Project Management Guide:

Preparing for Your Next Project with the Top 12 Project Management Books in 2020

If you are a project manager already you know how important it is to always be on the lookout for ways to improve your skills and to become a better manager for your team. Well, one of the best ways to become better at anything is to read about it. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the best project management books that you can find, and we’re going to help you figure out exactly why you should be reading each one of them.

The Best Books When You’re Just Starting Out

For those who are just getting into project management or those who are hoping to land the promotion, you’re going to need to have a basic foundation to start with. You need to start with a good understanding of what project management entails and what steps you need to follow. These books will help you with that. You’ll learn the simple steps that are going to get you off on the right foot with your superiors as well as with the rest of that team you’re now in charge of. That way, your first project should be a better experience that sets you up for success.

If you have all of these things then you have a true project, but you likely don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to managing that project just yet. That’s where the next step in this process comes in.

Let’s take a look at some of the best Project Management Books, so you can select the best fit for you:

1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

If you’ve been looking for a book that will introduce you to project management this is it. In fact, we probably don’t even need any other books in this section because this book is going to be the one that teaches you what you need to know to get started. It’s talked about by just about everyone in project management and it’s going to get you more than ready to take the PMP exam (if that’s what you’re working toward). The only thing you’re going to have to worry about is the fact that it’s a textbook … and that’s not always fun to read.

2. Project Management: Absolute Beginner’s Guide

If you’re looking to learn more about project management but you’re not so keen on reading a dry textbook this might just be the answer for you. It’s not quite as extensive as the first book we mentioned, but that makes it a little bit easier for most people to read. You’ll find that there’s still a lot of great information in here, it’s just … not quite as good. You’re still going to have a great book for taking a class on project management or even learning in the trenches. Just make sure you have another reference available as well.

3. Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Want to get a little bit of a leg up on what you’re hoping is a job opportunity? Or maybe you’re just looking to understand some of the nuances of a job you already have. Maybe you just want to be able to help the project managers on your team. No matter what you’re looking for, this is a great book to help you understand the basics of project management without diving too deep into it. You’ll be able to see a bit more about what this job really entails by going through this book, but it’s not going to get too in-depth.

4. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management

In some areas, this might be a little bit too advanced for beginners, but it’s going to give you a complete understanding of what project management is and just how you should be putting it into action in your own business. You’re going to get some high-quality examples from the real-world and also plenty of actionable steps that you’ll be able to put in right away. On the downside, it’s a bit hard for some to read, since it does read just like a textbook.

The Best Books When You’re at the Middle of the Road

Maybe you’ve been working in project management for a while, but you still don’t consider yourself an expert by any means. You’re still working on how to build up some of your skills and how to turn your experiences into a chance to become even better for your team and your company. These are some of the top books for you. They’re going to help you enhance the basic skills you’ve already got and they’re going to teach you some new skills you may never have thought of or learned on your own. After all, you want to keep pushing yourself, right?

5. The Lazy Project Manager: How to Be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early

The 80/20 rule is most definitely alive and well and with this book, you’re going to read all about how to make it work for you. You’ll get to read real case studies about how other project managers make it work and you’ll be able to skim through the charts if you’re looking to get the basics before you read the chapters. Add in the fact that it’s simple to read even in small doses and you’ll see why this is a great book for those who are looking to refine some of their skills and make sure that they can get the work-life balance they’re looking for.

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

Are you looking for a quick and easy book that you can read to get more information about project management? How about a book that’s going to help you achieve some goals? Well, if that sounds like what you’re looking for you’re going to want to take a closer look at this book. It’s all about giving you actionable tips that you can put into place a whole lot faster. Not to mention it’s super simple to read and keeps you focused on your tasks. There’s a reason this book is so popular with the pros and you’re going to see when you start reading this book yourself.

7. The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology and Organization to Thrive

You want to make sure that you know how to work with all of the important aspects of your team, and that includes people, technology and the organization as a whole. This book is tasked with showing you how to stay in the trenches on each of these things and how to make sure that your team feels like you’re there with them. You’ll learn how to use technology to your benefit and you’re going to have no problem developing sound strategies for balancing out each of these areas.

8. Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Administration

If you’re looking for a way to learn more about project management directly from people who have been there then you’re going to want to look at this book. It’s a series of essays and they’re all written by someone who has actually been a program manager. That way, you know you’re getting firsthand knowledge and you’re going to learn more of the in-depth information that you need to know. This book is going to show you some of the basics that you should be improving and it’s going to be easy to read, but it can drag on a bit.

The Best Books When You’re at the Top of Your Game

So, what if you feel like you’re already an expert in project management and you don’t have the time to waste on the basics? Well, there’s always more than you can learn and these books are going to get you there. If you want to get high-level learning, you need to go to the experts. And when you’re an expert you need to make sure that you’re not getting too overly confident. There’s always going to be new opportunities out there for you.

9. Getting Things Done

Once you get to the advanced level of project management you want to make sure that you’re getting some tips and ideas that are going to teach you new skills, right? Well, this is a book that will do exactly that. It’s actually about showing you how to be more productive, which you can apply to your project management or to other tasks entirely. You’ll learn how to put an organized and cohesive structure in place, how to get rid of distractions and how to create that organizational structure in the first place. Overall, it’s going to set you up to get the things done that you need to get done.

10. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Interested in learning how to set habits and how to better understand the habits that your team has? Need to get to know your traits and skills a little better? Well then, you’re going to want to take a closer look at this book, which is going to do exactly that. It’s designed to help you learn more about how to optimize your habits and how to fine-tune them to get exactly what you’re looking for. After all, you want to make sure that you can become the best person for your organization too, right? You’re not just looking to be a quality project manager.

11. Brilliant Project Management: What the Best Project Managers Know, Do, and Say

Want to find out more about being a project manager from other project managers? Well then, you’re going to want to take a closer look at this book. It’s written by a couple of authors who are project managers and can give you some real-world examples of things that happened in their businesses. Not only that but they’ll give you advice about what they did and how it worked. That way, you’re getting practical and comprehensive advice and information that you can start putting into place for yourself. And it’s a simple to read a book while you’re at it, so no textbook design.

12. The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management

Maybe it’s time for you to have a little fun with your learning, so take a look at this book. It’s fiction, but it’s also going to give you a bit of information about your job while you’re at it. You’re going to have a fun read, so you’ll be taking a bit of a break, and you’re also going to have no problem learning things. When you can combine both of those things you’re going to be off to the right start, don’t you think? There’s no reason that reading and learning about project management needs to all be about reading stuffy textbooks. With this book, you’re going to want to have a good foundation so you can differentiate the fun from education, but it’s a great way to go.

Conclusion

Hopefully, each of these books is going to provide you with a bit more information so you can take your skills in project management to the next level. If you’re a beginner you don’t want to stay there forever and even if you’re in the middle of the road you want to keep improving, right? Well, that’s what these books are going to do. They’re going to improve your level until you become the expert, and then they’re going to keep you right ongoing.

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