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As I started to search to learn more about project management on Google, I was overwhelmed by all the certification links.

All I want to learn is about the various software (especially web development) related to project management and all about the models like scrum or Price2 or agile development.

What would be the best resource, like a free online resource, or better, a book, which would get me started learning about project management.

Also please note that I may have asked the wrong question, because I'm very confused after searching on Google, and here I came as a last resort to clarify.

closed as not constructive by jmort253 Jul 27 '12 at 20:19

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12 Answers 12

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You didn't specify what kind of projects you plan to manage. There are plenty of IT people around here (including myself) so I assume you mean IT project management.

1. Take small steps

People usually learn in special manner. At first they need small, easy, little successfull steps. So don't take everything at once. You will probably need to make many shortcuts, put some things in black boxes and simplify others. Decide what to learn at once and where to dig deeper. Use this thread's links wisely :)

2. Know the reasons (or ask "why")

The project management is not about the practices, it's about decisions and reasons of those. I find it important to know what decisions other managers made and where it lead them. So I consider blogs as interesting (or even more) than literature. Maybe you should find people (other PM) you value and trust and track their blog entries. My personal top 3:

You wont get far with theory only. Not all the lessons one can learn from other's mistakes, so finding a company which will trust you and THE team is the first step in making your own mistakes. Try it sooner than later even if it mean very tiny little project.

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It all depends on Your general experience and knowledge about management and project management.

At the beginning I would recommend something more general than books about any concrete practices and methodologies. First thing is to know when to apply given practice.

So shortly speaking I would point: http://www.scottberkun.com/books/making-things-happen/ as quite nice introduction to managing a project.

You can find there (http://www.scottberkun.com/essays/) lot of interesting articles that can help you to find right path most suitable for you.

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I recommend Manage It! by Johanna Rothman as a good overview of project management.

As follow ups to this, read Waltzing with Bears by Tom Demarco and Timothy Lister for really good coverage of risk and how to manage it. The Mythical Man Month is a classic about how team size and changes to teams affects the progress of a project.

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If you're looking for good overview, try Craig Larman's Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide. It was published in 2003, so it doesn't have the latest on Agile but it's a very good starting point. The reviews on Amazon are pretty thorough.

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I would highly recommend to read Rita Mulcahy's book. Even though it's about PMBOK it's the greatest material about project management I've ever read. And I've read a lot of them..

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If you're interested in Agile and Scrum I always enjoy Mike Cohn's writing. I would recommend both User Stories Applied and Agile Estimating and Planning as great books to add to your starter collection. There are some great books that will take you to the next level but you can't read everything right now so start small don't overwhelm yourself.

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For PRINCE2 I would start with "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2009 edition This is the official book from OGC, which developed and owns P2.

http://www.apmg-businessbooks.com/productInfo.aspx?prodid=1056

For Scrum, I would start with the Scrum Primer from ScrumAlliance

http://www.scrumalliance.org/resources/339

You can probably find both on eBay relatively inexpensive.

I'm not sure about Agile, but I'm sure someone here has a good starting point, beyond the Agile Manifesto site.

  • should one go for both PRINCE2 as well as scrum at the same time, or should I take one at a time. What do you suggest. – Nikhil Apr 15 '11 at 19:43
  • Depends on your reasons, and your ability to learn. Two different processes, two different focuses. If you work (or want to) in more structured environments, especially in the UK, then P2. More Agile environments, Scrum or Agile. But there's also nothing that says you can't pursue both at the same time if your learning style allows it. Ultimately they're all complimentary. – Trevor K. Nelson Apr 18 '11 at 18:29
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I won't add another resource for you, the ones about are great suggestions. My suggesting is to step back and not try to eat the entire buffet in one sitting.

The different methodologies are for specific things. Prince2 is not as recognized in North America where PMI is the preferred certification. Both are good, but they look at project management differently. So, find out what the preferred certification is for your area.

Agile and it's relatives are used for specific types of projects, mainly ones where there is a lot of uncertainty in the beginning. I suggest you investigate it and the traditional (often called waterfall) approach.

Tools are another area where you need to tread carefully. Learning the tools won't help you be a better PM. You'll find that many organizations use enterprise software and you will need to learn their application. My advice here is to try some trials for tools, most will come with 30 - 60 days trail. Pick a sample project you make up to test out the tools. For instance, I will often run a test on a new tool by planning an event or planning a move, things I can make up the steps for.

Good luck.

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The following 2 books are my all-time general project management favorites, and both will get you started:

The first one is a book by Klaus D. Tumuscheit. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be an English translation available, which is a pity. The original is in German (Überleben im Projekt: 10 Projektfallen und wie man sie umgeht - ISBN-10: 3636012916) and there's also a Dutch translation (ISBN 9055941425). The advice given is timeless, not related to any industry (eg IT), funny, practical, as real as it gets, and just common good sense. If you master one of these languages, I highly recommend this book for seasoned or new project manager.

The interactive project workout 2nd Ed. Robert Buttrick, Prentice Hall, 2000, isbn 027364436X - very good, general text about PM, with a very good Project Life Cycle you can adapt to any project.3

On top of that, something you really can't do without as a starting PM is a good resource on the Work Breakdown Structure. After a long search I finally found what I think at the moment is the best resource on creating the WBS (and I've read a few!): "Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure: Visualising objectives, deliverables, activities, and schedules", Dennis P. Miller, CRC Press/ESI , 2009, isbn 978-1-4200-6969-3

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I recommend Quality Software Project Management. It has detailed explanation about every process area and every PM needed skill and methodology. It's the best I have read.

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Scott Berkun's book, Making Things Happen, as mentioned above, is by far the best book I have ever read on project management.

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Find course books and papers covering a variety of topics related to project management on the Project website. Microsoft offers project management certification which is a toughest exam out there and they also provide details on project management study & prep.

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