Project management is an ever-evolving discipline. The role of project managers has never been more crucial. They stand at the intersection of strategy, execution, and leadership, ensuring an organization’s vision transforms into real results.
However, continuous learning and adaptation are paramount to staying effective in such a pivotal role. To help you in this search, we’ve curated a list of the top 10 project management books for 2023, each offering unique insights and expertise.
Stay better equipped in your project management journey with these project management books!
Must Read Project Management Books
Project managers must continuously adapt and stay informed about the latest advancements and methodologies to maintain their edge. While many online resources are available for this purpose, project management books remain an invaluable resource.
These books offer project managers an in-depth exploration into areas like strategic planning, product development, marketing, and expansion, enhancing their proficiency. However, the challenge lies in discerning which books provide the insights needed to keep pace with the ever-evolving industry.
To save you the hassle, we’ve curated a list of 10 best books on Project Management penned by seasoned project managers and thought leaders in the domain:
1. Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide
Author: Greg Horine
Most foundational courses in project management will highlight or recommend this book. It’s an ideal starting point for those new to project management, providing a comprehensive overview for anyone considering this career path.
Regarded as a top choice in project management, this book delves into all essential areas a project manager should be familiar with – from core planning and control strategies to an introduction to agile methodologies. Its 4th edition has also been refreshed to encompass the latest online tools in project management, priming readers for the recent PMP Certification Exam.
Many readers commend this guide for its thoroughness, clarity, and structured layout. While it’s tailored for beginners, even those at an intermediate level in project management can gain insights. Freshers will find valuable lessons in crafting a detailed project plan, devising an effective work breakdown structure (WBS), and establishing budgets and timelines.
2. Project Management for Non-Project Managers
Author: Jack Ferraro
The title says it all – this book is tailored for those who aren’t project managers by title but may very well be performing the role in essence. You might unknowingly already employ project management techniques as someone in a functional managerial role.
What makes this book essential for newcomers is its comprehensive approach. Not only does it outline the duties of project managers, but it also contextualizes these roles about various managerial types and their distinct responsibilities.
This guide covers all functional managers to understand a thorough understanding of project management, equipping them with pivotal skills like devising work breakdown structures, mastering risk management, understanding performance reports, applying business analysis tactics, and strategizing program sequences.
The book draws a vivid distinction between project managers and functional managers. While the latter might lean towards consistency, project managers are catalysts for transformative changes. Instead of just small-scale, incremental improvements, project managers are tasked with envisioning and executing strategies for significant advancements. And this book is your guide to achieving just that.
3. Advanced Multi-Project Management: Achieving Outstanding Speed and Results with Predictability
Author: Gerald I. Kendall, andKathleen M.
In many efficiently managed multi-project settings, it’s still common to find a significant percentage of projects falling behind schedule, exceeding budgets, or undergoing scope reductions. Yet, the strategies detailed in Advanced Multi-Project Management have empowered organizations of various sizes to consistently meet project deadlines, adhere to original budgets, and even boost the volume of concurrently executed projects by up to 70% with the same resources.
Advanced Multi-Project Management delivers a sophisticated approach to streamline projects and maximize the number of projects undertaken without increasing resource allocation.
It touches on critical concerns top-tier project managers face, especially when promptly executing the most impactful projects. This guide gives insights into managing active project flows, introducing strategic buffers, expediting project completion, and salvaging derailed projects.
Esteemed organizations have harnessed the methods from this book, achieving remarkable outcomes. The book further illuminates six pivotal components that, when synchronized, enhance an organization’s efficiency and predictability.
4. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)
Author: Project Management Institute
For those in the project management realm or those aiming to step into it, the PMBOK Guide should be on your reading list. Released by the esteemed Project Management Institute (PMI)—the body behind the globally recognized Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification—this guide is viewed by many as a cornerstone in the project management field.
Not only is the PMBOK Guide a pivotal reference for PMP exam preparation, but it’s also a top-tier resource for professionals in the domain. It dives into the intricacies of key development strategies, offering insights on customization, various models, artifacts, and beyond.
The latest edition, unveiled in August 2021, encapsulates the most recent industry shifts influenced by technological, economic, and market dynamics.
While its academic nature and substantial length (exceeding 600 pages) might seem daunting, its depth and breadth make it a must-read. While many opt for a PMP training course, this guide stands out as a supplementary fountain of knowledge for exam preparation or broadening one’s grasp on project management.
5. Project Management for The Unofficial Project Manager
Author: Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore
If the term “project manager” isn’t part of your job title but you are steering a project towards its conclusion, this book might be your supporter. This book offers a foundational explanation of project management, tailored specifically for those who have yet to be formally christened as project managers.
The book underscores leadership’s pivotal role in project fruition, sheds light on the recipe for effective leadership, and offers novice project managers a clear path to mastering it. It is a beginner’s manual for project management, encompassing the journey from project inception to execution, oversight, and final wrap-up. With an engaging blend of standard project management terminologies and real-world instances, it offers readers a glimpse into how various scenarios pan out in practice.
