Scheduling is an iterative process that begins in the planning stage of a project and carries on throughout the monitoring and controlling project phases. Schedules are project specific, built from scratch, derived from the scope baseline and project information, and thoroughly managed over the course of the project. Scheduling process can be summarized as follows:
- Plan schedule management
- Activities definition
- Sequencing work
- Resource estimation
- Duration estimation
- Schedule development
- Control schedule
Each process occurs in logical order, culminating in the development of the schedule. The process involves inputs from scope development, estimating, risk, resource information, group decision making, and expert judgement. All of which require several iterations prior to refining the plan using scheduling techniques and best practices.
One of the primary jobs of a project manager is to ascertain if a project is achievable, push back, and create options to make it happen, all before project execution starts. In order for project success the work must be controlled to meet the plan. Control involves measurement of how the project is performing compared to the plan. Control efforts go beyond measurement and involve taking corrective and preventive action constantly during the life of the project to keep the project in line with the plan. Without this effort all the work in planning to create a realistic schedule could be a waste.
When variations occur, depending on the circumstances, several project recovery techniques such as fast tracking, crashing, schedule compression, scope reduction, resource optimization, and quality adjustments are available to get the project back on track. The impacts to the project must be analyzed in order to identify which option is best. To make the best choice requires risk analysis and then re-estimation. Once it is determined that the schedule or budget must be reduced, activity estimates with the most unknowns are investigated for risk reduction. By elimination of risks in the risk management process in turn reduces estimates. This process clarifies the significance of project controls which covers the key aspects of project time management and cost management.
Why schedule construction projects?
A project will be considered a failure if the approved schedule baseline, adjusted for approved changes, is not met. Project success involves proactive schedule control, which is more than just issuing updated schedules. It requires constantly being on the lookout for anything that might be affecting the schedule.
Controlling schedules involves tools and techniques for controlling the schedule which include process such as review of current performance data, re-estimating remaining work to complete, conducting performance reviews, trend analysis, and variance analysis, performing what-if scenario analysis, schedule adjustments, resource optimization, forecasting, identification, implementation and tracking of corrective and preventive actions. Greater project insight occurs as the project progresses and disciplined control of the project is deployed to control the schedule. The benefit from effective scheduling and schedule management is achieved by tweaking the plan to control the schedule for project success in accordance with the approved schedule baseline.
Third-party project control experts play a key role when an independent and objective view of a project is required.
How we can help
Specialty Plant Services is a well-known project controls company in Canada where we provide scheduling, cost management, progress measurement, information modeling, and estimating services on important construction projects. Visit our site to learn more about our services and explore realistic scheduling solutions, cutting-edge project control methods, and innovative software technology which helps us coordinate project scheduling.