During the year I buy books, lots of books. Some on impulse, some with intent. Here's my list that has served me well.
- In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations that changed the World, Ian Stewart - Stewart is a prolific author of math books. Mathematics is the basis of project controls. Statistical mathematics is missing from most project control processes outside the space and defense business, where DI-MGMT-81861 mandates a Schedule Risk Analysis. The Monte Carlo Simulation of cost and schedule, connected with Technical Performance Measures is the norm.
- Forecast Scheduling: Best Practices for Real-World Projects, Eric Uyttewaal - this book and the Dyanamic Scheduling book should be on the shelf and anyone calling themselves a planner or scheduler. Along with the book Eric provides software to assess the credibility of your schedule. Although I'm not a fan of Project 2010, most of this book can be applied to Project 2007.
- Apollo Root Cause Analysis: Effective Solutions to Everyday Problems, Dean L. Gano - Root Cause Analysis is part of any good project management process. And at the same time rarely used. We're simply in too much of a hurry to get on with the next step, to look around to find out how to avoid problems in the future.
- Agile Management for Government: Leadership Skills for Implementation of Large-Scale Public Sector Projects in Months, Not Years, Brian Wernham - there are lots of books about agile and agile management. This is a book about how to actually do the work needed to increase the probability of success. Brian provides case studies and the steps needed to replicate these case studies.
- How to Lie with Statistics and How to Take a Chance, Darrell Huff - the first (3rd actually) step in lying with statistics is the aggregate the variances to the top. This is what happens in many programs using Earned Value Management. The Cost Performance Index and Schedule Performance Index are cumulative to date and the current period. The cumulative to date hides all the variances, unless you drill down to the Work Package level to see what is actually driving the cumulative data. Read these books and don't let anyone tell you a point estimate with also stating the variance and the variances of the components of that estimate.