Archive for June, 2014

9 awesome books every Construction Project Manager must read

Below are 9 awesome books that I think every Construction Project Manager must read. These books will make you much more effective and help you stand out.

And please note, if you buy anything using these affiliate links, you may be enabling my addiction to tech gadgets.

Book #1: To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Why?

In this book, Daniel Pink describes how we are all involved in what he refers to as “non-sales selling” in that we are constantly trying to convince people to depart with their time, effort, and resources in exchange for something we have. This is extremely relevant in construction as many of the relationships we have with Contractors and Consultants (sometimes even our Sponsors) are very adversarial. The author’s strategies are extremely relevant to negotiating with contractors, building officials, and other consultants.

Book #2: Head First PMP

Why?

One of the most recognized certifications for Project Managers is the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) designation, and I highly recommend getting it. To get your PMP you need to pass their exam and there are several different exam prep books that will help you prepare. I recommend the head first PMP book because I love their approach. They tell stories, they make it visual, and they have lots of activities to keep all the different parts of your brain engaged. It may seem a little hokey at first, but if you do every exercise in the book I think the effectiveness of their technique will surprise you.

Book #3: Eats, Shoots and Leaves

Why?

One of the primary things you will be doing as a Project Manager is communicating in writing. One key aspect of communicating effectively is to not distract or confuse the reader through poor spelling and grammar. This book is a fun and good read about some of the top principles about grammar. Reading this will make your communication more effective and will improve your results.

Book #4: The Elements of Style

Why?

This book goes hand in hand with Eats, Shoots and Leaves and is a quick read and a great reference book for your written communication. This is a classic and will greatly improve your written communication. If you follow the high standard set by this book you will get more respect and improve the outcomes of your projects.

Book #5: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Why?

There is an immense amount of change on any construction project, and this book provides some amazing insight into how to make changes better. The authors (Chip & Dan Heath) present the material in a very unique and sticky way which makes this a great read. This book will help you streamline changes in your projects (and life) and make them last.

Book #6: Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Why?

One of the biggest reasons that Project Manager’s exist is to make decisions. And these decisions are often highly complicated and have significant impact. This book provides a framework that will improve the quality of your decisions.

Book #7: Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Why?

Another prime activity for Project Manager’s  is to get people to agree. We are almost always trying to get the sponsor on the same page as the contractor, and the contractor on the same page as the architect, and the entire project team on the same page as the building official. This book presents a framework that focuses on Win-Win outcomes, where both parties come out of the discussion satisfied with the result. This book has greatly affected how I approach any disagreements.

Book #8: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Why?

I think that everybody just assumes that Project Manager’s are naturally good with their time, and although this might true for some, many of us have systems put in place to keep ourselves organized. This is a great system for organizing your entire life and has been instrumental in allowing me to manage multiple concurrent projects.

Bonus Reference Book: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – 5th Edition

Why?

This book is an excellent reference on all things Project Management.  It is an extremely dry read, but I like to have a copy close at hand so I can pull up the relevant section when I’m working in that area. What I find most useful is looking through the example inputs and outputs to see if any of these would make sense for my current projects. Having this at arms reach for reference will make you a better project manager.