As projects become more complex and experience aggressive deadlines, reliance on accurate, transparent and meaningful schedule practices is growing.
Too often, projects suffer from being poorly constructed, maintained and tracked resulting in missed milestones, schedule slippage and delays with no way of determining what work is done, what work remains else realistically predicting how much the project will cost or when it will finish. As such, there is no way to identify troubled projects early, which compromises timely and appropriate recovery actions.
Schedule Diagnostics and Schedule Forensics
To develop and maintain a high-quality project schedule, project organisations and professionals should combine schedule diagnostics, logic, benchmarking and forensics.
- Schedule diagnostics develops a quality schedule before execution by slicing and dicing project data and using libraries of metrics to target problematic activities and areas of concern.
- Schedule logic supports dynamic project scheduling by validating relationship types, lags and leads, logic, dangling activities and analyse’s critical and near-critical paths.
- Schedule benchmarking promotes confidence by comparing schedule quality and schedule logic scores to industry standards to assess probability of delivery success.
- Schedule forensics compares changes between baselines, iterations and multiple schedules to identify project trends and additions, deletions and variances over time.
Most commercial off-the-shelf software is unable to perform complex time-phased analysis. Instead, most can only compare two schedules and provide limited analytical functions. Consequently, advanced analytic software tools are needed to analyse schedules before, during and after project execution.
Measure, Manage and Improve
The adage ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it therefore you cant improve it’ has not lost its relevance in the modern age. Schedule diagnosis and forensics provide actionable data-insights that present,
- An indication of the underlying schedule design and integrity.
- A measure of the schedule’s Serial/Parallel structure and consequence of false warning signals caused by non-critical activity bias predictions that impede forecast accuracy.
- Identification of slippage that is occurring to an activity or sequence of activities.
- Identification of critical paths, near-critical paths and/or concurrent critical paths.
- The changing nature of the project and supporting schedule over time.
- A comparison of the schedule and its trends against several industry standard metrics and benchmarks.
Select time-phased analysis views are shown below,
Several time-phased reports exist including,
- Executive Briefing: Diagnostic brief of the current time-phased analysis.
- Analyst Report: Activity details of the current time-phased analysis.
- Summary Metric Report: DCMA 14 Point drill-down analysis.
- Detailed Metric Report: DCMA 14 Point detailed analysis.
Where necessary, we provide additional charts that contain a Description, Observations and Recommendations to provide context to the study and suggested actions to take in order to mitigate any risks associated with the observations.
Our actionable data-insights provide project organisations and professionals with the transparency and information they need to determine if schedule information provided is accurate, reliable and credible for the purpose of critical decision-making.
Consequently, schedule diagnosis and forensics should form part of your overall schedule practises to evaluate your schedule before, during and after execution.
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About Ian: I have more than 20-years IT Project Portfolio experience spanning vendor, solutions integrator and customer side both for private and government organisations. I have worked for Motorola, Ericsson, Vodafone, Dimension Data and Fujitsu amongst others. I am the principal of pminsight, a boutique consultancy specialising in empowering project organisations and professionals with project data-driven insights.