem statement. We live in a world where we are bombarded with different scenarios and projects in our daily work life. Eventually, these variables affect us to the extent that productivity suffers at multiple levels.  We simply can’t wrap our heads around such complexities, even if we have a proper strategy or a leader with an effective mindset that can help us get through that ordeal.

These strategies and tools are properly necessary so that we can get the job done without spending more and more of our revenue and manpower, because if we spend that much energy on work activities without a proper direction in mind then we are in for serious trouble down the road.

In this brief article, we will help you study some effective tools and techniques which can be used in different fields of the organizational culture that facilitate you in creating an efficient strategy and successfully delivering a top-notch project.

When it comes to project management tools and techniques, you don’t have just one technique or foolproof tool that you can use in every project of every organization. Your decision about which one to choose should arise from the project specifics that the brief contained, the complexity level that the project boasts, the nature and qualification of the team involved in the development, and countless other factors.

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Most of the project management tools and techniques can be used in various fields, but there are techniques that are natively designed for specific activities and these activities or projects really can’t function properly if they don’t have the foundation of those tools.

Given below are some of the most noteworthy project management techniques that are commonly used in the industry right now.

1. Classic technique

We often think that completing a project or an assignment in our work-life requires the latest and the most complex tools and techniques so that we can achieve tangible results and for the most part is true but for all those other times the traditional and simplest techniques are the most appropriate for effective development in projects.

The classical technique in project management is an amazing procedure that includes a proper plan to cover all of the upcoming work activities, which tasks are to be performed, and what should be the chain of application that defines which task to do first, allocating proper resources to the tasks according to their importance, providing and receiving proper feedback from the team which helps in team building and also monitoring the quality of the work done and how are the deadlines being met by the team.

nTask has incorporated this technique in the app where you can create simple tasks for your teams and set actual and planned deadlines. You can also prioritize the tasks based on their urgency or dependencies.

Where to use: The Classical procedure is amazing for running projects that are performed by a team that is small in number because a larger team with a complex strategy isn’t required.

2. Waterfall technique

The waterfall technique is also considered a traditional project management tool because it builds on the upper mentioned Classical approach and takes it to a whole new level.

As the title suggests, the Waterfall technique is based on your project management tasks to be dealt with in a properly sequential form where the next task is only performed and performed well when the previous task has been completed. Just like a waterfall, the tasks flow to the desired direction smoothly but only if they are completed in a sequential form.

If you are working on a complex project with a lot of dependencies you can easily tackle the management of such kind of project using Gantt charts of nTask.

The projects are very properly monitored while using this technique and all the steps are accountable and are actually evaluated to confirm that the process is seamless and without any issues or worries. Gant charts are also used to clearly display a visual representation of all of the phases that the tasks go through and all of the dependencies involved in the project.

Where to use: The waterfall technique is an amazing technique that is used for complex projects that can not be dealt with by the classical approach. This is because of the fact that phasing is required in the development and if you really want to deliver a successful project then a properly rigid work structuring is required.

3. Agile Project Management

The project management technique that is the most famous and is quite outstanding in its application because it deals with projects in a way quite different from other traditional procedures is the Agile Project Management technique.

The Agile approach is basically crushing the big project steps into shorter sprints that help in a detailed analysis of the whole process during the development stage. This detailed analysis helps in effective and adaptive planning according to the needs and changes required in the project as it gains a proper shape.

All of these activities result in a solid continual improvement during the developmental stage, and also the teams become more organized and collaborative inclined to produce the best results possible.

The Agile frameworks commonly include different techniques such as Scrum, Kanban, FDD, and DSDM, etc.

Where to use: The Agile project management technique is used in projects whose development unravels in short but precise increments performed by small but highly collaborative teams.

As the Agile management procedure is so famous that, today, there are a lot of projects and work management software tools that will help you embed Scrum and Agile into your project and help you complete the development process with ease.

With Apps like nTask, you can configure different levels of your work structure which is quite convenient in tough situations, and also track long and short-term deadlines to keep your team on track. They can also show you the estimated work strategy for a specific project during the planning process and even create a Kanban board that effectively monitors all of the work progress your team has made so far.

Basically, what these software tools do is that allow you to envision your project being performed by the Agile method and visualize the structure so that you can achieve good results.

4. Rational Unified Process (RUP)

RUP is an amazing framework that was specially designed for the software market where the software development teams and the projects they work on, can benefit from this framework and achieve the best results possible.

Rational Unified Process prescribes implementing a sequential or iterative developmental process like the Waterfall technique, but with a slight change as the feedback which is collected for the betterment of the project in all future iterations and modifications, is taken from the direct product users.

