Biased Book Reviews

I sometimes wonder if the total freedom of the internet is an asset. Over the last several years I’ve been working with a tem of international experts to develop the CIOB Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects. We are now developing a certification framework to help support the development of a proper career framework for schedulers (for more on this see:

The Guide was developed for a specific purpose that is clearly enunciated in the marketing materials. The description is: The first stage, this [book], sets down the process and standards to be achieved in preparing and managing the time model. As a handbook for practitioners it uses logical step by step procedures and examples from inception and risk appraisal, through design and construction to testing and commissioning, to show how an effective and dynamic time model can be used to manage the risk of delay to completion of construction projects.

As a guide for practitioners the book has limitations, in particular it is not intended to be an academic text. Then you read the review on Amazon UK from an anonymous ‘Richard and his cat’ and he complains the book:

  • is written in bad english – very insightful as good English requires correct capitalisation as a minimum. The language in the book is not complex academic English primarily because its audience is world wide.
  • is full of unsubstantiated opinion and without any academic referencing to evidence – absolutely correct! This is a guide for practitioners.
  • appears to be written from the slanted viewpoint of an employers delay analysis consultant who wants an easy life by having the contractor do his work for him – I have no idea what ‘Richard’ does for a living but I always thought the job of the contractors scheduler was to make the employers consultants life as easy as possible by developing fully substantiated claims that can be approved un-amended. The Guide does strongly advocate keeping good records; these are needed for legitimate claims.
  • if a MSc Thesis then it would be a failure – completely agree! A MSc Thesis requires a very structured format and generally prohibits new ideas and thinking – the thesis has to be built on established writings. The Guide takes a radically new look at how to implement effective time management in complex projects and is written to be read and used.

Fortunately some newer reviews are appearing. The Guide will undoubtedly improve when the second edition is developed in a couple of years. For now I think it has a lot to offer practical project managers, schedulers and planners, but then I’m biased, I know the calibre of the people involved in developing The Guide.


One response to “Biased Book Reviews

  1. Pat,

    As a participant in several PMI practice guides, I’d say the reviewer is right and wrong. it is wickedly hard to merge the thoughts of multiple authors into one voice and get the thing out the door.

    As a trained proposal writer, I attempt to “voice” the text and integrate the themes and thought processes – but it is really really hard.

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