To become a better project manager, you must understand how to organize teams, work with various moving parts, meet tight deadlines, and stay within a project’s budget. One of the best resources to become a great project manager is a good book, and there is no shortage of material on this subject. Besides, project management is incredibly complex and requires a combination of elements of business, psychology, and, surprisingly, game theory.
In this article, you will meet the best project management books and which are dedicated to providing the most relevant information in project management. We believe that every book on this list will remain on the front burner for some years. Read any or all of the books below, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a better project manager, whether you’re just a starter in the field or have years of experience under your belt.
A Guide to the Project Management Book of Knowledge
Also known to project managers as the PMBOK, this is arguably the best book on the subject, and many view it as a crucial requirement if you are planning to take and pass the PMP certification exam. It contains close to 800 pages of PM information and could be highly technical for some. However, there’s no better or widely accepted project management guide that this book. This book is compiled by the PMI (Project Management Institute), a group that is responsible for setting the industry standards for project management.
The latest edition of this book offers comprehensive advice on how project managers can turn philosophical and theoretical ideas into practical solutions that can be used to tackle day-to-day project management challenges. You can get the Kindle version which is priced at $65.03 or the paperback edition, which goes for $68.45. This book has come up the most as a recommendation from seasoned project managers, so it is one of the reads you should have in your arsenal for reference.
Making Things Happen
If you’re just getting started in project management, you obviously need a practical and comprehensive guide. Luckily, this book by Scott Berkun offers precisely that. Having spent more than a decade in project management for some big tech companies, Berkun draws on his experience through his book. This 410-page book is genuinely comprehensive and offers advice for each step of the project management process. Although this book draws on numerous complicated theories, the book embraces a style that’s easy and approachable. This book includes both essays on underlying philosophy and theory as well as practical and straight-to-the-point advice. And if you need a few words to mutter as you take on your next project management challenge, this book has a few inspirational mantras to go by.
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Authored by Jeff Sutherlands, this book explains how project managers can utilize the scrum approach to improve the project management processes and eventually run successful projects. Jeff wrote this book to convince you why scrum is essential in PM life and even goes ahead to claim that it could boost productivity and the quality of work output by 1,200 percent.
Besides helping cover the basics of PM, this book also allows teams to be productive and super-efficient. And at the bare minimum, this book will also teach you how to increase your collaboration and get on the right track if you aren’t already. And as you read through this book, it pays off to stop and contemplate how each vital lesson you learn would have helped you improve your previous projects.
Getting Things Done: Art of Stress-Free Productivity
The complex scenarios and jargon used in this book could be intimidating for beginner project managers. However, there’s a lot that experienced project managers can learn from David Allen’s book. According to the book, the key to being a great project manager is making sure you’re always relaxed. When there are a thousand things to do, even proper planning won’t help if you’re not calm and clear-headed from the start. Allen’s classic book can help senior project managers declutter their lives and work – and take your project management career to higher levels of success.
Brilliant Project Management
This book can serve as an excellent quick refresher course on most aspects of advanced project management. Written by Stephen Barker, this book offers memorable and hilarious illustrations to common challenges you face when planning an urgent project or running a big team.
This is a great book to pick up when you need a few fresh ideas to motivate your employees and yourself or when you are stuck with a project or team. With this book, you are sure to stay on schedule and budget while keeping all your sanity, humor, and health.
Alpha Project Managers
If you want to grow as an individual while advancing your career simultaneously, this book will make a great read. Written by Andy Crowe, the book is based on scientific as well as a thorough survey of more than 800 project managers across the globe and focuses on what separates effective project managers from average ones. It is also excellent for learning the habits and traits that help determine what superiors and peers think about you – and what can help you climb the corporate ladder fast.
The author has also debunked several myths about successful and unsuccessful project management. This is a heavily researched book and an important read for understanding the practices, methods, and character traits that will aid in taking your PM career to the next level.
Project Management: The Managerial Process
Besides covering the behavioral and technical issues in project management, this book by Erik Larson also teaches project managers how to use specific PM approaches across various industries. Many view this book as another treatise of PM from academic to practical application, demonstrating a majority of the techniques and tools, from economic controls to scope control.
Obviously, there are numerous other great books about project management. Although our list isn’t exhaustive and subjective, it should offer an excellent starting point for those looking for excellent project management literature.