7 Best Project Management Books of All Time

We rank some of the best project management books on the market using the objective evaluation and the result is the best books in project management.

Background
Jeff Varney, Senior Adviser of American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) thinks that the best project management books should make project management body of knowledge becomes something simple. Because some project management professionals make project management and project planning harder than it has to be.

While Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide by Project Management Institute) is considered a gold standard, it's just a guide to getting you to know the project management process. Because it doesn't provide key takeaways for the real project planning that are easy to use.

Moreover, best project management books also need to show how to develop important management skills (so you can become an experienced project manager quickly) such as some management basics, time management, risk management for career development.

In Search of Best Project Management Books
In order to provide the list of best project management books for our readers, we come up with a data collection plan to find the best book as below,

- First, we gather the list of top books from related project management sites.

- Then, we do data cleansing. We merge the lists from 10 websites and find that there are 130 entries in total.

- After that, we remove duplicate entries, the unique entries now come down to 80 entries.

- We also remove general management, operations management, IT management, supply chain management books from the list because we think they belong to the different genre.

- Moreover, books dedicated solely to time management, a book like the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg or Getting Things Done by David Allens are not included.

- The list of best project management books only now has 40 entries.

- The next step is to do citation analysis as below,


- Citation analysis is the process to determine how many times each book is cited by other publications. The more citation counts, the more influential the book is.

- As you can see from the above example, one of the most highly recommended books by top management thinker like Peter Drucker got only 49 citation counts. Then, citation analysis is a very powerful way to determine how good each book really is.

- We check citation counts of each book, record the data and sort the list to find 7 most cited books to recommend.

7 Best Project Management Books are as below:
  1. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun

  2. Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams by Terry Schmidt

  3. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling by Harold Kerzner

  4. Project Management JumpStart by Kim Heldman

  5. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management by Eric Verzuh

  6. Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber

  7. Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process by Kenneth Rubin

What are some key takeaways from the book you find helpful? Are you the accidental project managers who read best project management books on this list and why?

Reference
- Project Management Institute. (1987). Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK). Project Management Institute.

Related Articles
- In Search of the Best PMP Book of All Time


Last review and update: September 15, 2018

About the Editor

Ben Benjabutr is the editor of SupplyChainOpz. He holds an M.Sc. in Logistics Management with 10+ years of experience in various functions in supply chain magement. In his free time, he enjoys reading business and management books. You can learn more about him here or connect with him via TwitterQuora and Google+ or drop him a line via e-mail.