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The right software project management books will help you on your journey to understanding project management in the software space, whether you're:

  • A programmer honing your project management skills
  • A startup looking to sharpen its project planning capabilities
  • A project manager diving into the life cycle of information technology projects

Among my favorite books are those that shed light on metrics, deliverables, and team roles.

15 Best Software Project Management Books

Having read and analyzed various works, I've curated this list of software project management books tailored to address your specific needs.

  1. The Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick Brooks Jr.
  2. Agile Project Management with Kanban by Eric Brechner
  3. Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules by Steve McConnell
  4. Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn
  5. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland
  6. Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood
  7. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister
  8. Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell
  9. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun
  10. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford
  11. Agile Practice Guide by Project Management Institute
  12. Head First PMP: A Learner's Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman
  13. Managing Humans: More Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager by Michael Lopp
  14. Project Management Absolute Beginner's Guide by Greg Horine
  15. Agile Scrum Crash Course by Umer Waqar

Overviews Of The 15 Best Software Management Books

Here’s a quick summary of each book, what you’ll learn, and why you should read it, plus a quote I like from the book. I added the author’s LinkedIn and other places to connect with them online. You might also be interested in this related list of agile project management books.

1. The Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick Brooks Jr.

The Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering software project management book

Summary:

One of the most influential books on software development, The Mythical Man-Month dives deep into the human elements of software engineering. Drawing from his experience with the IBM System/360 development, Brooks offers timeless insights into the challenges posed by large-scale software projects.

What You'll Learn:

Discover the intricacies of software project management, grasp the concept and implications of the "man-month," and unravel the myriad reasons behind software project delays and how to foresee them.

Why You Should Read It:

For a profound understanding of the inherent complexities of software project management and to tap into the wisdom that Brooks, with his decades of experience, offers.

Quote From The Book:

"Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later."

About The Author:

Frederick Brooks Jr. is a celebrated computer architect, software engineer, and computer scientist.

2. Agile Project Management with Kanban by Eric Brechner

Agile Project Management with Kanban software project management book

Summary:

In this guide, Brechner describes how to integrate Kanban into your team's workflow. He tailors agile principles specifically to harness the full potential of Kanban, a renowned visual management tool.

What You'll Learn:

Gain insights on optimizing service delivery using Kanban, integrating Kanban into existing processes, and the nuances of agile principles and their symbiotic relationship with Kanban.

Why You Should Read It:

If actionable guidance on infusing Kanban into your software project management regime is what you seek, Brechner's book is a must-read.

Quote From The Book:

"Kanban isn't a process. It's a method for improving a process."

About The Author:

Eric Brechner, with his pivotal role as an engineering director at Microsoft, has steered development teams for over two decades. Explore more of his insights and experiences on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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3. Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules by Steve McConnell

Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules software project management book

Summary:

In Rapid Development, McConnell furnishes readers with an exploration of strategies for swift development, pinpointing common oversights and delineating techniques to enhance software development efficacy and pace.

What You'll Learn:

Unearth strategies to expedite software project timelines, identify recurrent mistakes in software project management, and absorb techniques that keep risks at bay while ensuring the pinnacle of product quality.

Why You Should Read It:

A beacon for software professionals determined to produce top-tier software swiftly, this book is a treasure trove of strategies and enlightenment.

Quote From The Book:

"Risk management is project management for adults."

About The Author:

Steve McConnell, the revered CEO and Chief Software Engineer at Construx Software, has left an indelible mark on the software industry. Connect with him and delve deeper into his thoughts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and his personal website.

4. Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn

Agile Estimating and Planning software project management book

Summary:

In this comprehensive guide, Mike Cohn demystifies the intricacies of agile, presenting actionable insights into the processes of estimating and planning, ensuring efficient project management.

What You'll Learn:

Immerse yourself in the world of agile project management, understanding how to make agile practices tangible. Acquire hands-on tools to navigate and adapt within the ever-evolving realm of software development.

Why You Should Read It:

For those seeking to harness the potential of agile estimation and planning, this book paves the path to successful project execution within agile ecosystems.

Quote From The Book:

"Planning is not an event. It's a continuous process of close communication and adaptation."

