Project Management

Use of Productivity Analysis in Construction Projects

Dipak N. Digwal

While working on some of the biggest and most complicated construction projects, I came across project schedules with thousands of activities and long overall durations. These schedules had numerous individual activities with long durations, which made tracking their progress a rather difficult task. The usual practice of updating these activities monthly on a percentage basis provided too little information to track progress and address issues in a timely manner.

The use of productivity analysis in such situations helped greatly by (1) providing insight into how scope represented by an activity or a group of activities will be accomplished; (2) providing a superior tracking mechanism, which not only gave the schedule gains or losses, but their reasons; and, (3) based on the current situation, gave a projected expected completion date. Based on this information, various cost and time-related decisions could be made at various stages of an activity. The purpose of this article is to educate readers about these techniques so they can be used wherever applicable to micromanage projects.

Construction project schedules with long life cycles can often get complicated, with thousands of activities spanning over several years. Most long projects tend to have lots of monotonous activities with long durations (e.g., rock excavation for a long period before foundations …

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