Where to use: The RUP procedure is applied to software development projects where the whole process is broken down into pieces and also where the end-user input and satisfaction is a key factors of the project.

5. Program Evaluation and Review Technique

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is an incredible software management technique that is very widely used in a lot of different areas and industries. The way this technique works is that it facilitates the project with quite complex and amazingly detailed planned scenarios that help the development team to properly visualize the whole process and their end results on PERT charts.

The main feature that this technique has is that it performs an effective analysis of the tasks that are performed within the project. That helps the team to keep track of all of their developmental activities and fix their weaknesses.

This technique was originally designed by the US Navy during the Cold War era which helped them to increase the efficiency of the work activities that were being performed in developing new technologies.

Where to use: Program Evaluation and Review Technique is best suited for those large and long-term projects where there a lot of non-routine tasks with ever-changing stakes. Also, the requirements for these projects can change according to the circumstances or a number of factors but PERT can handle them just fine.

6. Critical Path Technique

The Critical Path Technique is an amazing procedure that is used for projects and different tasks to schedule and plan the work activities, according to the requirements mentioned in the project brief. This technique is also in conjunction with the Program Evaluation and Review Technique method mentioned above.

This is an incredible technique that is used to detect and confirm the longest path for the tasks to be performed. This means that the activities that are supposed to happen on a certain trajectory have their critical importance highlighted so that the tasks can be individually performed and not in a sequential form.

This critical importance that technique finds out is helpful because then the development teams can control the project by playing head-on and complete the critical tasks first. This saves them precious time and they can complete the project with relative ease, once the more important work is out of the way.

Where to use: Critical Path Technique is more commonly used for very complex projects that have a lot of different tasks. And the development team has no idea what to complete first so that they can meet the deadlines and complete the project in a good time without wasting precious time and energy on doing everything at once, which generally results in them completing nothing. This procedure is generally used in areas like construction, software development, defense, and others.

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7. Critical Chain Technique

Critical Chain Technique is an incredible derivation from the PERT and Critical Path Methodologies of project management. It has a more relaxed approach in terms of task orders and scheduling and suggests that there should be more flexibility while allocating resourcing to different tasks and more attention to analyze how the work time is being spent by the team on different project activities.

The CCT suggests that the work should be done on the basis of prioritization and also the dependencies relative to the project should be analyzed properly while the time spent on different activities should be optimized more carefully.

Where to use: Like the Program Evaluation and Review Technique and The Critical Path Technique, the Critical chain Technique is used in very complex projects. As it shines a more prominent light on how the team spends their time and revenue, it is best suited for projects where the resources are limited. 

8. Extreme Project Management (XPM)

Extreme Project Management technique has a more loose and optimistic approach when it comes to planning a project. It insists that the approach should be open and there should be a reduction of formalism in the company’s culture and the behavior of the management should not be stern and deterministic.

Where to use: XPM technique is commonly used in large projects where the complexity and uncertainty are high. This is because there are a large number of uncertain and unpredictable factors involved in the project that need to be addressed.

9. Kanban System

The Kanban System is the Agile methodology approach that helps to visualize the project management workflows from “Start” to “Done” status columns. It gives you the ability to map the workflow and put a limit to work in progress. Many people use notebooks, or display boards on the wall to move the cards along the work stages, but there are many useful Kanban Tools that can do this job more efficiently.

While using this technique of project management, you have full freedom to customize the name of the work stages that best fit your use case. Project management tools like nTask offer pre-built Kanban Board Templates that are easy to get started from users across any industry.

Another benefit of this methodology is that there is no need to have a scrum master to manage the work assigned, the whole project team is responsible to make timely deliveries.

Where to use: Kanban can be used for any project from small gigs to personal task lists, consultant bookings, to even large-scale software development projects. It is more useful to implement in any organization that has the less technical staff, so it is easy to adapt.

Project Management Tools

While the techniques are important, you also need specific tools that you can use to properly implement during the development page and achieve your desired results. Here is a list of tools that you can use during project management.

1. Organizing Workflow & Planning

The most important part and the literal start of any project is the planning stage which is basically the core of the whole process. This step defines who a project will be performed and how will it take shape so that the desired quality can be ensured and achieved in the future.

Large companies tend to use comprehensive solutions like MS Project that are designed for larger teams. For smaller teams though, it’s a different story. There are a lot of different alternatives on the market which you can equip yourself with that don’t have all of the fancy features of those comprehensive solutions, but they still get the job done with their planning and roadmap features, useful for visualizing future project progress.

