19 Best Books on Systems and Planning

Best Books on Systems and PlanningP

lanning is a necessary part of being successful. Do you have a plan for what you want to do with your day? Do you have a plan for how to tackle your tasks? Do you have a plan for what you need to take care of in the next week, month, or year? Most people don’t. They go through their days without a thought as to what they should be doing next. This leads to confusion and chaos among those who are unfocused and undisciplined. But not all hope is lost! Here, are some of the best books on how to make the most out of systems and planning so that you can be successful now and in the future!

Best Books on Systems and Planning: THE LIST

1. Traction | By Gino Wickman

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Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you?

All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. More than 80,000 companies have discovered what EOS can do.

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

For an illustrative, real-world lesson on how to apply Traction to your business, check out its companion book, Get A Grip.

2. Toyota Way | By Jeffrey Liker

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The bestselling guide to Toyota’s legendary philosophy and production system―updated with important new frameworks for driving innovation and quality in your business.

One of the most impactful business guides published in the 21st Century, The Toyota Way played an outsized role in launching the continuous-improvement movement that continues unabated today.

Multiple Shingo Award-winning management and operations expert Jeffrey K. Liker provides a deep dive into Toyota’s world-changing processes, showing how you can learn from it to develop your own improvement program that fits your conditions. Thanks in large part to this book, managers across the globe are creating workforces and systems that produce the highest-quality products and services, establish and retain customer loyalty, and drive business profitability and sustainability. Now, Liker has thoroughly updated his classic guide to include:

  • Completely revised data and updated information about Toyota’s approach to competitiveness in the new world of mobility and smart technology
  • Illustrative examples from manufacturing and service organizations that have learned and improved from the Toyota Way
  • A fresh approach to leadership models
  • The brain science and skills for learning to think scientifically
  • How Toyota applies Hoshin Kanri, a planning process that aligns objectives at all levels and marries them to business strategy

Organized into thematic sections covering the various aspects of the Toyota Way―including Philosophy, Processes, People, and Problem Solving―this unparalleled guide details the 14 key principles for building the foundation of a powerful improvement system and managing it for ultimate competitive advantage.

With The Toyota Way, you have an inspiration and a model of how to set a direction, continuously improve and learn at all levels, continually “flow” value to satisfy customers, improve your leadership, and get quality right the first time.

3. A Practical Guide to Information Systems Strategic Planning | By Anita Cassidy

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The foundation of a successful information systems strategic plan is the recognition that business direction and requirements must drive the IS strategy and computing architecture. A Practical Guide to Information Systems Strategic Planning, Second Edition outlines a systematic approach to guide you through the development of an effective IS plan that is formulated from your company’s business plan.

This volume outlines a quick and easy approach with concepts, techniques, and templates for analyzing, organizing, communicating, and implementing an IS strategy. This approach unites an organization in a collaborative effort resulting in a solid direction that has the support of the entire organization. Establishing this direction cultivates the support of management, enabling necessary strategic IS investments.

With a new look at the role of IS governance in strategic planning, this second edition reflects advances in technology and provides an improved and thorough planning methodology. The strategic planning process outlined in this book has been supplemented by lessons learned from applying the process in numerous companies, cultures, and environments.

4. The Systems Thinking Approach to Strategic Planning and Management | By Stephen Haines

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Easy-to-follow and understand, The Systems Thinking Approach to Strategic Planning and Management presents the first practical application of “systems thinking”, a concept first introduced by Peter Senge in the Fifth Discipline as a new, better, and elegantly simple A-B-C approach to strategic management, planning, and change. It provides a unique Systems Thinking ApproachÔ that places equal emphasis on planning, strategies, and change management processes in support of customer satisfaction.

5. Measure What Matters | By John Doerr

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In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up for whom he’d just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They’d have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress—to measure what mattered.

Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results. He had first discovered OKRs in the 1970s as an engineer at Intel, where the legendary Andy Grove (“the greatest manager of his or any era”) drove the best-run company Doerr had ever seen. Later, as a venture capitalist, Doerr shared Grove’s brainchild with more than fifty companies. Wherever the process was faithfully practiced, it worked.

