Construction Scheduling. Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 5. (For Owners).

When monitoring and responding to the Contractor’s schedule performance on the project, how do you know if the schedule update is even valid for use?

When we review a schedule progress update, we need to first determine if the schedule update is a valid update. By that, I mean is the logic still complete? Have there been any revisions with this update that result in the schedule not meeting the contract requirements or best practices? It doesn’t take much to render a schedule useless….

There are most likely logic revisions, changes to lag values, or possible changes to calendars or assignments. There are also deletions and additions of activities and/or Activity Relationships. Then there are changes to quantities or Resources which may impact Activity Durations or Resource Calendars.

For this post, we will address the lack of correcting Out-of-Sequence, OOS Logic.

Personally, the first schedule “quality check” I make is for complete logic. Please see the previous post, Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 2. (For Owners).

Next, I check for changes to Relationships and Relationship Lags. Please see the previous post, Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 3. (For Owners).

I then check for changes to Activity and Relationship Calendars and Calendar assignments.

But, my personal pet peeve is OOS Logic which has not been addressed.

When the Contractor is assigning actual and expected dates to the schedule update, while assigning the current progress for work in progress, it is common and acceptable for actual work in the field to have been executed differently than planned. This results in Out-of-Sequence, OOS Logic.

Primavera P6 provides a Schedule Log with lots of information. One of the things this log provides is a list of activities with OOS Logic. This is simply a list of activities with assigned Actual Dates which are not progressed the same as the Schedule Network Logic.

For example, if activity A drives activity B with an FS Relationship and Activity A is assigned an Actual Start Date with a projected scheduled Finish Date and activity B is assigned an Actual Start Date, activity A will show up on the Schedule Log as having OOS Logic because activity A does not have an Actual Finish Date prior to activity B actually starting. This condition is simple to correct. We simply change the logic to an SS relationship. This allows the as-built relationship to match the revised logic. If activity A has not actually started and activity B is assigned an Actual Start Date, then more work must be done to correct the OOS logic. Activity A is obviously either not progressed and missing the Actual Start and Finish dates or the actual sequencing of the work is being executed differently than planned and activity A should no longer be the predecessor to activity B.

If the issue is OOS logic, it should be addressed. Leaving OOS logic in the schedule allows the now incorrect logic to drive the successor activity dates, which is incorrect. This happens when we use Retained Logic, which most schedule specifications require. It is also best to use Retained Logic to allow the planned logic to drive the schedule. We just have to correct the OOS logic with each update.

Not correcting OOS logic with each update can produce erroneous specific Network Path scheduled activity dates. This can create a Critical Path based on the original logic which is no longer valid due to the actual OOS work in the field. We want the Critical Path, and Near Critical Path(s) to be based on the most accurate progress input and plan to execute the remaining work.

Typically, correcting OOS logic for driving activities on the Critical Path will shorten the Remaining Duration of the Project Schedule. I prefer to correct the OOS Logic immediately after I assign the actual dates, expected dates, and actual progress. This way, when we need to determine the best method of recovering any lost time, we are working with a valid Schedule Network.

The same applies to Near Critical Path(s).

That said, understanding the impact of the uncorrected OOS Logic, and reporting those findings is important to the Owner. Personally, I do not consider the Schedule Update valid if the OOS Logic is not corrected. But many schedule specifications do not address this issue.

As  Planning and Schedule Professionals, we need to provide the Project Team with the “tools” they need to manage the project. The owner needs to know what the performance of the actual work in the field is, compared to the planned performance. Unless we have a valid schedule update to measure with, and against, and understand the impact of acceptable schedule revisions, we cannot provide an accurate measurement.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 4. (For Owners).

When monitoring and responding to the Contractor’s schedule performance on the project, how do you know if the schedule update is even valid for use?

When we review a schedule progress update, we need to first determine if the schedule update is a valid update. By that, I mean is the logic still complete? Have there been any revisions with this update that result in the schedule not meeting the contract requirements or best practices? It doesn’t take much to render a schedule useless….

There are most likely logic revisions, changes to lag values, or possible changes to calendars or assignments. There are also deletions and additions of activities and/or Activity Relationships. Then there are changes to quantities or Resources which may impact Activity Durations or Resource Calendars.

For this post, we will address changes to Activity or Relationship Calendars.

Personally, the first schedule “quality check” I make is for complete logic. Please see the previous post, Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 2. (For Owners).

Next, I check for changes to Relationships and Relationship Lags. Please see the previous post, Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 3. (For Owners).