2. Communication

As it is a major factor in almost all of the techniques and methodologies in not just the project management context but also in other fields of the market, communication within a project team needs to be frequent and effective. You can use emails for all of the formal stuff, but you can also use applications like Skype and Slack for impromptu conversations among team members which will increase team collaboration resulting in positive growth in productivity.

3. Scheduling and Time Management

Money is the top factor in the development of a project or anything really. And while in certain projects you are allowed to spend more resources and time quite thoughtlessly, you have to be careful in the other projects where you spend the revenue.

This is because of the limited resources and time, that the project has from the start and also because you should not spend valuable resources on teams and equipment that might not even be available when you are envisioning the work to be done. So, you should always schedule ahead and clarify/ confirm the dates with all of the team members before spending all of the revenue on an empty room full of resources but no manpower.

nTask provides you with a scheduler and a time management tool that can keep track of time spent on specific tasks by the individual team members and all of the relevant time stamps inputted by the staff, so you can schedule accordingly. Utilizing these project management tools and techniques can be a lifesaver.

Basic Project Management Tools

1. Instagantt

If you want online Gantt software, this is the way to go. It’s designed to work with Asana (which we’ll talk about in a moment) and also allows you to link schedules from other sources. That means you only have to put in all of your information once, and you’ll be able to see it across each of your different platforms. You can set up timelines and tasks as well as managing and monitoring your teams’ workload. While you’re at it, you’ll be able to see everything in a format that works for you and your team.

If you’re not using Asana, you can still get a lot out of this system, including monitoring and assigning tasks, assigning due dates, and evaluating progress. All of these things come in several different price points that will help you work with the team that you have and keep apprised of everything that needs to be done.

Some of Instagantt’s awesome features are:

  • Gantt and workload view
  • Task and subtasks
  • Public snapshot sharing options
  • Timelines
  • Multiple projects and workspaces
  • Dependencies and milestones
  • Critical path
  • Team collaboration options: notification and task assignment
  • Estimated and actual cost
  • Custom view and custom fields
  • Custom color options for progress bars
  • Risk and priority
  • Baselines
  • Drag & drop
  • Diverse exporting options: Excel, image and PDF

2. TeamGantt

With this tool, you’re creating workflows, and you’re doing it in a way that’s simple for people to understand and get a handle on. You can create different projects, milestones, and tasks and even use it on any of your devices. This system works on iOS, Android, Google Chrome, and Web. That means any of your users and team members can access it no matter where they are or what type of device they use. And you can check in to see just what they’re doing through the snapshot view.
You get to assign high, low, and medium priority to tasks, see how your team is doing and even set up the start dates and due dates for everything. You’ll also be able to use Gantt style timelines to keep an eye on everything. And you can try out the whole thing for free for 30 days. Then you pay based on the number of people who are on your team.

Some of TeamGantt Features:

– Drag&Drop
– Guest permission
– Baselines
– Multiple project view in one Gantt chart
– Guest permission
– Baselines
– Tasks & Subtasks

3. Asana

You want to be able to keep track of everything that everyone is working on, and that’s where Asana does well. This program gives you the ability to create the task list you want and then move it as much as you like. You also have a visual project timeline that you can use to see everything you need to get done. You can even set up your progress, note due dates, and make sure that scheduling and rescheduling are simple and easy.  

What makes this application even better is that it works with several of your other favorites. You can link it to your Slack, Outplanr, Google Calendar, and Dropbox. All of these links make it easy to integrate, and they also ensure you don’t have to put in information all at once. Plus, you can choose between different fee schedules to find what works for you. From free to enterprises.

Asana Features:

  • Document Management
  • Project Management
  • Time & Expense Tracking
  • CRM
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Portfolio Management
  • Resource Management
  • Integration with Instagantt
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4. Click Up:

If you want to manage tasks efficiently, including managing your more substantial tasks, full projects, small tasks, and notes, you’ll want to check out this service. It’s designed to let you customize everything, so you have a system that works for you. It also enables you to do automatic scheduling with estimated times, and you can choose who gets to see what on the system. That way, when you bring your team into the system, they’re not automatically privy to everything.

You can set goals and see how they’re doing as well as changing up the view that works best for you, check on the status of projects and more. You’ll also have an inexpensive rate because this system is paid based on how many people you have on your team. You only pay $4.99 per person each month.

