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Top 12 Must-Read Books for Project Management

Project Management Books

Whether you are new to project management or have been managing projects for years, you must stay up-to-date and evolve by learning new techniques and strategies. Although you may already have some training, adding to your knowledge whenever possible can help you stand out among your peers.

While learning through experience or an online project management program, brushing up on your knowledge and learning from industry professionals can prevent many mistakes. Reading project management books written by experts can be a great way to do this, but it can be hard to determine which books are worth your time when there are so many to choose from.

This article is here to help you out. The list of books below will give you a good start. Whether you are looking for project management books for beginners, books on project management for non-project managers, or want to take a deep dive into planning, Agile techniques, or product design, you should find a few books that fit the bill.

The 20 Best Project Management Books for 2024

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

This book, published by the Project Management Institute®, which manages the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification, is also known as the PMBOK® Guide. This guide provides project managers with a framework that outlines the processes, knowledge areas, and tools necessary for successful project execution. It is also a critical study aid if you are preparing for PMP exams and is considered one of the best resources for project managers.

Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide

If you’re just starting, this book by Greg Horine should be your daily companion. It was designed for people new to the field looking for a practical, clear, and accessible guide to grasping project management essentials. Two critical features of this book are that it demystifies project management terminology and focuses on addressing the challenges beginners run into.

Also Read: How to Ace the PMP Exam? A Comprehensive Guide

Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook

This project management book was written by Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, and its subtitle is “How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects.” That is just what you will learn from it. This book goes beyond the basics and presents readers with an in-depth exploration of advanced project management techniques and concepts. It is known for being authoritative and containing well-researched content.

Strategic Project Management Made Simple

This book by Terry Schmidt gives readers a unique perspective on project management by integrating strategic planning and thinking into the project execution process. It introduces the Logical Framework Approach (LFA), a powerful tool that helps project managers define goals, identify KPIs, establish milestones, and develop a roadmap for success.

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management

As the title suggests, this book, written by Eric Verzuh, focuses on real-world applications. It provides practical tools, templates, and techniques that readers can use immediately on their projects. It also offers comprehensive information on all parts of the project management process and comes with an explicit index. It will likely become one of your most frequently used reference books.

Doing Agile Right

Agile isn’t the answer to everything, but it can be powerful if implemented correctly. That is one of the key points of this book by Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk, and Steve Berez. It addresses the challenges businesses often face when implementing at scale and provides insights into agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.

Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

This is another perfect book for beginning project managers. Authors Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood wrote this practical and user-friendly book to help individuals who manage projects without having the official title of project manager. It emphasizes practical application and offers real-world examples and case studies that you can use immediately.

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

If you’ve heard of Agile, most likely you know what Scrum is. But you may not have learned it from one of the co-creators of this framework, Jeff Sutherland. Now you can. Sutherland draws on his experience in project management to explain why traditional project management falls short in today’s fast-paced world and how Scrum can be the key to delivering more value in less time.

Project Management Lite

This book by Juana Clark Craig is subtitled “Just Enough to Get the Job Done” and is the perfect project management book for non-project managers. This guide gives individuals unfamiliar with the field a simple and practical approach to managing projects. So, if you find yourself in charge of a project for the first time, this is one of the books you should check out.

Making Things Happen

This is not the traditional book on project management. Instead, it is a collection of personal essays by Scott Berkun that cover various project management topics, including scheduling, communication, relationships, leadership, trust, and more. It focuses on the philosophies and strategies of successful project management rather than specific methods and checklists.

Agile Project Management for Dummies

If you like the format of Dummies Guides, then you will love this project management book for beginners. It was written by Mark C. Layton, a well-known Agile expert, to be both a basic and comprehensive guide to project management that will guide fledging project managers to success. It focuses on practical tips and techniques you can use immediately and explores how Agile can be used with a diverse range of industries and project types.

The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try

Aspiring project managers know that the PMP Exam is a comprehensive test you must take and pass if you want to be certified as a project manager by the prestigious Project Management Institute (PMI). This book, written by Andy Crowe, is one of the most popular PMP exam prep books. It covers all the processes and tools you’ll need to know to pass the exam and includes practice questions, quizzes, and a test exam to help you study.

Be Fast or Be Gone: Racing the Clock with Critical Chain Project Management

Fictional novels can inspire us in all areas of life, including project management! This novel, written by Andreas Scherer, explains Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) through the story of two characters: Mike Knight and Tim, his son. When the latter gets diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer, Mike leaves his job to help a pharmaceutical company use CCPM to bring cancer’s only known solution to market faster—an excellent book for project management beginners.

