Best Project Management Books You Should Read in 2021 (Top 10 Books Included)

Project management is critical for the success of an organization. With the growing competition across organizations, there has been an increase in the demand for project managers to oversee projects right from its conception to completion. A good project manager needs to be a strong leader, an effective communicator and well-versed in the latest project management methodologies and principles. Whether you are just starting your career as a project manager or have decades of experience under your belt, here is a list of the top ten best project management books (from beginner to advanced) to help you level up your skills

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10 Best Project Management Books

1. Project Management Absolute Beginner's Guide

Author: Greg Horine

Level: Beginner

This book is one of the most popular beginner books on project management. It covers all the major concepts of project management that every project manager should master - from planning and control to getting started with agile project management. The 4th edition of the book has also been updated with all the newest and most popular web-project management tools to get you ready for the latest PMP Certification Exam. 

2. Be Fast or Be Gone: Racing the Clock with Critical Chain Project Management

Author: Andreas Scherer

Level: Beginner

If you like reading fictional novels, this book on project management is the perfect one for you! The book explains Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) through two characters - Mike Knight and his son, Tim. When Tim gets diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, Mike quits his job to help a pharmaceutical company bring cancer's only known solution to the market faster using CCPM. The best part about this book is that it makes a complex topic like CCPM more interesting and approachable for a project manager who is just starting.

3. Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Author: Jack Ferraro

Level: Beginner

This book is exactly how the title describes it - a project management book for non-project managers. As a functional manager, you could already be implementing project management principles in your work without even realizing it. This book encourages all functional managers to jump into the project management space by arming them with the most critical project management skills such as work breakdown structures, risk management methods, performance reports, business analysis techniques, and program sequencing techniques.

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4. Project Management Case Studies

Author: Harold Kerzner

Level: Intermediate

This is one of the best project management books containing case studies from Disney, Airbus, Motorola, The Olympics and much more. Since case studies are essential for project managers, this book will give you a unique opportunity to experience project management in action for some of the high-profile companies around the world. This fifth edition of the book also focuses on Agile and Scrum methodologies and supports preparation for the latest PMP Certification Exam.

5. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management 

Author: Scott Berkun

Level: Intermediate

This book is especially useful for project managers in the software industry. It is based on the author’s years of experience as a project manager for Internet Explorer, Windows and MSN. It doesn't cite specific methods for managing projects, but focuses more on the philosophy and strategy of good project management. Some of the topics in this book include - “How not to annoy people”, “How to make things happen”, “Making good decisions” and “What to do when things go wrong”. It is an interesting book that will serve you well on your current projects and on future ones.

6. Agile Project Management with Scrum

Author: Ken Schwaber

Level: Intermediate

Written by Scrum himself's co-creator, this book provides an introduction to all the rules and principles of Scrum using easy, straightforward examples.You will learn how to scale projects and solve complex projects using Scrum, set up a Scrum team, setup artifacts and ceremonies, and other key Scrum principles. You will also learn about the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) which describes the best practices in developing software.

7. Epiphanized: A Novel on Unifying Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma

Author: Bob Sproull and Bruce Nelson

Level: Advanced

This book provides a comprehensive view of how project managers can use Theory of Constraints (TOC) to increase an organization's overall productivity.It also offers essential insights on how to implement TOC, Lean, and Six Sigma methodologies to produce even greater results. The book is divided into two parts - Part One covers the core concepts of TOC, Lean and Six Sigma methodologies; Part Two provides a more in-depth explanation to each of these core concepts for those who want to explore them in detail.

8. The Lazy Project Manager: How To Be Twice As Productive And Still Leave The Office Early

Author: Peter Taylor

Level: Advanced

This book also sheds light on the importance of using TOC, Lean and Six Sigma methodologies to achieve better results. It focuses on advanced project management techniques and skills to achieve superior on-time delivery along with unprecedented levels of profitability. It also includes the famous Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule which specifies that 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes.

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

Author: Gil Broza

Level: Advanced

This book gives an introduction to using the Agile mindset in project management. It provides important insights on the best practices and tools for Agile and how you can make them work for your team. You will also learn about the four foundational values of Agile - putting people before product and processes, adaptation, early and frequent value delivery, and customer collaboration.

10. Advanced Multi-Project Management: Achieving Outstanding Speed and Results with Predictability 

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

Level: Advanced

This book provides an advanced multi-project management approach for completing projects faster and increasing the number of projects executed using the same resources. It also addresses the key issues that senior project managers have with implementing the right projects at the right time. You will learn how to control the flow of active projects, implement a strategic buffer, enable faster execution and recover lost projects.

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Here’s What You Can Do Next

Project managers are an important asset for any organization to complete large projects on budget and without any disruption to other business activities. As such, the demand for professionals with project management skills is projected to grow faster than any other occupation. Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Program in Project Management in partnership with The University of Massachusetts Amherst will provide you with all the latest tools, skills, frameworks, and best practices to drive transformational projects. It is also aligned with Project Management Institute standards where you will have the opportunity to earn 146 PDUs and renew PMI related certifications.

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal is a passionate digital nomad with a major in English language and literature, a word connoisseur who loves writing about raging technologies, digital marketing, and career conundrums.

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