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Books and podcasts every project manager should read and listen to

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As a project professional, it’s vital to continue your learning – the only way we grow is by developing ourselves. There are lots of ways to do this, attending events or conferences, refreshing our knowledge with a course or APM Learning project management modules, and networking with the project management community.

An easy and quick way to expand your skills that easily fits into your busy schedule is reading and listening. There are lots of resources available that can improve your project management skills – from professional guidance in books, lessons learned with experts in podcasts (pods) or the latest news insights in magazines like Project.

We believe every project professional should spend some commutes, lunch breaks or bed-time routines with a good book, quick read or fun pod – even better if you can carve out time once a week or twice a month. So where do you start? See our handy guide below:

When you’re short on time, pay a visit to the APM blogs, news and insights. They're updated every week:

  • 50 projects for a better future. Projects come in all shapes and sizes. They have different goals and outcomes, but ultimately, they exist to deliver positive change - that's their power. Explore this list of the 50 inspiring projects from the last five decades.

  • Is your work version of you, the real you? Organisations want us to bring our whole selves to work, which is a great step towards better inclusion, but who is your whole self? Which parts of you do you really want to bring to work? This article shares the importance of being yourself, for better project success and mental health.

  • Top tips for being a successful peacemaker. Nobody wants to spend all their time trying to keep the peace between warring factions, but we must ensure that conflicting views have a voice and are listened to. Read on so you can learn how to become a proactive peacemakers in every interaction.

  • How to deliver award-winning projects. Fail to plan and you plan to fail. The best project controls ensure efficiencies in time, cost and performance. This article shares why you should keep on top of your project controls so that your project is not only successful, but award-winning. 

  • Top tips to avoid self sabotage when you’re a perfectionist. Successful doesn’t mean perfect. Trying to be perfect is also likely to lead to over-work and stress where there are no winners. Good enough means the solution works so read on to discover how to stay on track.

When you’re on the go, plug in and relax:

  • Project Management Happy Hour. Kim Essendrup and Kate Anderson’s podcast takes a more casual and frank approach to issues and challenges in the project management world. Alongside their guests, Kim and Kate offer advice, practical tips, and examples to help you tackle those challenges. The podcast also avoids the dullness sometimes associated with theory- or methodology-heavy topics.

  • The APM Podcast. The APM Podcast covers discussions and insights on the latest project management topics with Editor of Project journal, Emma DeVita. The relaxed, educational and informative podcasts dive into projects, people and the power of change. If you want to hear from a project manager in the Antarctic, or how to be a better leader, give the APM Podcast a listen.

  • Connecting Construction. Hosted by Evan Hill and Matte Sprague of e Builder, each episode in this podcast stars contractors, analysts and programme managers who give practical insights in a series of fireside chats. A good place to start is a discussion around technological innovation within construction in episode five.

Tip: If the books on your reading list have audio versions available, listen instead of reading!

When you’re ready for the deep dive, find a book or paper and get stuck in:

  • Neuroscience for project success: Why people behave as they do. What if you knew what drives emotions, behaviours and decision making in you and others? If all actions were informed by knowing why people behave as they do, how would it impact project success? Brain science meets the reality of teamwork and projects in this must have new book.

  • Can artificial intelligence learn to be a project professional? 80% of project management roles will be eliminated by 2030 as AI takes on traditional project management functions. What are the implications for us and roles within the project profession? Read the latest research paper on what separates humans from machines in the world of projects.

  • Making workshops work. Dr Penny Pullan’s light-hearted and supportive book will help you at every stage of your workshop journey. With a big emphasis on the practical side of presenting and sharing information, you’ll understand how to adapt with your audiences, remote, face-to-face or hybrid. Whether it’s a small group or a big presentation, there’s plenty for you to take away and use whatever the environment and situation.

  • Engaging stakeholders and harnessing people power. This book is written for project delivery professionals with detailed tips, tools and practical steps to help improve ways of working. Harnessing the power of people is key to improving project success; whether you work at project, programme or portfolio level this book will help you addresses the challenges you face when dealing with change.

If you think a podcast is too long, or reading a book or research paper is too much, take just 10 minutes every week to listen or read whenever you can, and eventually you’ll get through the whole thing. For more reading (and listening) inspiration see our Summer 2022 recommendations.

We’re dedicated to bringing you the very best development tools so you can improve your skills and enhance your career. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned professional with years of experience, we have something for you.

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