Compounding on the earlier topic about why Project Managers don’t review updated construction schedule, I will like to share with you guys ways which you can review the updated schedule effectively in managing your project.
A level 3 updated construction schedule is a very detailed schedule comprising of thousands of activities. Unless you have Primavera P6 /MS Project reader to open the native file and know how to filter the activities, it is very difficult to read and understand the project schedule. However, does it mean that without the native reader for Primavera P6 or MS Project, you cannot review the schedule? Absolutely not.
One way is to request the project planner to filter the activities in various specific layouts and save schedules in PDF format for review or you can get the project planner to filter the activities and review in front of you and your project team.
Let’s go into the various filter layouts when reviewing the schedule.
Check progress percentages and corresponding start and finish dates
Before diving into Critical Path Analysis to see which are the critical activities leading to the various completion milestones, it is important to ascertain that the progress updates (Actual Start, Actual Finish Dates, progress percentages ) are correctly input. There is a saying
“Garbage in, Garbage out”.
If the update is incorrect, any analysis is meaningless. The forecast finish date of each activity is calculated by the scheduling software as follows:
| Remaining Duration = Remaining percentage x Original Duration |
Expected Finish = Scheduled Data Date + Remaining Duration
To check if the progress percentages of these ongoing activities are correctly updated, all these activities should be filtered. In this layout, a column showing the previous corresponding percentage update will be useful for comparing the current progress against the previous update.
It is definitely helpful that activities are being validated against the daily site reports.
It is important that the percentage of the activities are captured correctly in each update so that:
1) The updated schedule correctly reflects the status of the project
2) The updated schedule is the basis for Time Impact Analysis during EOT evaluation
Check the programme logic for 4 weeks look ahead
Next to be examine is the 4 weeks look ahead activities. The project team should check the 4 weeks look ahead activities are still valid, considering the site condition.
However, activities that ought to take place within the next 4 weeks may be missing from the “4 weeks look ahead “window. There are 3 possibilities for this. Firstly, the “missing” activities are not in the schedule at all as it has been overlooked during the baseline submission. Secondly, there are errors in the upstream programme logic of these missing activities such that it pushes these activities out of the 4 weeks window. Thirdly, the “Retain Logic” Option is being selected for scheduling. When the actual sequence of activities are not in the same order as originally planned, the “Retained Logic” will push the downstream activities which should have taken place in the next 4 weeks window beyond.
There are some controversies in the scheduling community on whether the
Different organisations have different practices in allowing changes in programme logics and in the choice of scheduling options. May I hear your views here on the pro and cons of the various practices?
Arrange the activities by Total Floats
Critical path is the longest path of the project and hence determines the completion date of the project. To see the critical path, the activities shall be grouped by total floats. Activities with the biggest negative floats shall be reviewed first to identify the most critical activities. From these critical activities, the cause of delay shall be examined and catching up measures can be discussed.
Also do note those with excessive total floats. It can also mean that these activities are not properly linked or not linked at all.
In summary, a properly updated project schedule can be very useful tool for the project manager to ascertain the project status, identify bottlenecks and brainstorm for solutions.