14 Best Project Management Books [Updated 2021]
Project management involves multiple teams and staffs with different competencies to get the work done. It starts with the identification of the right sponsor, setting objectives, setting schedules, deadlines, budget projections, and more. Below is the list of best books on project management that you must read in 2021 –
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge ( Get this book )
- The Art of Project Management ( Get this book )
- Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams ( Get this book )
- Project Management: Absolute Beginner’s Guide ( Get this book )
- Brilliant Project Management: What the Best Project Managers Know, Do and Say ( Get this book )
- Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager ( Get this book )
- The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management ( Get this book )
- Cracking the PM Interview ( Get this book )
- Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage ( Get this book )
- Construction Project Management ( Get this book )
- Identifying and Managing Project Risk ( Get this book )
- HBR Guide to Project Management ( Get this book )
- Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme ( Get this book )
- Product Leadership ( Get this book )
Let us discuss each of the project management books in detail along with its key takeaways and reviews.
#1 – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
by Project Management Institute
About the book
This book is Project Management Institute’s (PMI) flagship publication that gets updated periodically to reflect the latest best practices in the field of project management.
This book is considered a must-read for anyone who is seeking success in the Project Management Professional (PMP) test. It can also serve as a handy reference book after the exams. Over the years, the book has been updated on several occasions to ensure its relevance across time periods. The latest edition of the book lays special emphasis on strategic and business knowledge, which includes information on PMI Talent Triangle, business documents required for project management, and essential skills needed for achieving success in today’s world. Besides, you will also find a robust project management industry-specific glossary and many formulas that are used for various calculations specifically related to project management. Overall, this book is worth every penny and you should definitely have it on your study table.
- It is a must-read for both aspiring and experienced PMPs, especially in the Manager cadre.
- It is an excellent reference book for PMP and CPAM learning/ examinations.
#2 – The Art of Project management
by Scott Berkun
About the book
The book covers everything from practical methods that you can use to ensure that work gets done the right way, to the mindset that you should have to become an inspirational project leader.
It is a fast-paced, jargon-free, and entertaining guide to what all you must know to be a successful project (software) manager. It provides a wealth of valuable information about project management in an engaging and easy-to-read manner. In other words, it is an excellent introduction to the discipline of project management. Whether you are a project manager, team member, or even a non-technical stakeholder, the author provides many practical tools and techniques that he has learned over a decade while working in the industry. He has presented complex concepts into practical nuggets of advice that you can employ to ensure the success of your project. Overall, the book will serve your current workstream as well as help in your future projects.
- If you are not a born leader, then this book can help you gather all the skills required to become more than a plain project manager.
- It offers a lot of extremely practical suggestions that will be useful for managing projects.
#3 – Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams
by Terry Schmidt
About the book
This book is a step-by-step guide with a strategic approach to translate the groundbreaking ideas into logical and actionable plans, which could reduce the probability of project failure.
Over the years, the business world has become more demanding and competitive where the traditional project management techniques might not hold good. So, in order to accomplish these projects, you need to upgrade your thinking, planning, and actions, which means that you should take a fresh approach to tackle the new challenges. Whether you are a CXO, executive champion, team member, or project manager, this book provides a flexible approach to planning and project execution that you can use to build change initiatives that work quicker and more efficiently. Further, the inclusion of the LogFrame matrix along with other concepts makes this book really unique. Overall, the book provides perfect and fascinating methodologies for building enterprise-wide strategies.
- The logical framework is the main essence of the book.
- This is a practical book that makes you feel that you don’t need any fancy degree to atleast understand the concepts of project management.
#4 – Project Management: Absolute Beginner’s Guide
by Greg Horine
About the book
The book explains ways to master overall project management, right from budgeting and scheduling through team management and execution, to project closure.
The book addresses all the fundamental principles of project management in a rational way, without using too many technical jargon. It provides insights on how agile approaches work, how to deal with security & privacy priorities, and how to lead remote/ virtual teams. It also covers the latest on PMI standards & certifications and Microsoft Project. It has a special bonus chapter on how to prepare for the PMP certification and hence can be a great guide if you decide to pursue a career in project management. The author has used very easy language along with good use of pictures/ graphics that can be easily understood. Besides, the flow of narration is very smooth and engaging owing to the little tips and notes that have strong relevance with real-world project management.
- It is a great guide for anyone who is new to project management.
- It is well-written, organized, and addresses all the important concepts that most other books fail to do.
#5 – Brilliant Project Management: What the Best Project Managers Know, Do and Say
by Stephen Barker
About the book
This book is a practical guide comprising many suggestions and techniques that are taken from the real-world experience of people so that get to know the exact thing that you should do to achieve success in project management.
