While engineers learn a lot of valuable skills in school, project management isn’t always one of them. Many engineers end up learning PM skills on the job and on their own time.
If you’re an engineer looking to grow your project management skillset, you’re in the right place. To compile this list, we dug through Amazon listings, forums, blogs, and review websites to identify the best project management books specifically for those in the manufacturing and engineering industries.
Critical Chain by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Who said business books have to be a bore? Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt turned the traditional how-to book on its head with this “business novel.” Goldratt explore his Theory of Constraints (TOC) through the story’s main character, a university professor who has just returned from a large corporation that uses TOC. Over the course of the book, Goldratt walks readers through the five principle steps of TOC. This is an excellent overview of TOC packaged in a novel full of character development, conflict, and the occasional dramatic scene.
Epiphanized: A Novel on Unifying Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma by Bob Sproull and Bruce Nelson
Management consultants Bob Sproull and Bruce Nelson borrow from Goldratt’s storytelling concept to explore the advantages of using Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma together. This book tells the story of two consultants who turn around an ailing company by implementing a unification of the three methodologies.
In the appendix, the authors offer a closer look at how the methodologies described in the novel can be applied to your own organization and why a combination of the three creates the best results.
Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood
In today’s workplace, most employees are expected to competently run and manage projects. The trouble is, many haven’t been formally trained.
This book offers practical, jargon-free advice for the accidental project manager. The authors use real-world examples of project successes and failures to illustrate the most important steps and practices for effective people and project management.
Industrial Megaprojects by Edward W. Merrow
When large-scale engineering and construction projects—think off-shore oil platforms, chemical plants, dams—go wrong, they go horribly wrong. In “Industrial Megaprojects,” Edward W. Merrow uses humor, conversational language, and 30 years of experience to explore why large-scale projects fail and what can be done to prevent this. While this book focuses on megaprojects, many of the insights can be applied to engineering and manufacturing projects of any size.
Project Management Case Studies by Harold Kerzner
If you enjoy learning from others’ mistakes and successes, this one’s for you. Project management guru Harold Kerzner dives into more than 100 case studies drawn from real companies to show what worked, what failed, and what could have been done differently. The book covers a wide array of industries, including medical and pharmaceutical, aerospace, manufacturing, and more.
Project Management for Engineering and Construction by Garold D. Oberlender
This book presents the principles and techniques for managing engineering and construction projects from the initial concerting phase, through design and construction, to completion. What sets it apart from other PM books is the focus on applying PM techniques and principles to the beginning stages of a project to influence the budget, scope, and timeline as early as possible. While other books dive right into the construction phase, Oberlender offers a solid argument for applying PM principles earlier in the process.
Bonus: LiquidPlanner Project Management Resources
Every month, project management expert Elizabeth Harrin fields readers’ questions about the challenges, risks, and rewards of project work on the LiquidPlanner blog.
We’ve compiled our favorite columns in this eBook. Over 30 pages, you’ll get Elizabeth’s take on a range of project management and workplace topics, including:
- Ways to get more resources for your project.
- Strategies for juggling multiple project tasks
- How to manage a micromanager
This eBook provides practical tips and solutions to nine common project management challenges. You’ll also see how LiquidPlanner helps you meet your challenges—and turn them into opportunities.
Every week, we publish guest posts from active project managers.