Every industry has its publications that are held to that lofty status of go-to guides, and project controls is no exception. Rather than spend valuable time weeding through the volumes that are available out there, we bring you the top 24 can’t-miss project controls books that every good project controller has on their shelf. And now I’ve kept the promise I made on a recent webinar.
Top Project Controls Books
As former head of Qatar University’s Civil & Architectural Engineering Department, Dr. Saleh Mubarak has extensive field and academic experience. In case you forgot, Saleh has worked with us before.
In the 3rd edition of his book, he uses his assets to give the areas of both project controls and scheduling a very thorough examination that can be easily understood by someone who has almost no prior experience with the topic. Included are case studies and exercises. This is a must-read for project management students and project controls professional.
If you’re looking for a concise, yet comprehensive, review that provides you with insight into what the industry is undergoing in terms of the latest innovations in everything from control, scheduling and planning, Murray Woolf doesn’t disappoint in this book. Focusing on the Scheduling Practice Paradigm, Woolf effectively breaks down its concepts and into actionable steps that are designed to boost efficiency and production.
Project management is a field that can be rife with uncertainties and the risks that are associated with them. David Hulett takes a critical look at the popular Critical Path Method (CPM) of scheduling and provides a complete analysis of it that results in a better development of risks. From basic concepts that provide the novice with a solid foundation from which to build more knowledge to advanced ones that will have experienced project managers nodding in agreement, Hulett presents solutions that enables better estimations and scheduling.
There’s a reason why a second project management book by David Hulett made it into this list. He has a knack of breaking down complex concepts into plain English that makes it easy to digest and implement. The innovative Risk Driver Method clearly shows the relationship between schedule risk and cost. As one reviewer, fromoz, noted on is Amazon review, it finally enabled him to “back my theoretical understanding with real life practical uses derived from the book.”
In this fully-updated, eighth edition, experienced authors and civil engineers, James O’Brien and Fred Plotnick (founder of the Construction CPM conference), take the reader through CPM from the ground up. They provide a exhaustive study of this ground-breaking method and, in an extremely hands-on style, show how to make CPM works effectively with a variety of projects, avoid delay, stay informed on every aspect of the project and more. This edition includes access to a wealth of additional content available online.
The Pocket Guide for Large Industrial Projects
(for those Daring Enough to Take Responsibility for them) by Jean-Pierre Capron
Proving that project management doesn’t have to be dry and stoic, Jean-Pierre Capron’s book is a short and witty read that gives those that are interested valuable insight into the inner workings of organizations that specialize in the field. Written with both depth and clarity, the reader is able to obtain a robust amount of knowledge in a format that is easily digestible while on a business trip.
Advanced Scheduling Handbook for Project Managers
— a Practical Navigation Guide on Large, Complex Projects
by Jeremie Averous and Thierry Linares
From project managers that are deep within the trenches of projects that are both large and complex, comes this practical reference book. Utilizing the fresh — and often overlooked — perspective of a project manager, authors Jeremie Averous and Thierry Linares seek to bridge the gap between those professionals in the scheduling sector and those in the project management sector and improve the effectiveness of both.
Although the title would lead you to believe differently, this book is not just for those engineers in the oil and gas fields. Instead Herve Baron provides valuable information that any young engineer would find enlightening and critical to their further development within the industry. As Amazon reviewer, Evgeny Ivlev noted, “It touches each discipline showing interfaces between all of them.” In addition, engineers moving into the industry from another vertical also benefit from this guide that provides numerous illustrations, spec sheets, diagrams and more.
A straightforward reference guide for both construction planning and scheduling, Thomas E. Glavinich’s publication is also invaluable if you are studying to take your PSP certification exam. It’s the kind of book that you want to keep on hand while you are scheduling.
CPM Scheduling for Construction: Best Practices and Guidelines
edited by Christopher Carson, Peter Oakander & Craig Relyea
This edition of the book represents a collaboration between the PMI Scheduling Community of Practice and SEI. It delivers a methodical look at CPM scheduling from start to finish. Divided into six sections, these are further separated to enable quick reference to the material when needed. In addition to best practices, Carson, Oakander & Relyea provide recommendations steeped in their experience and knowledge.
Brett, a reviewer of the book on Amazon, sums it up best by saying, “This book provides very detailed information, techniques, and thought provoking questions for project managers and scheduling managers.”
Derek Graham takes on the elephant in the project management room in this book appropriately titled, Residential Construction Projects: Strategies & Solutions. In a sector that is well-known for running behind deadline while going over budget, Graham presents some solid and customizable solutions and strategies that work in the real-life construction world of today and are not limited to residential construction. I personally found Derek’s book very well researched. Derek put the time in to footnote all of his research so you’re also getting a complete list of other places to go for more info. Also check out Derek’s blog where he goes deep on the real-world of scheduling and construction regularly.
Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling & Controlling, 9th Edition By Harold Kerzner
The 11th edition of the Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling & Controlling, aka “bible” of project management is great for students and professionals looking to expand their knowledge. This text includes context from PMI’s project management body of knowledge. If you’re looking to learn about added value, business intelligence and more in real-world situations and industry case studies this is the text to grab.
Project Management, Planning and Control: Managing Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing Projects to PMI, APM and BSI Standards 7th Edition by Eur Ing Albet Lester
If you’re looking for a clear and concise text on Project Management, Planning and Control in construction and engineering this book will help you gain insight in information management, dispute resolution, project governance, BIM and more. There is also project management questions and answers from an APM exam.
These authors have formulated a text that offers a great foundation on the CPM fundamentals and principles on project planning. This text provides examples to help you get a better understanding if this concept and how you can best apply this knowledge. Method that are covered in this text are WBS and EVM and a case study that explains how to integrate these methods. Great read for students, and reference for builders, architects, engineers and construction professionals.
Wayne DelPico’s text on project control explains the theory behind the methodologies for planning, monitoring, and controlling project costs and schedule. This text is focused on the construction industry.
Control Your ERP Destiny: Reduce Project Costs, Mitigate Risks, and Design Better Business Solutions by Steven Scott Phillips
If you’re looking for a book geared towards organizations, this text focuses on enterprise resource planning and how-to better drive success within the organization. If you’re reliant on external services like consultants, this book will help you learn strategies to build a better solution when it comes to establishing your ERP. This text guides its readers with tips when making decisions throughout each phase of the project.
A Comprehensive Guide to Project Management Schedule and Cost Control: Methods and Models for Managing the Project Lifecycle (FT Press Project Management) by Randal Wilson
This text is great for project management newcomers and working project managers. Learn project structures, how to develop a project, manage stakeholders, planning, project cost analysis, budgeting and much more.
Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager: A FranklinCovey Title Paperback by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, James Wood
If you got thrown into managing a project, you have inherited the title of an unofficial project manager. This text will provide important formulas to help you get on track. They offer practical, real-world insight of how to best manage people and a project.
Struggle no more with the strategies illustrated in this textbook.
TCM Framework: An Integrated Approach to Portfolio, Program and Project Management, Second Edition by H. Lance Stephenson, CCP FAACE, Editor AACE International, 2015
This publication illustrates how to apply these skills of cost engineering to real-world projects.
If you’re working on a Primavera Enterprise focused organization with or without resources and roles this text would be a great supplement. This updated text includes information on visualizer with updated workshops. This text is filled with screenshots, tops, workshops and practice questions. This text is a PMI approved course.
To learn about this software and how to implement it correctly, this book offers a plain, straight forward approach to learn and apply Primavera.
1) The Principle of Dynamic Scheduling: When one thing changes in your project, you should have to change only a single cell in your schedule (and have the schedule engine recalculate the rest of the schedule)
2) The Principle of Forecast Scheduling: The schedule by itself should forecast the project (even without using well-known performance and forecasting techniques like Earned Value, Critical Chain and Agile)
With these two principles in mind, Eric has combed through all the features in Microsoft Project that support both principles or undermine them. He then recommends best practices on how to create a time model, workload model or cost model of your project that forecasts your project continuously, hence the title, ‘Forecast Scheduling’.
Project Planning, Scheduling, and Control: The Ultimate Hands-On Guide to Bringing Projects in On Time and On Budget, Fifth Edition
by James P. Lewis
This book has been updated to include real-world examples and guidelines that can be implemented in no time. This author offers practical applications that can help you with the Project Management Professional exam.
To learn how to manage virtual teams, facilitate project meetings, techniques for dealing with contractors and more, this book is worth checking out.
Cost Control and Risk Books
Acknowledging that the considerable changes that have been experienced within the construction industry have hinged primarily on economic issues, Frederic W. Mueller’s book seeks to provide solutions that marry schedule controls with integrated costs strategies. The end result? More responsive project managers that are ready to meet the demand’s of the construction industry of today.
Practical Cost Control Handbook for Project Managers:
A Practical Guide to Enable Consistent and Predictable Forecasting for Large, Complex Projects by Jeremie Averous
If you are looking for a practical handbook in cost control and risk that you’ll reach for again and again, Jeremie Averous’ Practical Cost Control Handbook for Project Managers: A Practical Guide to Enable Consistent and Predictable Forecasting for Large, Complex Projects is that publication. By understanding the traps and confines that lurk within forecasting and cost control, project managers can implement these essential processes in order to make better decisions.
While the above list is nowhere near exhaustive, it provides both novices and experts project controls books that impart a depth and breadth of knowledge that is unsurpassed. Developing this knowledgebase is critical in enabling today’s project managers to become experts in the ever-changing world of construction.
What did we miss? Leave us a comment with your go-to project controls books.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was originally published April 2016 but has been updated and revamped. The update includes 23 textbooks instead of the original 13 textbooks.