Book Review: Statistical Techniques for Project Control

 Statistical Techniques for Project ControlStatistical Techniques for Project Control (Industrial Innovation Series) by Adedeji Badiru and Tina Kovach is a powerful resource for CIO’s, PMO’s, product developers, and senior leaders of all stripes. What makes Statistical Techniques for Project Control so useful for all functional leaders is that it is not specific to IT project control. And, for CIO’s and PMO’s looking to expand their scope of services beyond IT projects, you will find plenty of insights to formulate your plan.

Badiru and Kovach take the wide view of the project management discipline and detail the universal techniques for managing all aspects of project performance. Certainly their approach is aimed squarely at the professional project manager who may be working in construction project management, product development, operational projects, and yes the IT project management office.

The reason CIO’s and other executives should read this book is that it will strengthen your ability to manage and lead the project management office function and help you strengthen your project management IQ as a project sponsor. In other words, any executive or senior leader struggling to get better results from strategic or operational projects will find numerous insights and techniques for finding and fixing what may be wrong.

The good news for those who do not consider themselves experts in project management, myself included, the book begins with a solid overview of the Fundamentals of Project Management using DODAF and PMBOK frameworks. The Statistics for Project Control are then detailed as a foundation for the real meat and potatoes of the later chapters which is a good refresher on statistics and project performance indicators.

These first two chapters go quick but at times can seem a bit like inside baseball for anyone that does not have a lot of experience in project management. What I mean to say is there is there is a very sophisticated world of project management many never see unless you have worked on major defense contracts. No worries, you can skim anything that seems too deep for your role and still glean important details.

The authors proceed into the heart of using Statistical Techniques for Project Control cover Project Time Control, Project Performance Control, Project Cost Control, and Project Quality Control. In each of these chapters there are numerous explanations and examples of the concepts in product development, software development, operational projects and many other disciplines.

There is also a balance of the statistics, including the math. Don’t worry though, Badiru and Kovach, didn’t write a math book. They devote a great deal of attention to the principles and concepts supporting the statistics as well as how to actually make them useful in achieving project success.

One of the ways they do this is by including detailed explanations and linkages to the critical path method (CPM) and program evaluation review techniques (PERT). I am also confident many struggling to demonstrate the value of more robust project controls will find these explanations and illustrations useful in demonstrating the complexities of running successful projects.

The next two chapters Lean Principles for Project Control and Six Sigma and Statistical Modeling I found particularly useful for anyone looking to connect their project management methodologies and project control techniques to existing corporate models. That may be more so the case in those industries where Lean and Six Sigma is more prevalent or where the IT department practices continuous improvement.

Statistical Techniques for Project Control wraps up with some very detailed Project Control Case Studies and an appendix full of Useful Statistical Distributions for those looking for more of the actual math.

The real strength and value of Statistical Techniques for Project Control (Industrial Innovation Series) is that it is not exclusively for IT projects. So any CIO or PMO director looking to demonstrate their value at an enterprise level will find this very useful in preparing their project management software and methodologies for non-IT projects.

I do recommend this book but remind you this is not a kitchen table explanation of project control. It is at times a very sophisticated insight and some heavy formulas that usually run behind the scenes in your project management software. But for those CIO’s commitment to raising their project performance, they will be rewarded for their time.


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