Project Management for Non-Project Managers

So you’re not a project manager, yet you’re getting called on to manage a project. Wonderful. No worries. Author Jack Ferraro points out that you may already have experience in project management and not even know it. The book encourages functional managers to tackle project management by equipping them with vital project management skills like risk management methods, performance reports, work breakdown structures, business analysis techniques, and program sequencing techniques.

Project Management Case Studies

Harold Kerzner’s intermediate-level book features case studies from Airbus, Disney, Motorola, The Olympics, and more. Case studies are essential for project managers, so this book allows you to witness project management in action through some of the most prominent companies worldwide. As a bonus, this fifth edition also touches on Agile and Scrum methodologies and supports preparation for the latest PMP Certification Exam.

Agile Project Management with Scrum

What better way to learn about Scrum project management than by reading about it from Scrum’s co-creator? Ken Schwaber introduces Scrum’s principles and rules using straightforward, accessible examples. Learn how to solve complex projects and scale them using Scrum, set up Scrum teams, and set up artifacts and ceremonies, among other fundamental Scrum principles. You will also get acquainted with the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), which describes developing software best practices.

Epiphanized: A Novel on Unifying Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma

This advanced-level project management book, written by Bob Sproull and Bruce Nelson, provides a comprehensive view of how project managers use the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to boost an organization’s overall productivity. It also provides critical insights on implementing TOC, Six Sigma, and Lean methodologies to yield more outstanding results. The book is split into two parts. Part One explores the core concepts of Lean, TOC, and Six Sigma methodologies. Part Two is geared towards readers who want to explore these concepts in more detail, offering a more in-depth explanation for each of the above.

The Lazy Project Manager: How to Be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early

Don’t work longer; work smarter! Peter Taylor shows us how to do that with this advanced-level book. The book focuses on advanced project management skills and techniques to achieve superior on-time delivery alongside unprecedented levels of profitability. Additionally, the book includes the famous Pareto principle (or the 80/20 rule), which specifies that 80% of consequences arise from 20% of the causes.

The Agile Mindset: Making Agile Processes Work

Gil Broza’s advanced-level book introduces you to the Agile mindset in project management, offering vital insights on Agile best practices and tools and how to make them work for your team. You will also learn about Agile’s four foundational values: adaptation, putting people before products and processes, early and frequent value delivery, and customer collaboration.

Advanced Multi-Project Management: Achieving Outstanding Speed and Results with Predictability

This advanced book, written by Gerald I. Kendall, PMP and Kathleen M. Austin, offers an advanced multi-project management approach to completing projects quicker and increasing the number of projects tackled using the same resources. The book also covers the key issues senior project managers face when they want to implement suitable projects at the right time. You will also learn how to control active project flow, implement strategic buffers, enable faster execution, and how to recover lost projects.

Also Read: Is PMP Certification Worth It?

Getting Started in Project Management

If you’re new to project management, your first step is acquiring the knowledge you need to do the job well, and the project management books above will help you get started. They will give you practical tips, valuable insights, and proven methods that will make navigating the complexities of project management more effortless.

However, suppose you want to take your project management skills to the next level and excel in this discipline. In that case, the Post Graduate Program in Project Management, offered by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, goes beyond the pages of a book and will give you a more holistic approach to learning project management.

This project management course teaches you the theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and strategic mindset to thrive in the complex world of project management through a mix of rigorous coursework, hands-on projects, and expert guidance. The online bootcamp is aligned with PMI-PMP® and IASSC-Lean Six Sigma and allows you to earn 146 Personal Development Units (PDUs) to maintain your Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR).

Once you have completed the 24-week course, you will have finished a capstone project, earned a certificate from UMass Amherst and Simplilearn, and will be welcomed into the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. Plus, you’ll be ready to tackle the next project that comes your way with a new set of skills.

Wrapping It All Up

Combining the wisdom you gleaned from the list of project management books above with the comprehensive project management curriculum offered by Simplilearn in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts in this project management bootcamp will unlock a world of opportunities in the field.

According to Indeed.com, project managers earn an average annual salary of $87,636, and there’s certainly a demand today for well-trained project managers.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newcomer to project management, continuing education is a part of the job. Why not start right now?

You might also like to read:

9 Project Management Techniques and Tools That Actually Work in 2023

PMP Certification Requirements

How Do You Get Your CAPM® Certification?

PMP Requirements and Eligibility for Certification

The Top 24 Project Management Interview Questions

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Project Management Bootcamp

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6 months

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