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Topics: Construction, Earned Value Management, Scheduling
Opinions of Planning/Scheduling as a Discipline
Network:25

Hi All, Just trying to gather opinions on Planning and scheduling in Construction Projects and how effective it is for Project Managers?
For example, does the schedule drive works, or changed as work changes?

 Is the plan used as a progress reporting tool only. Do the planners identify changes and proactively update and changes schedules, or rely on project managers. Do planners have any authority to decide on progress or what work is taking place?  Are the planners site based with the ability to verify progress, or rely on reports and verbal updates.

There is much theory on planning, but my feelings are most times project scheduling is perhaps requested by the client,  but in reality is not used to actually manage the project.  Often Planning tools are used in isolation with no connection cost or estimating data, logic and durations are changed if a project is running late.

Basically there is gap between the theory of planning and its actual application the real world.  I may be completely wrong, just my experience working in planning and scheduling.
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Network:1673



Mark -

A lot depends on the level of detail in the schedule or other plan documents and how the plans were built. If they are created without involving the leads responsible for each work stream or if the detail is too much for the level of available information (i.e. overplanning) then those plans are likely to be ignored.

Kiron
Network:948



Mark,
Let me try and answer some of your queries here.
planning/Scheduling is very effective in PM perspective, if the schedules are built with necessary quality checks in place. Schedule should drive works and viceversa.

Depends a lot on the skills of planners and PMs. Progress should be reported by responsible engineering/construction resource (person who is carrying out the work), and planner updates the tool (P6 or MSP etc) with the progress updates. A competent planner should be able to verify progress on site.

Depending on the PM maturity of the organisation (Client / Contractor/ Consultant), the level of maturity of planning/scheduling depends as well.
-Manoj
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1 reply by Mark Kane
Oct 23, 2019 3:21 PM
Mark Kane
...
Manjo, As you say much of it depends on the maturity of the organization, wether they have processes, procedures, quality checks on schedules, if planning is audited to ensure the accuracy of estimates, and estimating on past works, risk assessed tasks, understanding of Planning by project managers.

However, it's often the case that schedulers are often not located where the work is taking place, they are not often domain experts in their field, they may only be good at using planning tools and spreadsheets.

For example an organisation has little or limited processes, or real commitment to planning but employ planners, producing something that looks like a plan, but in fact it does not reflect reality, it's just a weekly gantt chart showing planned activities, but in reality there is unplanned works, changes in method, resources being diverted, estimates that just wrong.

For example if a duration is changed on a plan, or logic altered slighly, who knows its been done is the data linked to anything?

Just seems with the use of BIM, smart phones, linked systems there is progress but the majority of planners still use standalone planning tools, perhaps updating it once a week.
Network:264



"Back in the good old days, everybody filled in a time sheet. And before projects started, the project leader would tell you "This project's going to take 200 hours." And you'd look at the timesheet, and when it got to 200 hours, you'd know that the project was half way done."
- Dave Thomas

I've always liked that quote.

As a community of project managers, I think we have to agree that planning and schedules are important. It's a big reason our profession exists at all. Customers and stakeholders make major decisions based (in part) on when projects can be completed. If we're not managing our project schedules (meaning we track progress and adjust as needed), and we're not using the schedule to help manage our projects, then what are we doing?

Perhaps that's just my experience. I've been assigned to projects where I didn't manage the budget (someone else was assigned that responsibility), but I've never managed a project without owning the project schedule.

I'm not saying that project plans are perfect. They never are. But they're not meaningless.
Network:96



Project management should be about planning. Far too many projects with weak schedules. Why are so many projects plagued with cost and schedule overruns? My guess is poor planning, poor scheduling, and schedules that are not probabilistic?
My question is; how many of you have used or use probabilistic analysis for costing and scheduling?
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1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Oct 24, 2019 12:54 PM
Stéphane Parent
...
As long as project management is not only about planning. Too many times the project planning artefacts just become shelfware.

