6 minutes

There are tons of project management books out there with precious little time to read them in between, riding the subway, preparing a project kickoff checklist and eating a burger for lunch. This year, it’s all about effective time management, efficiency, and improved processes.

This is why we have brought you a roundup of the top 21 best project management books to help build your arsenal. It’s even been grouped into beginner, advanced or management categories to help with decision making.

Now you know what you’ll be reading in your spare time this year, and yes, you’re welcome.

Category: Beginner and Accidental Project Managers Best Project Management Books

1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–Fifth Edition 5th Edition

Author: Project Management Institute

Insights: This is a great guide for beginner project managers as it comes fully packed with well-defined processes. It is a must-have for those who are yet to take the PMP test.If you are already a member of PMI, then you should be able to download a free pdf version in English, French and some other major languages.

It also comes with some memorization aids for theories and formulas that you would find really helpful.

2. The Project Management Answer Book, Second Edition

Author: Jeff Furman

Insights: The author has over 15 years of IT projects management under his belt so you can be certain he knows one or two things about project management. This book primarily focuses on the fundamental principles of project management with relevant examples cited. The author does a fabulous job of providing relevant information in an easy-to-read Q&A format, all laced with an appropriate dose of humor.

3. Project Pain Reliever: A Just-In-Time Handbook for Anyone Managing Projects

Author: Dave Garrett

Insights: With an ability to provide real solutions to specific project management problems, this book is exactly what it is – pain relief for project management. Accidental project managers would fall in love with this book that gives practical solutions to project issues.

4. The Scrum Field Guide: Agile Advice for Your First Year and Beyond (2nd Edition) (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) 2nd Edition

Author: Mitch Lacey

Insights: Struggling to adopt Scrum and Agile methodologies? Fret no more; this book is more than an introduction to Scrum, the advanced sections shed more light on managing conflicts, optimization, value measurement just to name a few. When you do get it, we would love to know what you think about the “Story” sections at the beginning of each chapter.

5. Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Author: Jack Ferraro, PMP

Insights: Yet another great resource for accidental project managers; this book talks about the critical project management skills even as it lists out step-by-step guidelines for project management process. It also highlights the crucial roles that both functional managers and project managers play in the successful execution of any project.

6. Bare Knuckled Project Management: How to Succeed at Every Project

Author: Tony Gruebl and Jeff Welch

Insights: With over 25 years experience in improving business processes, deploying leading technologies, managing teams, Tony sure has a lot to tell his readers about his career in project management. His book gives tactical insights into the rescue of complex projects, even as he shares a few secrets for improving organizational performance. Great for beginners and advanced project managers alike

7. Project Management Jumpstart, 3rd Edition

Author: Kim Heldman

Insights: In this book, Kim discusses the basic principles of project management, breaks down budgeting and monitoring in an easily comprehensible format. If you also want to know more about goal setting and risk assessment, and what project management certifications are available or required, then this is the book you should be reading.

8. Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide (3rd Edition)

Author: Gregory M. Horine

Insights: Find out what mistakes are common with new managers, master the essential skills required of every good project manager, learn to lead projects and create budgets and schedules like a pro and construct and accurate work breakdown structure like you’ve been doing it all your life.

Category: Advanced Project Managers Best Books on Project Management

9. The Agile Mind-Set: Making Agile Processes Work

Author: Gil Broza

Insights: This project management book might just reveal the secret ingredient your organization may have been missing. Gil takes readers way past best practices and tools to revealing what having the “Agile-mindset” is all about.

10. Advanced Multi-Project Management

Author: Gerald I. Kendall, PMP and Kathleen M. Austin

Insights: Project environments are often plagued with numerous problems depending on the scale and nature of the project and both authors do a very good job of identifying those problems. This book is an authoritative resource material from veterans who have seen it all and done it all. Find out their secrets to managing complex multiple projects concurrently.

11. Large- Scale Scrum: More with LeSS (Addison – Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) 1st Edition

Author: Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

Insights: This book will help project managers better define their products, get a better understanding of Scrum and it’s scalability, even as the authors educate their readers on the Scrum master roles.

12. Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams

Author: Terry Schmidt

Insights: A practical guide to getting the results you want through a time-tested change methodology. Find what strategies Terry employs in tackling issues that have given more than one project manager cause for concern.

13. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling 11th Edition

Author: Harold Kerzner, PH.D

Insights: This 1296-page book on project planning, scheduling and control is a favorite of both beginner and expert project managers alike. Join Harold as he takes you through the rudiments of project management and business intelligence. It even comes equipped with hundreds of discussion and multiple- choice questions to help prepare you for the PMP Certification Exam.

14. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer

Author: Jeffrey K. Liker

Insights: The Toyota Corporation’s approach to management and leadership is one that seen a series of discussion, deliberations, and reviews: their approach has birthed tremendous success in companies who have embraced their methodology. It thrives on the principles of continuous improvement and respect for people and Jeffery does a good job of chronicling the Toyota culture.

15. Managing Public Sector Projects: A Strategic Framework for Success in an Era of Downsized Government (ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy) 1st Edition

Author: David S. Kasse

Insights: With this book, David aims to tackle the issues that come with managing projects in the public sector. It’s just 278 pages but it clearly points out the unique aspects of managing sector public projects; a great transition tool for managers coming in from privately owned establishments.

16. Digital project Management: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide to a Successful Launch

Author: Taylor Olson, PMP

Insights: Project managers working in a technology focused environment will find Taylor Olson’s book very helpful as it gives a step-by-step guide to digital project management. From creating a project scope document to search engine optimization, Taylor tackles everything a digital project manager may face in a very concise manner.

Category: Best Books on Management 

17. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
Author: Jim Collins

Insights: What’s an enduring great company? How can a company move from good to great? How is growth sustained in a good company? The author answers this and more in this 400 page-turner.

18. Leadership Excellence

Author: Jim Denney

Insights: This book can be described as a go-to-guide for attaining excellence in leadership as the author takes us through not only his experiences but that of some of the world’s top leaders; sharing the seven sides to leadership as he goes along.

19. The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)

Author: Peter F. Drucker

Insights: With over 25 books under his belt, Drucker is considered an authority in the field of management; with sections like “Management Challenges for the 21st Century”, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” as well as a chapter that talks about the Post-Capitalist society, this book is gem for any aspiring manager or management executive.

20. Managing Stakeholder Expectations for Project Success: A Knowledge Integration Framework and Value Focused Approach

Author: Ori Schibi, PMP

Insights: Stakeholder management is one area that is often overlooked in project management but experienced project managers would be quick to point out the challenges that come with managing stakeholder expectations. If you hope to develop a skill in stakeholder analysis and management, then you would love the checklists that the author has included.

21. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition)

Author: Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Insights: A perfect resource material for those working in a software-related environment. The software industry is quite a complex one, requiring tremendous skill and dexterity to operate in, let alone manage. Project managers operating in this industry would, therefore, appreciate the tips and ideas that both authors proffer for effectively managing teams and improving their productivity.


What do you think of our roundup? Have you read any of these books? Then please leave a comment below, we would love to know what you think; besides, someone could find it useful.