About The Author:

Mike Cohn stands as a pioneering figure in the Scrum software development methodology. Dive deeper into his journey and work via LinkedIn, Twitter, and his personal website.

5. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time software project management book

Summary:

Through this illuminating piece, Jeff Sutherland delves into the heart of the Scrum methodology, elucidating how it has reshaped the landscape of project management and magnified productivity.

What You'll Learn:

Embark on a journey with Scrum, grasping its groundbreaking approach to productivity, teamwork, and addressing and overcoming challenges.

Why You Should Read It:

To pierce the veil of one of the most transformative project management methodologies ever conceived and to channel its power to transform your professional pursuits.

Quote From The Book:

"The central hub of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team."

About The Author:

Jeff Sutherland is the co-architect of Scrum and stands at the forefront of unveiling how this methodology can supercharge performance. Explore his profound insights on LinkedIn, Twitter, and website.

Check out our list of the best productivity podcasts.

6. Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood

Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager software project management book

Summary:

With a fusion of their expertise, the trio decodes the realm of project management for the uninitiated. Designed especially for those inadvertently stepping into the role, the book charts a clear course for impactful project outcomes.

What You'll Learn:

Plunge into the very essence of project management, understanding team dynamics and collaboration, and wielding the right tools to shepherd projects from conception to fruition.

Why You Should Read It:

Ideal for those venturing into project management without formal training, this illuminating guide serves as a beacon, presenting insights in an accessible manner.

Quote From The Book:

"Every project needs clear intent and real limits."

About The Authors:

Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood amalgamate their vast knowledge spanning productivity, business leadership, and project management.

7. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams software project management book

Summary:

Peopleware underscores the human dimension of software development, emphasizing that the real challenges in managing projects are sociological rather than technical.

What You'll Learn:

Grasp the importance of team dynamics, explore the sociological challenges in software development, and understand how effective management can significantly boost productivity.

Why You Should Read It:

To appreciate the human elements in software development and to glean insights on fostering a conducive environment for creativity and efficiency.

Quote From The Book:

"The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature."

About The Authors:

Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister, both acclaimed consultants, illuminate the path to effective team and project management. Follow Tom DeMarco on LinkedIn and Tim Lister on LinkedIn.

8. Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art software project management book

Summary:

Steve McConnell offers a deep dive into the world of software estimation, breaking down complexities and providing tools and techniques to make accurate predictions.

What You'll Learn:

Learn the principles of software estimation, from sizing and constraining to refactoring the estimation process itself.

Why You Should Read It:

For a comprehensive understanding of software estimation, equipping oneself with strategies to make accurate and informed predictions.

Quote From The Book:

"Estimation, not accuracy, drives project success."

About The Author:

Steve McConnell is renowned for his contributions to software engineering methodologies. Dive deeper into his expertise via LinkedIn, Twitter, and his personal website.

9. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun

Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management software project management book

Summary:

Drawing from his experience at Microsoft, Scott Berkun presents a no-nonsense guide to project management, revealing the real challenges and providing actionable strategies.

What You'll Learn:

Delve into the core of project management, from decision-making and leadership to efficient problem-solving and team dynamics.

Why You Should Read It:

For hands-on advice derived from real-world experience, providing a clear roadmap to mastering the nuances of project management.

Quote From The Book:

"Good project managers know when not to manage."

About The Author:

Scott Berkun is an acclaimed author and speaker, with extensive expertise in project management and creativity. Connect deeper with his insights on LinkedIn, Twitter, and his personal website.

10. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win software project management book

Summary:

Presented in a unique narrative style, The Phoenix Project uncovers the world of IT and DevOps through the lens of a fictional company, presenting real-world challenges and solutions.

What You'll Learn:

Understand the principles of DevOps, the challenges faced by IT departments, and how to revolutionize IT operations to benefit the entire organization.

Why You Should Read It:

For a captivating exploration of DevOps and IT, showcasing practical insights within an engaging story.

Quote From The Book:

"Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work."

About The Authors:

Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford are leading figures in the realm of IT and DevOps. Engage deeper with Gene Kim on LinkedIn, Twitter, and website, and Kevin Behr and George Spafford on their respective LinkedIn profiles.

11. Agile Practice Guide by Project Management Institute

Agile Practice Guide software project management book

Summary:

This guide, courtesy of the Project Management Institute, serves as an authoritative resource on agile methodologies, offering best practices and insights.