You can manage your project using the schedule if you the team members are reporting time and progress at the schedule activity level. My current project, for example, does not use time sheets. As a result, I have to manage by milestones.
Network:2168



Dear Mark
Nowadays, in the construction projects that I am aware of, there is no figure of the planner and the project manager.
It is the responsibility of the project manager to carry out, preferably together with some project management team members, their planning
The plan has to be updated as work progresses.
In many works EVM is used to measure project performance and progress compared to planned
Network:25

Oct 23, 2019 12:58 PM
Replying to Manoj Mathew
...
Mark,
Let me try and answer some of your queries here.
planning/Scheduling is very effective in PM perspective, if the schedules are built with necessary quality checks in place. Schedule should drive works and viceversa.

Depends a lot on the skills of planners and PMs. Progress should be reported by responsible engineering/construction resource (person who is carrying out the work), and planner updates the tool (P6 or MSP etc) with the progress updates. A competent planner should be able to verify progress on site.

Depending on the PM maturity of the organisation (Client / Contractor/ Consultant), the level of maturity of planning/scheduling depends as well.
-Manoj
Manjo, As you say much of it depends on the maturity of the organization, wether they have processes, procedures, quality checks on schedules, if planning is audited to ensure the accuracy of estimates, and estimating on past works, risk assessed tasks, understanding of Planning by project managers.

However, it's often the case that schedulers are often not located where the work is taking place, they are not often domain experts in their field, they may only be good at using planning tools and spreadsheets.

For example an organisation has little or limited processes, or real commitment to planning but employ planners, producing something that looks like a plan, but in fact it does not reflect reality, it's just a weekly gantt chart showing planned activities, but in reality there is unplanned works, changes in method, resources being diverted, estimates that just wrong.

For example if a duration is changed on a plan, or logic altered slighly, who knows its been done is the data linked to anything?

Just seems with the use of BIM, smart phones, linked systems there is progress but the majority of planners still use standalone planning tools, perhaps updating it once a week.
Network:1921



@Mark, what some people do not understand is they are always planning or performing project management. What varies is the degree of formality. So, when you talk with people that works in construction you will find that they have a plan and they have on their heads the trigger about each delay is a cost and they estimate the cost when a delay happend. The point is most of the time they have not a "paper" with that which is not the same regarding things like construction plans or blueprints. On the other side, it depends on the degree of risk and level of the project. I worked as project manager of construction projects like nuclear plan or malls and the related documention were there and it were updated. Mainly when extra money or initial budged must to be requested. At the end, is the same in all type of domains: is up to the project manager or the name you like to assign to create and mantain the documentation and the way to do that.
Network:106496



Oct 23, 2019 2:12 PM
Replying to Steve Ratkaj
...
Project management should be about planning. Far too many projects with weak schedules. Why are so many projects plagued with cost and schedule overruns? My guess is poor planning, poor scheduling, and schedules that are not probabilistic?
My question is; how many of you have used or use probabilistic analysis for costing and scheduling?
As long as project management is not only about planning. Too many times the project planning artefacts just become shelfware.

You can manage your project using the schedule if you the team members are reporting time and progress at the schedule activity level. My current project, for example, does not use time sheets. As a result, I have to manage by milestones.
Network:25

Trying to compile some statistics on a collection of schedules as follows:

No of Planned Activities vs Actual Activities to determine the number of changes to a schedule to determine the stability of schedules(i.e how well the intially planned, or if there many client changes)

Average time in a percentage and range that schedules go over their original planned dates in a large range of schedules - i. e how many as built schedules are within 10 percent range of original baseline date for example.

Project events which cause the most delays
Risk Events with contingency added, if risk occured was contingency reasonable.

Risk Events with no contingency added, which have caused delays, patterns in uncertainty and risk that keep occuring but where no contingency or allowance is added to schedule


Any thoughts on useful statistics to compile which would determine how actually effective your planning, risk analysis and processes are actually delivering realistic, stable schedules that take into account the risk and uncertainty?

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