In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone’s goals, from entry-level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization.

The benefits are profound. OKRs surface an organization’s most important work. They focus effort and foster coordination. They keep employees on track. They link objectives across silos to unify and strengthen the entire company. Along the way, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention.

In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will help a new generation of leaders capture the same magic.

6. The 4 Disciplines of Execution | By Sean Covey

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For fans of Good to Great and The First 90 DaysThe Four Disciplines of Execution is the book “every leader should read” (Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma) for creating lasting organizational change. A #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller with more than 500,000 copies sold, The Four Disciplines of Execution will radically change your business.

4DX® is not theory. It is a proven set of practices that represents a new way of thinking essential to thriving in today’s competitive climate, making this 2nd Edition a book that no business leader can afford to miss.

The 2nd Edition provides more than 30 percent new content, including insight on topics such as:
-How 4DX impacts leaders of leaders.
-The one metric that sustains execution for the long term.
-Three leadership mindsets are required for strategic commitment.
-Utilizing technology for compelling executive scoreboards.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution are used by more than 100,000 teams around the world in business, government, and education, and are changing how teams and organizations achieve their most important goals.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind. By following the 4 Disciplines—Focus on the Wildly Important; Act on Lead Measures; Keep a Compelling Scoreboard; Create a Cadence of Accountability—leaders can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their teams.

7. Think in Systems | By Zoe McKey

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We have the best of intentions to improve our conditions, but often our solutions fall short of improving our lives. Our best efforts can result in the opposite of what we want over time. If we apply conventional thinking to complex issues, we often maintain or feed the very problems we want to fix. How to avoid this trap? I will tell you in this book. Think in Systems is a concise information manual offering high-level, strategic problem-solving methods for personal and global issues. The book presents the main features of systems thinking in an understandable, everyday manner, helping you to develop the skills top analysts and world leaders use. Your life is a system. Everything that is connected to your system (life) is a part of it. Your town, country, the world, the solar system are all bigger systems you are a part of. These systems are interconnected. Whatever you do will affect the system and whatever the system does will affect your life. Systems can have a positive and negative effects on your life – or on the life of people generally. The greatest problems like hunger, war, and poverty are all failures in the system. Similarly, fights with your loved ones, being stuck in a rut at your job are also system failures. They are not only your fault. But they can’t be fixed with cause-effect thinking. Systems thinking boosts your critical thinking skills, makes you more logical, enhances your analytical abilities, and makes you more creative

8. Systems Management | By Jeffrey Grady

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The second edition of a bestseller, System Management: Planning, Enterprise Identity, and Deployment demonstrates how to make systems development work for any organization. Updated with new chapters, examples, and figures, it discusses the optimum marriage between specific program planning and a company’s generic identity. The author focuses on the management aspects of the functional departments and programs and highlights the areas that must be improved in order to implement outstanding systems capability.

The book examines the “what and why” of a process and includes a detailed example of a common process model and discusses how to document one. The author builds the case for a matrix structure in which the enterprise has several programs in the house at any one time, the complex problems these programs must solve, and the need for information from many different knowledge domains. He explores the rationale behind placing a generic process under a central management authority with contributions from all functional departments. The book then covers two sets of program planning strings based on the product entity structure and organizes management techniques for the three fundamental system developments efforts: requirements analysis, synthesis, and verification. It concludes with a discussion of assessment and improvement.

Recognizing the three areas involved in the development of any new or updated system―the system under development, the enterprise itself, and the program within the enterprise responsible for the development work―this book examines how all three of these systems should be developed using the principals of system engineering. Clearly identifying the important elements of the enterprise and program information sets that have to be skillfully manipulated, it covers strategies that help organizations already using systems approach fine-tune their systems and give those not using a system approach the tools to develop systems of their own.