What You'll Learn:

Dive into agile practices, methodologies, tools, and techniques. Understand how to adapt agile within various organizational structures.

Why You Should Read It:

For an in-depth, authoritative resource on agile practices, curated by experts at the Project Management Institute.

Quote From The Book:

"Agile is not a methodology; it's a mindset."

About The Author:

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global organization providing standards, research, education, and certification in project management. Discover more on LinkedIn, Twitter, and their official website.

12. Head First PMP: A Learner's Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman

Head First PMP: A Learner's Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam software project management book

Summary:

Head First PMP provides an engaging, visually rich approach to understanding the intricacies of project management as defined by the PMBOK® Guide, preparing readers for the PMP exam.

What You'll Learn:

Dive into the core principles and methodologies of project management. Understand the PMBOK® Guide's standards and best practices, and effectively prepare for the PMP exam.

Why You Should Read It:

For an interactive, comprehensive, and visually engaging preparation for the PMP exam, ensure you grasp every essential detail.

Quote From The Book:

"Good project management is a blend of art and science."

About The Authors:

Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman have co-authored several books and have extensive experience in software development and project management. Engage deeper with Jennifer Greene on Twitter and Andrew Stellman on LinkedIn.

13. Managing Humans: More Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager by Michael Lopp

Managing Humans: More Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager software project management book

Summary:

Through a series of witty anecdotes and tales, Michael Lopp provides insights into the challenges and joys of managing engineering teams, presenting both the technical and human sides of software management.

What You'll Learn:

Discover the nuances of leading and managing software engineering teams. Unravel the challenges and learn strategies to foster collaboration, productivity, and innovation.

Why You Should Read It:

For a delightful, insightful peek into the world of software engineering management, full of wit, wisdom, and real-world stories.

Quote From The Book:

"Engineers are not the point. The point is the product."

About The Author:

Michael Lopp is a seasoned software engineering manager with vast experience in Silicon Valley. Dive deeper into his perspectives on LinkedIn.

14. Project Management Absolute Beginner's Guide by Greg Horine

Project Management Absolute Beginner's Guide software project management book

Summary:

Greg Horine's guide is tailored for those new to project management, offering a clear, comprehensive introduction to its fundamentals. The book simplifies complex concepts, making project management accessible and practical.

What You'll Learn:

Dive into the foundations of project management. Understand its principles, methodologies, and best practices, and gain practical tools to initiate, plan, execute, monitor, and close projects successfully.

Why You Should Read It:

For newcomers to project management, this book serves as a beacon, illuminating the path to effective project execution with clarity and simplicity.

Quote From The Book:

"Successful project management means delivering your projects on time, on budget, and with high quality."

About The Author:

Greg Horine is a certified project management professional with over two decades of experience. Engage deeper with his insights on LinkedIn.

15. Agile Scrum Crash Course by Umer Waqar

Agile Scrum Crash Course: A Guide To Agile Project Management and Scrum Master Certification PSM 1 software project management book

Summary:

Umer Waqar's guide offers a concise yet thorough understanding of agile and Scrum. Tailored to prepare readers for the PSM 1 certification, the book breaks down agile project management and Scrum principles into digestible insights.

What You'll Learn:

Grasp the core concepts of agile project management and Scrum. Understand the Scrum framework, roles, events, and artifacts, and prepare effectively for the PSM 1 certification.

Why You Should Read It:

For those seeking a quick, comprehensive guide to agile and Scrum, especially those aiming for the PSM 1 certification, this book is a crucial resource.

Quote From The Book:

"Scrum is simplicity in action, driving projects to success."

About The Author:

Umer Waqar is a seasoned expert in agile methodologies and Scrum. Find him on LinkedIn.

What's Next?

Find more books about project management here, or join our membership community to network with and learn from 100's of other digital project managers.

Galen Low
By Galen Low

Galen is a digital project manager with over 10 years of experience shaping and delivering human-centered digital transformation initiatives in government, healthcare, transit, and retail. He is a digital project management nerd, a cultivator of highly collaborative teams, and an impulsive sharer of knowledge. He's also the co-founder of The Digital Project Manager and host of The DPM Podcast.