I then check for changes to Activity and Relationship Calendars and Calendar assignments.

When the Contractor is making schedule revisions to recover lost time for the update period, they may decide to work a crew more than the Activity or Relationship Calendar currently allows. If the Activity is assigned to a 5 Day Workweek with Holidays and Weather Days, they may decide to work 6 days a week for a specific resource to recover lost time. To be able to do this, they need to create an additional Calendar and set the work days up accordingly. They then replace the existing Calendar with the new Calendar. This allows the same amount of work, or Work Day Duration, to be scheduled over fewer Calendar Days. This results in shortening the Calendar Day Duration of the Activity Network(s) which contain the affected Activities.

This is the kind of schedule revision the Owner must be aware of and understand. It can be checked for in Primavera P6.

What Primavera P6 is not good at checking are changes to the work days in an existing Activity or Resource Calendar. As long as the Calendar Name does not change, P6 does not report it.

Most of us use third-party software designed to identify changes to Calendars. That’s great, but we still need to understand the impact of the changes identified.

Changes to Calendars and the Work Days in a specific Calendar do not make the schedule invalid for use. But, the owner needs to know what changes were made and what effect the changes have on the affected Logic Path(s).

That said, finding the changes to any Calendars, understanding the impact of the changes found, and reporting those findings is important to the Owner.

As  Planning and Schedule Professionals, we need to provide the Project Team with the “tools” they need to manage the project. The owner needs to know what the performance of the actual work in the field is, compared to the planned performance. Unless we have a valid schedule update to measure with, and against, and understand the impact of acceptable schedule revisions, we cannot provide an accurate measurement.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 3. (For Owners).

When monitoring and responding to the Contractor’s schedule performance on the project, how do you know if the schedule update is even valid for use?

When we review a schedule progress update, we need to first determine if the schedule update is a valid update. By that, I mean is the logic still complete? Have there been any revisions with this update that result in the schedule not meeting the contract requirements or best practices? It doesn’t take much to render a schedule useless….

There are most likely logic revisions, changes to lag values, or possible changes to calendars or assignments. There are also deletions and additions of activities and/or Activity Relationships. Then there are changes to quantities or Resources which may impact Activity Durations or Resource Calendars.

For this post, we will address changes to Relationship Lags.

Personally, the first schedule “quality check” I make is for complete logic. Please see the previous post, Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 2. (For Owners).

One of the things that are really hard to check, using Primavera P6, is changes to Activity Relationship Lags.

Often, when the Contractor is making schedule revisions to recover lost time for the update period, they make subtle changes to logic. They also make changes to the Relationship Lag values assigned to specific Activity Relationships. If they have modeled the sequence of work using SS Relationships with Lags, they may reduce the Lag value for an activity, driven by the Activity Relationship with the Lag, to gain a day or so. If there is an FS Relationship with a Lag, they may reduce that lag value as well.

They can also change the Relationship Lag’s effect by changing the Activity Calendar of the Activity selected to determine the Relationship Lag’s behavior.

None of this is easy to check in Primavera P6 and is not readily transparent in a Gantt Chart.

Most of us use third-party software designed to identify changes to Relationships and Relationship Lags. That’s great, but we still need to understand the impact of the changes identified.

Changes to Relationship Lag values does not make the schedule invalid for use. But, the owner needs to know what changes were made and what effect the changes have on the affected Logic Path. Some specifications prohibit the use of Relationship Lags. Many specifications allow limited use and do not allow the use of negative Lags at all. I prefer to minimize the use of Lags and do not like to use Negative Lags. There are conditions which warrant the use of a Negative Lag, but the condition has to be monitored and other options for modeling the work sequence should be exhausted.

That said, finding the changes to Relationship Lags, understanding the impact of the changes found, and reporting those findings is important to the Owner.

As  Planning and Schedule Professionals, we need to provide the Project Team with the “tools” they need to manage the project. The owner needs to know what the performance of the actual work in the field is, compared to the planned performance. Unless we have a valid schedule update to measure with, and against, and understand the impact of acceptable schedule revisions, we cannot provide an accurate measurement.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Schedule Performance Measurement, Part 1. (For Owners).

Are you responsible for monitoring and responding to the Contractor’s schedule performance on the project?

Do you review each schedule update and compare dates in the new update with the dates in the baseline schedule?

Do you compare the Milestone Activity dates to the baseline schedule?

There are many different methods of analyzing project schedule performance.

