10 Best Project Management Books Ever Written

We rank leading book on project management and planning on the market using objective evaluation and the result is best project management books ever written.

Is PMBOK One of the Best Project Management Books?

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 for working professionals.

Moreover, the PM books also need to show how project management professionals can develop important project management skills so they can become an experienced project manager quickly. The examples of important skills are management basics, time management, task sequencing and scheduling, project costing, project communication and risk management. These are necessary things a project management professional should learn for career development.

The Ranking of Project Management Books

In order to provide the list of 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 books from related project management blogs and websites.

- 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.

- Some books dedicated to time management such as Getting Things Done by David Allens are included on our list.

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

- The list of 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 10 most cited books to recommend.

- We use the editorial decision to make the final cut.

The List of Project Management Books are as below:

  1. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun

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

  3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

  4. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

  5. Critical Chain Project Management by Lawrence Leach

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

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

  8. Project Management JumpStart by Kim Heldman

  9. Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber

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

Many readers may notice that some popular books by top project management influencers are not included on the list. The reason is that some books may appear to be popular that they may only introduce the readers to some basics concept that are available in other books. Then, this kind of book is not cited by other books and publications. This is how citation analysis is used to separate a good book and a great book.

For those of you who would like to take the PMP Test (Project Management Professionals Test), the list of books as above can be a good starting point. However, we believe you also need a book specifically to PMP so you know what the test really looks like.

What are some project management books you are using?

- Project Management Institute. (2017). Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK). Project Management Institute.

Last review and update: April 20, 2019
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 connect with him via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.