Lessons Learned concerning Schedule Quality Assessment

The quality metric designed to measure the project’s Execution Schedule should not be used to measure its DBM schedule. While the former might be a complete, fully detailed schedule ready for execution, the latter lacks maturity, details and completeness. It is like giving the University Senior Year Final examination to High School Freshmen students. It is best to understand first the most pressing quality requirements of the project schedule at its specific stage of development before applying the metric.

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A Project Management Question about Success and Failure

According to your project management best practices concept of success, do you think that the project described below is successful? Or, do you think it is not? Please explain your answer. Your valuable professional input is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

A $3.5billion petrochemicals project was earmarked to produce 175 metric tons per year from its Polyethylene (PE) Plant and 175 metric tons from Polypropylene (PP) plant. The baseline production target date was projected to be delayed by four months or more due to the design, equipment and material issues of the standby extruder/pelletizing mechanical train of the PP and PE unit. Stakeholders and sponsors were nervously and eagerly awaiting to start production as orders were already piled, lined up for the next twelve months. A month of delay in production will be very costly. To the sponsors, a day delay is unthinkable.

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MY DELTEK ACUMEN FUSE STORY

I’ve found Acumen fuse becoming more important and pivotal to the project as the scope and estimate mature. This becomes especially true when accompanied by increasing details and complexity of the schedule. It can perform a repeatable and consistent analytical review of the project schedule, a much-needed handle during gate reviews, cold eyes evaluation, interactive planning, strategic sessions, risk assessments, quantitative analysis, schedule cleansing, and more.

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Integrated Schedule, a Must Have in Program Management

Program management is the process of managing several related projects typically to enhance an organization’s outlook, better its industry reputation, to improve overall productivity and to avail of long-term opportunities. I would like to re-share with you today one of the approaches I’ve formulated and used in achieving Program Schedule Integration in the not too distant past.

Management of interdependent multiple projects calls for an integrated approach. Interdependent in a sense that some activities of one project cannot start or finish without the predecessor project activities from another project or supporting group started or completed. For small to medium size program portfolio, effectively managing the overall and overarching schedule can still be quite challenging for Project Managers.

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Book cover design for new book

I have always wanted to write about risk-based management principles in a poetic form. The uncanny characteristic of a poem to send information with amazing clarity catches our senses so that we suddenly become more receptive. We listen more and even unconsciously let down our guard. Our biases disappear to consider the intended message.

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Christmas Day Reflection : “It’s about God, Families and Friends.”

It is my prayer that many of you will be spending some great time with your respective close families and friends. In all the upcoming festive gatherings, make sure you don’t forget the grandparents who started you all! They are very much a part of each family unit that came to be. They’d be thrilled with even just a call from their kids and of course, from their loveable, innocent and amazing grandchildren.

Enjoy a few days with the people you truly care about. Share traditional foods, common table, good-natured jokes, lessons learned, unforgettable experiences, plenty of hugs, heart-felt embraces full of affections, forgiveness, and love.

The absence of family makes one sad, most especially during Christmas holiday. It is a difficult situation where a good friend can be a life-saver. Here’s wishing everyone in need on such an occasion to find a pair of helping hands, a just, good friend for this holy season.

God bless us all!

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Remembrance Day Reflection : “Fear is a Reaction. Courage is a Decision”

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Fear is a Reaction. Courage is a Decision.”

Such a statement makes me appreciate more of our fallen heroes. The awesome pride and inspiration they brought to those who survived strengthened the resolve of all freedom-loving people of the world. Quite clearly, nations remembering their fight to preserve liberty for future generations make all emotionally happy. We are all fortunate recipients of their ultimate sacrifice. God bless their souls!

In today’s modern world, courage has taken a variety of forms in pursuit of certain subterfuge goals. Sadly, unbeknownst to many, they’re being led as sheeps to a slaughter. As a reflection, let us all be vigilant! We need to open our eyes, ears, and mind before making any life-changing decision, especially something that might adversely affect our nation and the world. Make it doubly sure that we are after something real, based on truths and goodness.

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The Risk Management Poem (Children’s Book for all Professionals)

I have always wanted to write about risk-based management principles in a poetic form. The uncanny characteristic of a poem to send the intended message with amazing clarity catches our senses so that we suddenly become more receptive. We listen more and even unconsciously let down our guard. Our biases disappear to consider the intended message.

Today, I am happy to share some segments of that original 18-stanza rhyme poem of (8-6-8-6 metric). The poem wants to present the fundamental concepts of risk in simple terms that even children can understand.

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What’s your pet EAC formula?

Project forecasting provides useful insights on the final cost. As such, along the way, as you periodically progress the project, you’ll want to know and re-assess the Estimate at Completion. It gives all a glimpse of the possible outcome that boils down to the project’s probability of a successful outcome or failure. I know of no singular formula to calculate EAC because there were several of them.

Being a risk manager himself/herself, a project management professional’s task is to improve the project’s predictability, enabling the project to make an accurate forecast whenever needed. In this, high quality inputs, recording vital information, data monitoring, administrative controls, and analysis are critical to achieve a successful forecast from which informed decision can emanate. Project cost projection (EAC) has to be based more on facts than assumptions to be useful! One must avoid the temptation of even thinking that forecasting as just a good guess, a gut feel, and/or a number exercise!

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What about SCHEDULE DANGLERS?

Open ends are great indicators of missing scope/s, incomplete and/or missing planning inputs. The solution is to tie all valid network activities in the right sequence, according to the approved project execution plan and path of construction.
A good schedule is a well-tied schedule and a well-tied schedule signifies complete scope.
Source: Frago, R. (2015/2017).Plan to Schedule, Schedule to Plan.ISBN 978-0-9947608-2-1.Canada.

A recent query from a colleague inspired me to write this short article on the subject of danglers, i.e. schedule danglers. I hope my humble insights will be useful.

Open start danglers are activities where the only predecessor is either Finish-to-Finish or Start-to-Finish, resulting in an open start to the activity. They are also known as “dangling activities.”

The number of activities with open start (danglers) should be zero.

The project scheduler should use Start-to-Start and Start-to-Finish links sparingly. Tie each activity end completely and properly to avoid danglers.

Read the full article by clicking the hyperlinked button below.

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