The book starts with the basic premise that the number of failed projects is much higher than that of successful projects. The failures are primarily in the form of spiraling costs and missed deadlines. However, the author states that if you can follow the best practices of successful project managers, then it is possible to ensure that projects meet their deadlines consistently and stay within the budget. In this book, he points out the areas where your behaviors and actions will mark the difference between huge success or a fatal failure. Further, the author has used a “dip-in and dip-out” style, which makes it all the more interesting while you can read the topics in any order owing to the writing style.
- It is a very concise book that has all the relevant information pertaining to project management.
- It is based on the practical experience of real people, which makes it refreshing in a book.
#6 – Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager
by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore & James Wood
This book offers real-world and practical insights for effective management of projects through the essentials of people and project management process, which includes:
This edition is for all kinds of employees, whether struggling to keep multiple projects organized or managing projects without the benefit of a team. With resource and budget constraints, employees are expected to manage and co-ordinate various projects on a routine basis. The quality of dynamism has to go in sync with project management. The official title of a Project Manager may not essentially be an official title for an employee, but with the execution of correct strategies applicable in the respective situation, one can go a long way and lay down a strong foundation and examples for others to follow.
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Since projects involve large capital expenditures and employees have to fill in multiple roles, this book ties together a process which everyone can use for project work as it is applicable for all level of an organization. The simple language of the guide enables one from being an amateur to adept in this area.<< Get this book >>
#7 – The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management
by Eric Verzuh
This is a complete guide targeted towards exceptional and unique levels of project management with comprehensive guidance towards practical-world management methods, tools, and techniques. Readers will be confronted with cutting-edge, and niche ideas delivered in quick turnover time and established segments that address common management issues. Project management is a very complex role since the manager is required to handle demands which are conflicting in nature to be converted into a single and successful strategy achieved in the given time, resource, and budget constraints.
This book teaches on ensuring how each step should within project management be executed smoothly:
- Navigation of complex management issues in an effective manner
- Mastering key concepts and its application in the practical world
- Learning from case studies involving present-day leading experts
- How to keep the project on track, on time, and within the provided budget
Project management involves incorporating a wide range of competencies consisting:
- Identification of the right sponsor
- Clarification of objectives
- Setting a realistic schedule and budget projection. This would be across different departments, executive levels, or technical domains.
The latest edition includes modernized case studies, updated information for engaging stakeholders, change management, revised guidance on using swift techniques and refined content which integrates current events and trends in the sphere of project management.<< Get this book >>
#8 – Cracking the PM Interview
by Gayle Laakmann McDowell & Jackie Bavaro
This is the book on securing a role in product management (PM) within a start-up or an established technology firm. The readers are equipped with various kinds of roles existing across companies, what a PM resume and cover letter should look like, and how to crack interviews pertaining to the same. Certain critical components of the book are:
- Role & Functions of a Product Manager
- Various Myths of Project management and how to overcome them
- Variation of roles in various firms such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
- Importance of Technical experience
- Transitioning from Engineer and Designer to Product Manager
- Tips and Tricks for Career Advancement through Q&A from established Product managers in the industry
- Company Research Papers (Product, Strategy, Culture, Role, Q&A)
- Behavioral Questions
- Estimation Questions
- Product Questions (Designing & Improving)
- Case Study & Scenario Questions
It contains a rich level of information and providing new skills and techniques, which will lead to the improvement of individual practice, aid in enjoying the work, and enhancement of career. It has a slight bias towards software-driven products and companies. Most of the principles are broadly applicable.<< Get this book >>
#9 – Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage
By Jeffrey K. Pinto
This book takes a decisive, business-oriented, and contemporary approach to learning and teaching project management. It makes a balance of current theory and hands-on practical experience and research to offer a complete range of perspectives of the project management process. Contemporary and comprehensive case studies with detailed analysis and exercise offer the readers tools to assess projects in real-time, equipping them with razor-sharp decision-making skills.
It is considered a well-written introduction book to the art of Project Management, providing a coherent summary of important concepts and practices. Experienced professionals can also use this reference since it provides a multi-industry understanding of the contents. The author is addressing the theory of project management within the context of various successful organizations, whether they are held publicly, private or non-profit firms. The concepts have been well explained with a plethora of examples and live case studies offering credible and valuable information. It also highlights the importance of the latest technology used in the project management process with practical exercises.<< Get this book >>
#10 – Construction Project Management
by Frederick Gould & Nancy Joyce
This book will address all possible angles of a successful construction project management in the present complex environment. It will introduce all key players in the process, taking through each phase of the project and presenting tools for effectively managing the projects and the people.
It makes an attempt to successfully infuse a blend of theoretical and practical reality with the importance of Owners, Designers, and Construction professionals throughout. It highlights new techniques, technologies, statistics, and career information, including new approaches to collaboration, project delivery, and focuses on continuous improvement.
