The last couple of months have seen the publication of two books designed to provide a practical foundation for people wanting to understand the basic ‘mechanics of scheduling’.
Murray Woolf published his CPM Mechanics, available from http://www.cpmmechanics.com and Aldo Matos published Planejamento E Controle De Obras, written in Portuguese, the book is available from http://construcao-engenharia-arquitetura.lojapini.com.br/pini/vitrines/produtos/produto3634.asp.
Both books are aimed at a similar market niche; working schedulers who have realised that understanding what their software actually does from the perspective of computational mechanics (to use Murray’s term), is essential for the creation and maintenance of effective schedules.
Simply being able ‘push the right buttons’ to drive scheduling software without understanding why the different functions exist is similar to being able to drive a car without being able to read a map and plan a route. The mechanical skills for driving the ‘hardware’ are only useful if you know exactly where you want to go! Once you have learned to ‘map read’ you can plan to go virtually anywhere and understand the potential challenges of the journey before you start.
The scope of Aldo’s book is wider, including sections on Line of Balance, Activity on Arrow, and balancing time and cost. With very limited Portuguese much of the text was beyond my reach but anyone working in Brazil, Portugal, East Timor, etc., I would certainly recommend this book as a valuable resource for understanding the technical aspects of the art of scheduling.
Murray’s book is true to its title and concentrates on the mechanics of CPM scheduling in Precedence networks. As with his other books, it is thorough and detailed, contributing another component to the library of scheduling books Murray has planned for publication.
Many of the more established tomes such as James O’Brien’s CPM In Construction Management (6th Ed. By Fred Plotnick & Jim O’Brien) are targeted at experienced practitioners and are both expensive and wide ranging.
By focusing on a specific and important skills development niche; both of the books discussed in this post are effective, affordable and useful to schedulers seeking to advance their careers and move from knowing what their software does to understand precisely why their software produces the results is does, and importantly be able to recognise any software induced errors.
Fortunately the language difference allows me to avoids the difficult job of determining which is ‘best’ and I’m happy to recommend both books – chose the one that ‘speaks to you’.