The guide is enriched with invaluable pointers on team motivation, adept leadership, and devising strategies for successful project planning. If you or your team have never embarked on a project or been informally chosen to coordinate and assign tasks within your team, this book is for you. It’s a straightforward, pragmatic manual that demystifies project management and ensures you stay on top of your other duties.
6. The Lazy Project Manager: How to be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early
In “The Lazy Project Manager: How to be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early,” Peter Taylor champions the idea of project managers transitioning from conventional methods to more streamlined, effective processes.
Taylor posits that individuals with a “lazy” disposition who prioritize work-life balance often outperform those who burn the candle at both ends. From this perspective, Taylor suggests that project managers should strategically invest effort into pivotal tasks and projects, training themselves to operate more efficiently.
This book emphasizes incorporating the TOC, Lean, and Six Sigma methodologies for enhanced outcomes. It delves into sophisticated project management tactics to ensure timely delivery and unparalleled profitability. Additionally, it touches upon the renowned Pareto principle (or the 80/20 rule), suggesting that a majority of results (80%) stem from a minority of causes (20%).
7. Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos
Author: Sarah Elk and Steve Berez
While Agile offers transformative benefits to organizations, its optimal implementation is pivotal. The authors underscore the essence of equilibrium. You might be familiar with Agile as a predominant project management technique, but do you grasp its intricacies?
“Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos” is penned by authors Rigby, Elk, and Berez—prominent figures at Bain & Company—who assert that the true potency of Agile emerges only when wielded correctly, a feat easier said than done. The book disproves several prevalent myths:
- Agile isn’t universally suitable.
- Agile isn’t merely a fix for organizational hiccups.
Nevertheless, the authors emphasize that only by honing the fundamental principles of Agile can project managers unlock its full potential. They advocate for the mastery of Agile, asserting that when applied adeptly, it fosters an environment where teams innovate without compromising efficiency and productivity.
This read is ideal for project managers who’ve dabbled in Agile but have yet to witness its transformative promise. It offers insights into common pitfalls, projects ill-suited for Agile, and mastering and amplifying these techniques within a team.
All three authors, partners at Bain & Company, assist leaders in enhancing their proficiencies, devising growth strategies, and streamlining operations. Their literary contribution is invaluable to anyone navigating the Agile terrain, whether novices or field veterans.
8. Project Management in the Hybrid Workplace
Author: Phil Simon
As the corporate landscape evolves towards a hybrid work model, project managers find themselves able to recalibrate and establish efficient practices. Acclaimed author Phil Simon amalgamates insights from fields as diverse as Agile software development, HR, supply-chain management, organizational behavior, cognitive psychology, and labor economics in his latest offering, “Project Management in the Hybrid Workplace.”
Simon doesn’t just present case studies in his time; he also dispenses actionable advice. This makes the book an essential read for product owners, novice and veteran project managers, service providers, freelancers, small enterprise proprietors, and students enrolled in PM courses.
9. Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme
Author: Robert K Wysocki
This definitive guide to project management is heralded as an essential read for professionals. It offers a unique approach that is aware of the varying project environment and elucidates how this approach can be seamlessly integrated.
Designed with instructors, professionals, and active project managers in mind, the book comes equipped with updated case studies and exercises, each accompanied by meticulous analyses and solutions.
It delves deep into various project management techniques, from traditional to agile, and even extreme methodologies like Kanban and Scrumban. Readers also access a companion website with exercises, solutions, and PowerPoint slides encompassing all tables and figures referenced.
The book offers invaluable advice on handling multiple team projects, spearheading continuous process improvement programs, instituting an enterprise project portfolio management process, and crafting a project-centric enterprise model.
The book also highlights strategies for pre-empting and rectifying distressed projects and explores the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) process groups. It’s a holistic resource that equips readers to navigate project management’s intricate and unpredictable terrains.
10. Brilliant Project Management: What the Best Project Managers Know, Do and Say
Autor:Barker, Mr Stephen
This book is a practical dive into project management essentials. While it caters to beginners, its content resonates more with seasoned project managers, serving as a trusty refresher on the essentials of success. Every read reveals deeper insights and its applicability spans all methodologies, whether agile, Scrum, or beyond.
The author’s seasoned perspective adds a layer of wit, turning fundamental concepts into memorable lessons. It’s not just a beginner’s guide; it’s a perpetual companion for experienced professionals.
The narrative commences with an observation: many projects flounder due to budget overruns and delayed timelines. Yet, the author optimistically posits that by emulating the strategies of triumphant project managers, one can consistently achieve projects on time and within budget constraints.
He meticulously pinpoints areas where specific actions and behaviors can distinguish between monumental success and catastrophic failure.
Mastering the art of project management is crucial for professionals aiming for success. The list of “10 Best Project Management Books to Read Now ” provides invaluable insights. These books encompass a broad spectrum of methodologies and best practices, ensuring readers can find guidance tailored to their needs and preferences.
As the realm of project management continually evolves, continuous learning becomes paramount. For those looking to enhance their skills and knowledge further, Invensis Learning offers an array of project management courses tailored to meet the diverse needs of professionals.