The flow of this book is highly commendable, focusing on:
- Introduction to the profession and the modern industry
- Presenting emerging trends, roles, contractual agreements, and opportunities
- How to focus on the project ranging from the concept to occupancy
- Addressing the role of professionals in this industry during design and early construction
- Students will also gain knowledge in modern tools such as Estimation, Scheduling, Controls, and Feedback
- Supporting charts and images are also presented and authored by industry-leading professionals
The content is simple to understand and recommended for students in the early stages of their career with detailed analysis and accuracy, especially for college students.<< Get this book >>
#11 – Identifying and Managing Project Risk
by Tom Kendrick PMP
All the projects carry an inherent element of risk. While balancing out time constraints, technical shortcomings, and resource issues, the identification of potential risks becomes a critical component in the job of a project manager.
It outlines the risk management process and providing established methods of project risk planning based on real-life situations and multiple practical examples. Analysis of critical aspects is offered, including:
- Project Scope and available resources
- Guidance on Programme Risk Management
- Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Analysis
- Project Modelling and Simulation
- Significant “non-project” risks
- Usage of high-level risk-assessment tools
- Implementation of a system for monitoring and controlling of projects
- Correct documentation for every kind of situation
This reference guide will offer an understanding and methods to define, analyze, record, and update risks. Though information is centric towards the IT industry, the methods can be applied to the industry with success. It provides a simple and clear understanding of how can the risk methods be applied for managing any kind of risk, thereby eliminating surprises and keeping projects on track.
This book on project management also offers new ‘risk sensitivities’ with special reference to the Panama Canal development, which mirrors the growth of both project and risk management being used since the 1850s. Overall, it is a complete, well – structured, and easy to understand guide.<< Get this book >>
#12 – HBR Guide to Project Management
by Harvard Business Review
This edition, which has been created by the Harvard School of Management, focusses on how to meet the goals with respect to Time and Budget. Apart from the practical aspect, the aim also has to be on Confidence and Motivation. These are highly important characteristics that have to exist for continuous improvement.
Whether one is managing the first project or improvising, this guide will offer the tools and confidence needed for defining smart goals and achieving them for enhancement and ensuring future projects are executed smoothly.
It will help the users in:
- Building a strong and focused team to achieve the desired goal with a high level of confidence
- Breaking down major objectives into manageable tasks
- Creating a schedule which ensures all moving parts are under control
- Monitoring the progress continuously towards the desired goals and ensuring corrective actions are taken wherever required.
- Managing the expectations of the shareholders with the help of regular communication
- Smooth completion of the project and gauging the success and also measuring the areas of improvement.
The contents are in an easy to understand language for handling large scale improvements in projects and also essential tools for managing routine tasks.<< Get this book >>
#13 – Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme
by Robert K. Wysock
This comprehensive book on project management has been considered a standard for both professionals and academics. Readers will learn an approach to project management that recognizes the project environment and how smoothly it can be adopted.
This book is ideal for instructors, students, and active project managers as it includes updated case studies and exercises with detailed analysis and solutions:
- It serves as a comprehensive resource for project management practitioners, instructors, and students.
- Examines traditional, agile, and extreme project management techniques (Project Management model; Kanban and Scrumban methodologies)
- Inclusion of a companion website with exercises and solutions along with PowerPoint slides for all the tables and figures used
- Advice on organizing multiple team projects and managing a continuous process improvement program
- Ways to establish an enterprise project portfolio management process
- How to create a practical, project-based model of an enterprise
- Prevention and Intervention strategies for distressed projects
- An in-depth understanding of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) process groups
- Techniques for dealing with the complex and uncertain Project management landscape.
#14 – Product Leadership
by Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson & Nate Walkingshaw
The modern, fast-paced technology requires smart product management, which is critical for maintaining a competitive advantage. This insightful guide offers interviews with nearly 100 leading product managers across the globe in addition to the experience of the authors in style, approach, and other techniques of a successful product manager.
This book is packed with deep knowledge of the craft of Product leadership. A vast community of product leaders exists who are facing struggles that are similar in nature, and the authors have successfully distilled their experience and feedback.
It helps in exploring:
- Themes and patterns of successful leaders and their teams and the manner in which those characteristics can be attained.
- Suitable approaches for guiding the product team through various stages such as Start-up, Emerging, and Enterprise stages of a company’s evolution.
- Strategies and tactics for dealing with customers, agencies, partners, and external stakeholders.
It is highly recommended for anyone who is a Product Leader or desires to understand their role whether fresher or experienced to manage human beings and complex product roadmaps.
This has been a Guide to 14 Best books on Project Management. Here we discuss what these books propose, their reviews and key takeaways. You may also have a look at these suggested books below –
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