Want to know what project managers are reading to stay on top of risk management? These recommendations were culled from lists of well reviewed PM risk books. They include one tome that's not out yet--but sounds promising--as well as two general books that nevertheless address the topic of risk.
Project Risk Management by Bruce Barkley
The author is a pioneer in the field of risk management, and this book is his second one on this subject. Barkley’s approach involves reinforcing steps that the reader will know from college or even from on-the-job experience; it has been lauded for its ability to show the new project leader how to apply that knowledge and create a risk-management culture among his team members. While it offers templates and risk management exercises, its biggest drawback is that it is general, meaning not industry-specific. (McGraw-Hill, 2004, 229 pages)
Project Risk Management Processes Techniques and Insights, 2nd edition, by Chris Chapman and Stephen Ward
The first edition of this book was published in 1997, and it became one of the chief resources for project managers everywhere. In this version updated by the authors to incorporate the new strategies of what was an infant field just ten years ago, managers learn how to apply risk management techniques no matter the size or scope of the project. They teach the project manager to apply risk-efficiency techniques and evaluate whether specific risks are worth taking within the context of a project. Chapman, the lead author, comes from an engineering background. (John Wiley & Sons, 2003, 409 pages)
Risk Management by Kim Heldman
This is one of several books in the Project Manager’s Spotlight Series published by a division of the publishing house (the other two, to date, are on Change Management and Planning, by different authors). This is a concise, brief book that gets right to the point in presenting risk scenarios culled form real experiences. The author has also written exam prep books for the PMP as well as other PM tomes, including use of Excel for PM and one on jump-starting projects. (John Wiley & Sons, 2005, 224 pages)
Essentials of Risk Management, by Michel Crouhy, Dan Galai, and Robert Mark
The authors break down risk management into corporate loss examples that are either expected or unexpected, along with the invocation that the project manager must listen to his gut instinct for risk. They take you down the many avenues of the risk management neighborhood as they analyze risk according to eight various categories—including market or credit risks, risk of reputation, and business or strategic risks. There is less emphasis in this book on the mathematical side of risk management, which pleases many who don't want to be confounded by numbers. (McGraw-Hill, 2005, 416 pages)
Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project, 2nd edition, by Tom Kendrick
Kendrick’s approach has been praised by many for its clarity. He addresses risk management as it applies to one of three areas-- product or project deliverables; resources such as people, time, and money; and the project’s schedule. He also teaches the manager to keep his (or her) focus on the project and not be derailed by lesser concerns. The steps of a project are broken down in chapters demonstrating how risk is managed in each area, and at the end of each chapter the author (who has a widely variegated background) analogizes his teachings to the work undertaken in building the Panama Canal. (AMACOM, 2009, 368 pages)
Single Point of Failure: The Ten Essential Laws of Supply-Chain Risk Management, by Gary S. Lynch
This is an important book for the project manager that has become set in his way of monitoring possible scenarios. It addresses changing times, philosophies, and ways of doing business—including outsourcing, the green footprint, customer integration into planning, and more. With case histories that address all of these issues with a bent on figuring out that one single point of failure, this is the book for the project manager who needs to make changes but just hasn’t figured out yet what they must be. (John Wiley & Sons, 2009, 292 pages)
Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, 3rd edition, by Robert D. Herman
This book is not just about risk management. With its 832 pages, it’s the volume that's referred to in the industry as “the Big Green Book," so this is obviously a book you should have. It's selected for this column because it addresss specific risk management for nonprofits. It’s updated to help the nonprofit manager deal with the changing nature of financial markets and strategic planning systems as well as an updated matrix for a large state agency. (John Wiley & Sons, 2010, 832 pages)
Essentials of Risk Management in Finance, by Dr. Anthony Tarantino and Deborah Cernauskas
It’s not possible to accurately review this book yet because it won’t be available until January 2011, but it promises to deliver an overview and a breakdown of project risk factors including credit, market, liquidity, operational, legal, and reputational risks. It promises to be useful whether you're managing government or nonprofit projects, specifically addressing both finances and IT. The authors have previously written about both compliance and finance. (John Wiley & Sons, 2011, 320 pages)
Reputational Risk Management: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Reputation in Crisis Situations, by Peggy M. Jackson
Most project risk management books devote a chapter or section to reputational risk; this book is entirely devoted to this important topic. If you doubt its relevance, think of the companies that vanished from Wall Street following the 2008 financial debacle or after Enron. The focus here is on crisis management—and that’s a good thing to know about. Author Jackson has also written about strategic planning and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. (Business Expert Publishing, 2010, 186 pages)
PMP Exam Prep: Rapid Learning to Pass PMI’s PMP Exam, 6th edition, by Rita Mulcahy
If you’re focused on achieving your PMI credential—or if you’re steering a prodigy in that direction—then this book comes highly recommended. It’s devoted to the entire study of project management, not just risk management; but it does offer extensive chapters on risk management and quality. The author takes you by the hand and provides you with a firm study plan. And users swear that if you read it, you'll pass. (RMC Publications, 2009, 544 pages)
Just for the Record...
Each of these books rated 4 or 5 stars in the listings consulted by the writer, except for the one that's not published yet. In the interest of fairness, they're listed in an entirely random order, a surefire guarantee to get up any project manager's dander--but that's how it is. No prices are given because they vary wildly depending on the vendor or even the format choice (downloadable, Kindle, hardback, paperback, new, used, etc.). Happy reading!