9. Creating the Corporate Future

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Here’s why thousands of readers in business and management turn to Russell Ackoff for innovative and effective ideas: “Russell Ackoff has probably influenced more managers than any other living person.. Two of his books, Scientific Method (1962) and Redesigning the Future (1974), are the cornerstones of much of the theory and methods for systematic analysis of problems in management and planning.” –APA Journal “Russell Ackoff is undoubtedly one of the great masters of this art.” [of storytelling as a means of conveying information]. –Omega, The International Journal of Management Science The Art of Problem Solving is. “A witty, literate, and most of all convincing reflection.. He shines an often bright light into corners where problems hide, showing the manager how to understand the consequences of his own behavior; identify real, rather than supposed, elements of problems; perceive another’s aims; determine what is controllable; and deal with other nettlesome factors.” –INC.

10. Urban Transit | By Vukan Vuchic

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The only modern text to cover all aspects of urban transit operations, planning, and economic global in scope, up-to-date with current practice, and written by an internationally renowned expert, Urban Transit: Operations, Planning, and Economics is a unique volume covering the full range of issues involved in the operation, planning, and financing of transit systems.

Presenting both theoretical concepts and practical, real-world methodologies for operations, planning, and analyses of transit systems, this book is a comprehensive single-volume text and reference for students as well as professionals.

The thorough examination of technical fundamentals and management principles in this book enables readers to address projects across the globe despite nuances in regulations and laws. Dozens of worked problems and end-of-chapter exercises help familiarize the reader with the formulae and analytical techniques presented in the book’s three convenient sections:

  • Transit System Operations and Networks
  • Transit Agency Operations, Economics, and Organization
  • Transit System Planning

Visually enhanced with nearly 250 illustrations, Urban Transit: Operations, Planning, and Economics is a reliable source of the latest information for transit planners and operators in transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, city governments, consulting firms as well as students of transportation engineering and city planning at universities and in professional courses.

11. Project Management | By Harold Kerzner

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The newest edition of the #1 project management guide for students and professionals

In the newly revised 13th Edition of Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, project management pioneer, leader, and educator Dr. Harold Kerzner deliver a comprehensive and intuitive approach to project management. Widely known as the bestselling “bible” of project management, this book aligns with the concepts and standards outlined in PMI’s latest A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) and contains the detailed coverage of tools and methods used at all stages of a project.

New content added to this 13th Edition includes project health checks, the continued growth of strategic project management, new business models, lean project management, artificial intelligence, and the use of new metrics and KPIs. Supplementary material for academic and corporate instructors, students, and practicing project managers can be found on the book’s companion website.

  • A thorough introduction to project management concepts, like project success definition, the role of the project manager, working with executives, and project classification
  • Comprehensive explorations of the evolution and growth of project management, organizational structures, staffing a project team, and management functions
  • Practical discussions of communications management, conflicts, project planning, network scheduling techniques, and pricing and estimation
  • In-depth examinations of cost control, metrics and KPIs, and risk, contract, and quality management

Perfect for students and scholars of project management in business and engineering programs, Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling will also earn a place in the libraries of anyone studying for the PMP® exam, as well as practicing project managers, project consultants, and trainers.

12. An Elegant Puzzle | By Will Larson

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There’s a saying that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Management is a key part of any organization, yet the discipline is often self-taught and unstructured. Getting to the good solutions for complex management challenges can make the difference between fulfillment and frustration for teams, and, ultimately, between the success and failure of companies.

Will Larson’s An Elegant Puzzle focuses on the particular challenges of engineering management–from sizing teams to handling technical debt to performing succession planning–and provides a path to good solutions. Drawing from his experience at Digg, Uber, and Stripe, Larson has developed a thoughtful approach to engineering management for leaders of all levels at companies of all sizes. An Elegant Puzzle balances structured principles and human-centric thinking to help any leader create more effective and rewarding organizations for engineers to thrive in.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Systems and Planning

Some of the best books on how to make the most out of systems and planning so that you can be successful now and in the future. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. The Toyota Way is updated with important new frameworks for driving innovation and quality in your business. A Practical Guide to Information Systems Strategic Planning, Second Edition outlines a systematic approach to guide you through the development of an effective IS plan that is formulated from your company’s business plan.

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

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