Click Up Features:

  • Task tray
  • Notepad
  • Assigned comments
  • Dark mode
  • Integrations
  • Assigned comments
  • Multiple views

5. Wrike

This tool will give you the ability to communicate with your team through what they call ‘best-in-class’ collaboration. They also have document management tools and different communication features. You can even set up priorities for what needs to be done and make sure that your team is working more efficiently at the tasks that matter. If you already use Outlook, iCalendar, or Google, you can even sync your tasks or your milestones to keep everything working together.

With this system, you can use Gantt charts, which help you to create the timelines you’re looking for. You also get a more straightforward process for staying up-to-date on what’s happening in your projects so you can send the information on to your clients. Pricing is also based on the number of users that you have signed up with the service during the year.

Wrike Features:

  • Critical path
  • Collaborative team editing
  • Folder hierarchy

6. Smartsheet

If you want your team to be able to collaborate on anything and everything, this is a great way to go. It offers you attachment options so you can upload files directly into the system from Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox, and many of your other favorites. You can even see who is busy and who isn’t on your team so you can contact people at more convenient times. All you need to do is take a look at the dashboard.

While you’re at it, you’re able to set up different permissions, and you can make sure everything is maintained and updated correctly along the way. That’s because it sends out automatic update requests to make sure everyone is on the same page. When you’re ready to try it out you’ll find time-tracking, reporting, resource management, and planning. It’s all entirely cloud-based, too, so you can access it from anywhere. Plus, some plans vary from $14 to $25 per month.

Smartsheet Features:

  • Spreadsheet templates
  • Predecessor tasks
  • Automated workflows

7. Trello

Here you’re going to have a basic but easy to use a system for keeping track of all of your different tasks. You can create entirely different boards for different types of jobs, different projects, different teams, or anything else you like. What’s great about this system is that it’s a Kanban management tool, which is one of the most popular methods available. You get to switch between boards however you want and create any tasks that you want within them.

You can drag and drop your cards, add tags, fields, priority levels, and a whole lot more. The interface is user-friendly, and there are even power-ups that help you add on different features that you may need. You also can choose between different modes that range from free for individuals or small groups up to an enterprise version that’s available for each member of your team.

Trello Features:

  • Kanban View
  • Drag & drop
  • Detailed & Quick Overviews of Front/Back Cards
  • Tasks and subtasks
  • In-Line Editing
  • Deadline Alerts and Notifications

8. Monday

What if you could have a system that makes things easier for you and is named for everybody’s least favorite day of the week? Well, you can with Monday. This system offers you plenty of features, including following Twitter and LinkedIn threads and even commenting on different tasks. You also can customize who can access various projects. If you already use other systems, you can integrate them into your account, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Zapier.

The open-source framework is one of the best parts of this tool, letting you create any integrations and other features you may want. You can also get more detailed reports, and you can add on any people you want, including third-party agents or freelancers. You can choose between different pricing structures depending on the size of your team.

Monday Features:

  • Collaboration tool for multiple employees.
  • Visual display of progress.
  • Easy communication: tag people.
  • Email notifications
  • Execution Board – with big screen display
  • Integrations: Dropbox, Google Drive, Pipedrive

9. ProofHub

The user-friendly aspect of ProofHub is one of the first things you’re going to like. From there, you’ll love that it’s got a minimal learning curve. You can organize the projects you want to create, the teams that are responsible for them, and more. You get to customize everything from the color scheme to the names and logos that you use. There are even six different language options, so you can make it work for your team even if you’re international.

When you set up each of your team members, you’ll be able to assign roles and provide only the level of access that each team member needs. You also get mobile options that work with both iOS and Android devices. On top of that, you can choose between two different versions that vary from $55 to $99 per month

ProofHub Features:

  • Collaboration
  • File sharing
  • Gantt charts
  • Idea management
  • Product roadmapping
  • Multi-language
  • Chat

10. Teamwork

With this tool, you’re creating workflows, and you’re doing it in a way that’s simple for people to understand and get a handle on. You can create different projects, milestones, and tasks and even use it on any of your devices. This system works on iOS, Android, Google Chrome, and Web. That means any of your users and team members can access it no matter where they are or what type of device they use. And you can check in to see just what they’re doing through the snapshot view.

You get to assign high, low, and medium priority to tasks, see how your team is doing and even set up the start dates and due dates for everything. You’ll also be able to use Gantt style timelines to keep an eye on everything. And you can try out the whole thing for free for 30 days. Then you pay based on the number of people who are on your team.
Teamwork Features:

  • Workload
  • Templates
  • Collaboration
  • Board View
  • Time Tracking
  • Milestones

Conclusion

Technical Project Management is a powerful tool that can help you manage projects successfully. By learning how to use good project management practices, using a time-based management model, and communicating effectively, you can make your technical projects successful.

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