In today’s competitive, fast-paced business world, having a proper hold on the ins and outs of your projects is crucial. Hence, there is a great emphasis on the importance of project management – through seminars, books, and YouTube videos – and creating content has become nearly as important as project management itself.
Managing our day-to-day tasks can be considered project management, in a sense. But if you share the same old-fashioned belief as us – that nothing beats a good and detailed book where knowledgeable resources are considered – then this is the article for you.
Today, we’ll present the best books on project management. To make our guide even more comprehensive, we’ll also provide a short review of the selected books, as well as offer a buying guide on what to consider when purchasing a project management book.
What Is Project Management?
The essence of project management is that it is a process where the project manager, leading a team, ensures all goals of the particular project are met according to the given criteria.
Although the term might seem IT-based, project management applies to every project you can think of – from construction to the expansion of sales.
With such a vast area of effect, it’s no wonder that project management might seem quite daunting to master for those new to the term. But no need to worry! With our assortment of the best books on project management, you can be successfully leading projects in no time.
So, grab a pen and paper and prepare to discover some of the best books on project management!
The 5 Best Books on Project Management
After much consideration, the following is a comprehensive list of the best books on project management on offer today:
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
- Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager
- Project Management QuickStart Guide
- Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Remember, these are largely books for beginners that teach core concepts, while books for more complex projects might be tackled in a future article.
With these titles in mind, let’s take a deeper dive and look at the positives and negatives of each book!
The Best Project Management Books: Reviews
“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” is a comprehensive resource for both people that are new to project management and those that want to refresh their knowledge of the principles of project management.
Project management has evolved alongside today’s business world, which, in turn, means the evolution of relevant literature.
Thus, in this book, what was previously known as the 10 knowledge areas was replaced with the 12 principles, to go along with contemporary project management lingo.
This particular project management book is structured around what is known as project performance domains, eight of which are:
- Development approach and life cycle
- Project Work
The book provides its readers with modern terminology and practical advice and examples. However, the book might be considered more of a launching-off point for beginners in project management and a study tool for PMP seekers.
More experienced people could find it needing more in-depth material.
- Full range of development approaches
- Beginner friendly
- Useful study guide
- Could be more thorough for already-successful project managers
Today’s fast-paced business world sometimes dictates that even those with less experience have to try their luck with project management. If you ever find yourself in this situation, this book might be just the thing to make that harrowing first-time experience a breeze.
What this book highlights is that people are the driving force behind every successful project. Managing people effectively means properly managing the project.
This book takes you through a five-step plan to ensure a well-done project:
Coupled with real-world examples by Suzette Blakemore, Kory Kogan, and James Wood, this project management book is surely a welcome tool for those that look not only for information but also experience.
- Understandable and simple prose
- A thorough base for non-project managers
- Experienced project managers may find it to be too simplistic at certain points
What sets this book apart is that it also markets itself as a practical guide for those with a career in project management because it draws on the 30+ year experience of its author, who breaks down the primary concepts and makes them easy to understand, even for beginners.
Not only does the author give a comprehensive guide on how to start and maintain a successful project, but he also provides a lifetime of access to a digital library of tools and templates.
- Useful for all levels of knowledge
- Lifetime access to a digital library of tools and templates
- Video links with concise explanations (in the digital version)
- Some project management process descriptions might be too complicated for beginners to follow
“Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide” is just that – a guide that ensures beginners can master the necessary project management skills to see any project through to completion. Not only does this book teach you how to lead projects, but it also shows you how to salvage troubled projects.
People who are in the beginning stages of project management will see how project managers adapt to remote and virtual teams, deal with security and privacy priorities, and much more.
All in all, this book works well as sort of a checklist for every time you start a new project and when you want to make sure you didn’t miss anything along the way.
- Insight into troubled and recovered projects
- Bonus PMP preparation chapter
- No real-life examples
- No templates or documents provided
While the previous books talked about project management in general terms, in a beginner-friendly manner, “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” talks about a specific way to manage projects: Scrum.
Scrum is essentially teamwork where the whole team tackles small tasks together, adjusts any mistakes, and incrementally delivers value.
What makes this book even more special is that its author, Jeff Sutherland, was one of the people that helped invent Scrum as a project management system.
Proper implementation of the Scrum system ensures at least double the increase in productivity and quality – and in some cases, the increase is 12-fold.
The team approach is heavily underlined in this book. So much so that if there are any bumps along the way, the whole team is on it to fix it together.
At the same time, the book has been criticized by industry experts as not focusing on what Scrum is but rather talking about its applications in scenarios that might just be hypothetical.
- Insight into one of the leading project management techniques in use, worldwide
- Readers might not be satisfied with the definitions of Scrum and what the system is
- The stories within the book may come off as unrealistic, and the whole book reads like a biography
Project management is more than just a fancy IT term that we can simply ignore – it is actually part of every branch of the economy, of every job you and I can think of.
Do you have a goal to achieve in a week, month, or year? That is a project. So it’s best to learn how to properly manage it and get the most out of it.
It’s okay if you have never had the opportunity to manage a project, no matter how big or small. But having read today’s article, you should be aware that project management is a highly sought-after skill, and learning the basics of it is not hard at all, especially when you have the right resources.
The choice of book is yours – it can be one of these five best books on project management we recommended for you, or it might even be another one you find through your research.
The fact of the matter is that the knowledge is out there, available for beginners and veterans alike, and it is up to each of us to manage our self-improvement project to the best of our ability!