Project Management Syllabus

I teach project management to undergraduates, MBA students, and executives. The primary topics I cover are:

  • Why projects fail
  • The project management process
  • Statements of work, project reports, and other crucial documentation
  • Risk management and contingency planning
  • Cost and timing estimation
  • Dynamics of project management and recovery
  • After-action reports and knowledge management

The syllabus for the MBA course, which is representative, can be found here.

Project Management Books

Below are some of the project management books I discuss in class that I have found especially valuable.

  • Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules by Steve McConnell
    This book isn't just for software programmers. This is one of the few project management books written by practitioners for practitioners, which is actualy based on solid research.

  • The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick Brooks
    This book is the origin of Brook's Law. Again, it is written by a practitioner for practitioners. Despite its age, it really isn't that dated.

  • Software Project Dynamics: An Integrated Approach by Tarek Abdel-Hamid and Stuart Madnick
    This book is really more of a research book as it develops the dynamic structures that underlie the execution phase of project management. However, it's lessons, while often counterintuitive, are very important.

  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
    This book is really about getting startups off the ground. But it's take on agile project management, particularly the minimum viable product is quite valuable.

  • PMP Exam Prep: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam by Rita Mulcachy
    This is the book for prepping you for the PMP course. Most of the people I've talked to in the know swear that this, combined with it's accompanying book containing practice questions, is the key to passing the PMP.

  • Operations Management for Dummies by M.A. Anderson, E.G. Anderson, and G.G. Parker
    Yes, it is my book. That said, a lot of people like it, according to both Amazon and my colleagues. Part IV is my best shot at describing how to do project management scheduling and risk management. Unlike most Dummies books, it was deliberately written for the BBA/MBA level, and I was shocked to see how much content we could get into it.  Because we use it as a textbook for operations management, it also has a lot on process analysis, inventory and supply chain management, process improvement, and operations strategy.

  • Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by A. Osterwalder and Y. Pigneur
    This is a beautiful book on designing and iterating business models using a visual tool called the "Business Model Canvas." Note: this is one of those books that you want to read physically, which is a joy, rather than download onto your kindle.

  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
    This is another the book on how to improve your presentations of data. Warning: Tufte is on record for loathing powerpoint, but even if you're like myself, part of the dark side that uses powerpoint, you'll find much of worth here. Note: this is one of those books that you almost certainly have to read physically. The graphs are not only beautiful, but are the point of the book, and often mangled by tablets.