Project scheduling is crucial in project management and is one of the most effective techniques in planning and monitoring each phase of the construction project. Project scheduling is widely used and there are plenty of best practices to follow to ensure a project’s success, but let’s take a look at the CPM scheduling worst practices and how to fix them.
5. No Organization
The organizational structure of a schedule is important for one to be able to digest the schedule and it is also important for understanding the trade flow of the job - area to area, trade to trade. Without the organizational structure, the schedule looks like chaos - and managing with a chaotic schedule will create chaos on the site.
4. Constraint Driven
All too often people start entire series of activities with a constraint. This means that the scheduler is picking a date in time when an activity and/or series of activities is supposed to start with no predecessors to the activities that is driving (determining) its start date – rather an educated guess predetermined by the person who created the schedule . This is typically not realistic because a) Activities and tasks are always dependent on something else, and b) Dates in the future are generally difficult to predict. That being said, constraints are understandable once and a while, however, when you reach the point where 2-3% of the activities are driven by constraints, you start to have a problem.
3. Finish Constraints Are in the Schedule in Multiple Places
This might come as a shock to people, but putting in multiple finish constraints on multiple completion milestones is not the way to go. While it seems reasonable to think that if there are multiple milestones to be achieved, and one must know where they stand in relation to those, the criticality of the schedule becomes so overbearing that everyone can lose sight of the true critical path. People in construction start to look for red and then the lowest negative float number and then make assumption that it must be the “critical path”, and are usually wrong. This results in mismanagement, and yes you guessed it, unforeseen delays.
2. Durations are Based on a Best Case Scenario
There are a lot of uncertainties that are involved in the construction process, bringing forth risks due to unforeseen events. A schedule that has not contemplated risk on most, if not all activities, is a schedule destined to become delayed. Things rarely ever go as planned in construction, so it seems, and thus all activities need to reflect that reality. A schedule contractually bound to a date based on best case scenario are destined to result in additional requests for time and money.
1. Missing Logic
Generally speaking, it is very easy to miss logic in a schedule, and I deem this as the silent killer in construction. Missing logic will result in delays not causing a true reaction to the rest of the schedule, and thus often going undetected. Missing logic usually results in an erroneous critical path. We all know what happens when a PM team is managing to an incorrect critical path.
Better to Be Safe, Than Sorry (Especially in Construction)
You can never be too safe when it comes to planning and scheduling for construction projects. During both the scheduling and planning phases, you should add as many contingencies as possible so that you can ensure that if you face an issue during the project, you have a backup plan to overcome the problem or to avoid the entire mishap all together. Always include contingency in the timeline of the project whenever possible during the CPM scheduling.
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