When we review a schedule progress update, we need to first determine if the schedule update is a valid update. By that, I mean is the logic still complete? Have there been any revisions with this update that result in the schedule not meeting the contract requirements or best practices? It doesn’t take much to render a schedule useless….

There are most likely logic revisions, changes to lag values, or possible changes to calendars or calendar assignments. There are also deletions and additions of activities and/or Activity Relationships. Then there are changes to quantities or Resources which may impact Activity Durations or Resource Calendars, depending on the schedule settings selected.

This should all be addressed in a manner that conveys the actual revisions with the reasons for the revisions as part of the schedule update narrative the Contractor submits with the schedule update. Unfortunately, this is rare. Typically, we see the “digger” report with a general comment addressing the high-level view of the update.

Not really helpful for our use.

So, we plow ahead with the intent to complete our review of the schedule update for this period.

First, we need to complete several “quality checks” of the schedule to validate it for use.

In my next post, I will walk through some of the more common items we check for.

Until then, be suspect of schedule updates without, or with vague schedule update narratives. There is much that can be changed in the program, that will not be transparent to the owner without a thorough review and analysis of the file by an experienced schedule professional.

As  Planning and Schedule Professionals, we need to provide the Project Team with the “tools” they need to manage the project. The owner needs to know what the performance of the actual work in the field is, compared to the planned performance. Unless we have a valid schedule update to measure with, and against, and understand the impact of acceptable schedule revisions, we cannot provide any accurate performance measurement.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. “All the Other Work” Progress Update Information for Owners.

As a continuation of my previous posts, I will continue to discuss some of the important progress update items we review and analyze.

I will now discuss the process of analyzing the actual performance of work NOT on the Critical and Near Critical Path(s).

When the contractor adds the actual Start and Finish Date and expected Finish Date data to the schedule update, the new scheduled completion date if most often not what any of us want. Usually, there has been slippage in work progress in an area that must be addressed.

This is most often caused by a lack of adequate progress for work on the Critical Path and/or the Near Critical Path(s).

However, we must not forget to monitor and address non-performance for work not on the Critical Path or Near Critical Path(s).

One of the reasons we work to make the schedule logic as complete and defined as possible is to allow the planned sequencing of finite work activities to drive the schedule. This provides a dynamic logic network for the planning and control of the project.

The result of all the work breakdown, resource allocation, and logic assignments produces multiple network “paths” through the schedule. The paths we’re always looking for is the Critical Path, and then the Near Critical Path(s). These are determined by the scheduling algorithm and have Total Float values based on this calculation.

But what about the “other” activities that are not Critical or Near Critical? They have higher Total Float values, so they can be done anytime as long as we don’t let them get Critical, right?

That is not a good idea. I believe it is best to complete the work, when you can; efficiently, of course. Letting the work push out because it is not “Critical” or has “Float” only sets the project up for failure.

If you’re cost or unit loading the schedule, you typically produce a Baseline Curve of some sort to plot the resource or cost spread over time. This curve is comprised of all the activities. Letting work slip pushes the curve and the required cost and resources out and this can quickly overwhelm the availability of resources to complete the work when it “stacks” up. Unfortunately, this is all too common.

Many Superintendents push their work everywhere, all the time, and for good reason. They learned early on that letting work slip will come back to haunt them.

The owner needs to monitor for work slippage. The project can easily show an on-time completion with the Critical Path looking very pretty. But, they should also be concerned with the Schedule Performance Indicator. This will show if work is pushing out because the projected curve will push out. Of course, we have to balance the work, so we maintain the curve and the Critical Path to achieve on-time completion, in the most cost-effective manner. This is another item the Owner’s scheduler should be analyzing and reporting on. We can list activities which did not start as planned, did not finish as planned or could have started but did not. We can also list activities which have started but made little or no progress. While there are going to be valid reasons for some work not starting, finishing or progressing as planned, the reasons should all be explained in the schedule update narrative provided by the contractor. They know the reasons and can best explain them. If they do not provide this information, the project team really needs to investigate and determine what is driving the slippage. It is much better to tackle this kind of problem early. It is rare that a project can recover if slippage continues very long at all.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Critical and Near Critical Progress Update Information for Owners.

As a continuation of my previous posts, I will continue to discuss some of the important progress update items we review and analyze.

I will now discuss the process of analyzing the actual performance of work on the Critical and Near Critical Path(s).

When the contractor adds the actual Start and Finish Date and expected Finish Date data to the schedule update, the new scheduled completion date if most often not what any of us want. Usually, there has been slippage in work progress in an area that must be addressed.

This is most often caused by a lack of adequate progress for work on the Critical Path and/or the Near Critical Path(s).

Quite simply, the planned productivity for the work scheduled is not achieved.

To analyze this, we compare the previous period update Critical Path work to the actual progress reported in the current period update schedule. We simply compare Original Duration and scheduled dates to the actuals. This tells us where the slippage occurred. It does not explain the why. This should be included in the schedule update narrative the contractor provides.

We do the same for the Near Critical Path(s).

Why do we do this?.

The contractor typically knows what is driving the project and what measures need to be taken to correct work slippage. The owner usually does not have this intimate knowledge of the background operations of the contractor. However, the owner is entitled to know as much as possible about the actual and planned performance of the project. They need that information to make internal business decisions which may impact the project, such as potential change orders and work integration by others, or to react to deviations from the planned contract milestone dates.

More importantly, to me anyway, the owner is always in a position to help the contractor and I’ve met very few owners who would not do so if they understand the problem and are in a position to do so.

Once we identify and quantify the lack of progress, we can determine the root cause and identify a trend, if one is developing. We cannot do this if we simply look at another Gantt Chart pdf and look at the scheduled finish date for the project.

The owner needs to understand what work is slipping and why and this should be discussed with all parties to find a solution to keep the project safe. But this does not happen if the owner is not fully informed of progress slippage for Critical and Near-Critical work.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Network Logic Progress Update Information for Owners.

As a continuation of my previous posts, I will continue to discuss some of the important progress update items we review and analyze.

I will now discuss the process of verifying the network logic is complete.

When the contractor adds the actual Start and Finish Date and expected Finish Date data to the schedule update, the new scheduled completion date if most often not what any of us want. Usually, there has been slippage in work progress in an area that must be addressed.

The contractor will investigate and add resources or increase hours for that work or re-sequence the work in the most cost-effective manner possible to recover any lost time. The contractor is usually required to convey that plan to you with the schedule update narrative. However, this is seldom the complete picture…..

Quite simply, when there are logic changes made, it is easy to create missing logic such as an activity with one successor with only a Start-to-Start, SS relationship. This leaves this logic open as the finish of the activity does not drive the start or finish of any other work.

Reverse logic can also be inadvertently created. This is when an activity has only a predecessor with a Finish-to-Finish, FF relationship and a successor with an SS relationship. With this condition, any increase in duration of this activity will actually pull the successor back in time. Not realistic…

Those are a couple of the basic items we look at.

It is simple enough to “recover” time on the update by shortening a duration here or there and perhaps changing some Finish-to-Start, FS logic to Start-to-Start, SS logic. If the contractor can actually commit to the production necessary to achieve the shorter duration, great. If the work can actually be completed with the new logic, that’s good too.

The means and methods of how the contract plans to execute the project is really only of concern to us if it is blatantly clear it is not achievable. This is only my humble opinion. We won’t delve into construction contract law in my posts. I’m not qualified.

However, the schedule specifications and schedule best practices have been developed to provide a means of maintaining a valid schedule. We can argue means and methods of the execution, but the requirements for the schedule provide us with the tools to manage the schedule update process correctly and keep a valid schedule in place each period for managing the work and potential delays and changes.

That said, we run filters and programs that provide us with the list of items changed between schedules. This lets us know what changed, but not necessarily why. This is why the schedule update narrative is important. It is the contractor’s tool to convey this information to the owner.

If we find several relationship changes to activities which were on the previous period schedule update Critical Path for Near Critical Path(s), we need to know why these logic revisions where made. Was it to better sequence the work based on input from the subcontractor’s performing the work? Is it an attempt to shift the Critical Path? Is it masking a lack of performance for work on the Critical Path? Same holds true for the Near Critical Path(s).

Often times, the contractor is able to better plan the work immediately in front of them. This involves minor revisions to the logic and/or durations. Any changes to these items and other items such as calendars and resources should be included in the schedule update narrative and explained.

It’s easy to spot the poor performance trend when you have an Owner’s scheduler review each update period. This provides an early flag for the owner and the contractor, so the necessary actions can be taken to recover sooner rather than later……

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. General Progress Update Information for Owners.

When we develop the Baseline CPM Schedule for a construction project, we know we will need to use the Baseline CPM Schedule to measure performance during project execution. With this in mind, we work with the contractor to help get an acceptable Baseline CPM Schedule for the project. That’s usually a tough task, many contractors don’t believe it necessary or simply do not want to follow parts of the schedule specifications or best practice for schedule development. But, we usually end up with a schedule we can use to track progress and manage the work and changes.

I often see problems on projects once we start getting schedule updates from the contractor. Some owners believe the Original Baseline CPM Schedule is the most important schedule we measure against. This is partly true, we do need to reference the original plan as we go. But, after the first couple of progress updates, the remaining plan to execute the project has changed. Sometimes there have been major change orders, delays or resequencing of work. When this happens, we need to revise the Baseline CPM Schedule. Most of us understand the need to re-Baseline.

What I find many do not understand is how important it is to keep the progress updates valid. The owner really needs to be able to validate Actual Start and Finish dates in addition to agreeing with the partial progress reported for work in progress. These three items determine the as-built schedule condition and establish the plan to continue with project execution.

That is what the owner can see in the Gantt Chart pdf.

What about what goes on behind the scenes when the contractor is applying the update data? Who is watching to see if logic is changed? If calendars are adjusted? If resources are revised?

There are many things the owner cannot verify or validate that absolutely need to be confirmed. This is where the Owner’s review and oversight of the scheduling process come in to play.

With each progress update submitted by the contractor, we look at several areas to ensure the schedule integrity is maintained.

First, we simply make sure the network logic is still complete. This also includes verifying there are not any open ends such as a Start-to-Start, SS successor relationship which leaves the finish of an activity open. We run diagnostics to uncover what logic, durations, calendars, and activity additions/deletions have been revised and analyze this data to understand what the changes actually do to the schedule. We need to determine if the contractor’s revisions of a few relationships from Finish-to-Start, FS to SS shortens a network path enough to shift the Critical Path. It may be unintentional, but we must still review and validate. Sometimes these relationship revisions are done to correct Out-of-Sequence, OOS logic, sometimes it is done to recover lost time and bring the schedule completion back.

We look for calendar changes which often affect Total Float and the Network Path. We look at changes to durations and flag lack of progress for activities not projecting to complete as planned. This needs to be investigated to determine the causation. We verify Out-of-Sequence Logic has been corrected to keep invalid relationships from driving remaining logic and dates.

We analyze the actual progress of the project as a whole and also look at the Critical Path work performance as well as Near Critical Path(s) work performance. Doing work on the Critical Path is important. Doing work on the Near Critical Path(s) is also important. However, if work not yet Near Critical is not executed aggressively, the result in the stacking of work adds unachievable resource demand to the remaining scheduled work. This often drives the search for the “miracle” towards the end of the project….

We have to monitor all this, and you really can’t get that kind of insight from the Gantt Chart pdf.

We have to validate the progress update schedule. After all, the revisions to pull back the schedule and make minor sequencing changes have obviously resulted in logic or other changes. We need to verify that the schedule still meets the schedule specifications and best practices. Each progress update becomes the basis for any time impacts for the next performance period. The schedule update has to be valid.

I will elaborate more on how we accomplish many of these tasks in future posts.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Progress Updates and Incomplete Work.

When we update Actual Progress for the Schedule update, how do we report the incomplete activities? How do we report the progress for the work, (activities) currently in progress?

We know how to report the completed work.

More often than not, there are many activities which may have Actual Start Dates in the previous Update Period. There are also activities which will have Actual Start Dates and Finish Dates in this Progress Update. There will also be activities which will not have Actual Finish Dates. The way we report the Actual Progress for these activities is crucial to maintaining the schedule validity.

The Project Team has to decide just how much of the “work” represented by the activity is complete. What percentage of the work is complete…. This should be a measure of quantity completed.

Too often, we see the Duration Percent Complete set as the Progress Percent Complete. This is not the best method of reporting the Actual Progress.

If the Duration Percent Complete is used to report the Actual Progress, the schedule is not going to be valid. Setting the Duration Percent Complete to a specific value results in the program calculating the Remaining Duration. This, in turn, establishes the scheduled Finish Date for that activity. This is the problem. The scheduled Finish Date for an incomplete activity should be set by the Project Team as the date they expect the work for that activity to actually finish. Unless this scheduled Finish Date is used, and the successor activities driven by the remaining duration and logic for the network string are allowed to calculate the new scheduled dates, the schedule is not valid.

Using Duration Percent Complete does not, in most cases, represent the actual schedule progress and accurately model the remaining plan to execute the project.

A better method to report Actual Progress is the use of Physical Percent Complete. This value is based on the actual work in place. The Duration Percent Complete should be the result of setting the scheduled Finish Date or Remaining Duration based on Project Team input. This allows us to have the value of work in place and the value of the time used to complete this work in place. We can then easily see if we are meeting the required productivity rate for this work activity.

The next step, after entering all the Actual Dates and Scheduled Finish Dates, (or adjusting Remaining Durations for in-progress work), is to “schedule” or calculate the project schedule. We should then look at the Out-of-Sequence, OOS logic and make corrections.

I believe in correcting all the OOS logic each update. Many do not consider this necessary and others consider it only necessary for activities on the Critical or Near Critical Paths. Some Schedule Specifications or Requirements address this issue, but most do not. I consider it a best practice for keeping the schedule valid for the as-built progress and do not like the idea of the OOS logic driving future dates and logic, which can happen.

Using the Physical Percent Complete for reporting Actual Work in Place, letting the Duration Percent Compete report the actual Activity Duration consumed, and correcting the OOS logic is the first part of the Progress Update process.

This allows us to maintain the schedule as a valid tool for planning the remaining work from the Data Date forward. If the Progress Update results in a late Finish Date for the project, then we have some work to do. This is, more often than not, the case. We can make adjustments to the plan to complete the remaining work through Schedule Revisions. This issue is a subject for another post.

It is my opinion that the best thing the Project Team can do is establish the most realistic Progress Update possible, each Update Period. If we don’t know where the project actually is, how can we drive the project to a successful completion? If the Progress Update is not valid, the Critical Path and Near Critical Path(s) are most likely not valid. How then, can a Project Team manage the Critical work? How can the Project Team identify and address work which is actually lagging?

We should, as Schedule Professionals, provide the “reality” of the project performance.

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 Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

Construction Scheduling. Schedule Progress Updates and the PM.

The Project Manager is responsible for many deliverables and processes for the project.

Scope, cost, communication, time, and quality.

Part of managing the cost and time is the coordination of work and subsequent reporting of work completed.

Many projects base the periodic invoicing on the percentage of work completed for that period. Others use Milestones for payments. There are other methods as well. For this post, we will work with the percentage of work based on the progress completed for each activity.

Correct updating and reporting of the schedule progress is a large part of the process. And invoicing is a big deal!

How does the PM report on the work completed? Should they use the percentage of time used for the activity? Should they use the percentage of actual cost expended? Should they use the percentage of work in place?

Depending on the contract type, there are options. Personally, I prefer to base the invoicing on the percentage of physical work in place. After all, why would an owner pay for your time or actual expenses, unless the work is T&M?

To update the progress based on physical work in place, you simply manually assign the physical percent complete for work in progress and set the scheduled finish date based on the planned remaining duration or finish date. It is that simple. The cost can be calculated in the software program or in a spreadsheet.

One of the useful things about using physical percent complete and letting the remaining duration or scheduled finish determine the duration percent complete is the variance between percent complete this creates.

If you have completed 50% of the work and the remaining duration or scheduled finish date results in a duration percent complete of 70%, it is obviously taking longer to complete this work than planned.

Perhaps this indicates a learning curve for this work. Perhaps there was a delay in material delivery once the activity started. There could be many reasons. But, the PM should know the reason and they cannot know to find out if they do not have an indicator that there is a problem.

Many people just assign the percent complete as duration percent complete and let the program assign the scheduled finish date based on the original duration and remaining duration values. This is a problem for several reasons. First, this method models the time used and remaining, not the work in place. Second, the scheduled finish date is based on the assumption that the productivity rate is as planned. Seldom is this correct. Finally, letting the duration percent complete value calculate the scheduled finish date does not model the remaining work for the project accurately. Basing an invoice on this method will result in inaccurate invoices for work in place and a schedule that is not valid for the remaining work. It’s a good practice to be accurate in these areas.

Although it is not often used in the typical layouts I see, displaying the “At Completion Duration” column in the layout also provides a quick flag for activities that are exceeding the original duration. Most layouts display the “Original Duration” and the “Remaining Duration” columns. But this doesn’t really alert the PM to a potential problem with activity progress and productivity.

I’m a big supporter of using physical percent complete for work in place and setting the scheduled finish date for work in progress by revising the remaining duration value or setting the date based on field input. I also like to display the “At Completion Duration” column in my layouts. I think providing the Project Manager with as many tools as we can to help them make intelligent decisions for managing the work is our primary function.

I’d love to hear what you think!

Please visit https://conschmanservices.com to learn more about Construction and Schedule Management Services, LLC

Please visit my LinkedIn account to learn more about me.

Please visit my “The Blue Book” ProView.

Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP