Can the use of CPM scheduling help smaller general contractors better manage their projects?
Technology has definitely changed the way we manage projects. There is more information to be managed than ever before. Part of a Project Manager’s job is the daily management of all the information. This work cuts into the time available for the development and management of the project schedule. Developing and managing a project schedule is a big undertaking. Most PM’s do not have specialized training and expertise in schedule theory and are not proficient in the specialized scheduling software operation. If a simple Gantt Chart is all that’s required, they can make do utilizing MS Project. This is how we have been managing work for many years.
If the contractors use a CPM schedule, with fully developed logic and the appropriate level of detail, they could use the schedule as a management tool and see problems and potential delays during the periodic updating. This would allow them to react and plan much more efficiently. The cost savings would be well worth the effort. But it takes a considerable amount of effort to develop and manage a valid CPM schedule.
This is when a planning and schedule professional, (Professional CPM Consultant) is handy.
Contractors could also use the project schedule to manage change orders and delay impacts. A project schedule is also a great tool for managing the various trades for the project.
Using activity coding to filter the project schedule by trade or responsibility allows the project team to review a trades work sequence in detail and identify potential resource shortages. Filtering the project schedule by area allows the project team to identify specific areas which may be overcrowded with different trades.
There are many benefits to using a CPM schedule to manage the work for a project. Using a simple Gantt or bar chart is fine for very simple projects, but the benefits of a detailed CPM schedule are well worth the effort for projects of any size or complexity.
The small contractor would have to invest in the training to teach their PM’s about basic best practices such as breaking the SOW down into a useful WBS; then further breaking the work down into detailed activities which support he WBS deliverables. Then there are calendars, logic best practice, and the proper use of constraints…..
The smaller projects and contractors can definitely benefit from using a fully developed CPM schedule. The challenge is finding the time to train the PM and project team in the correct development and management of a CPM schedule.
I’m sure many of you have comments or additional insight into this subject. Please share!
I’d love to hear what you think!
Please visit https://conschmanservices.com to learn more about basic schedule concepts.
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Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP