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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Effective P6 Administration by Improving Primavera Security through Correct Management of the Responsible Manager Code (RMC)

Project’s request to restrict access of other Users to their project schedules & portfolios seemed to have failed. Unauthorized access remains a problem. Contractors working concurrently in the same database were able to sometime see the client’s schedule and modified certain critical attributes despite the security protocol being enforced. Worst of all, one schedule was completely deleted by someone and have to be recovered from the back-end by the Database Administrator through the existing back-up and recovery protocol.

Dorothy was checking Marco’s security access because he couldn’t add resources and found that all his projects have the Responsible Manager’s Code set to the Contractor’s OBS code. She figured that Marco might have used the contractor’s original schedule as a starting project file in developing his project schedule.

Back in June 2010, Primavera User John and Mark had put together a schedule that sat on the back burner while the Project team worked on other priorities. When it came time to set the baseline, John and Mark decided to do a quick check to make sure nothing had changed. Mark hit the F9 button and about 80% of the activities moved to the right. The dates moved by 4 to 20 days.

The two of them checked the calendar they were using but they were fine. The Primavera database Administrator checked who else was using the calendar and the schedule and found that only John and Mark were given direct access to this schedule.

John now went back to the schedule, changed some lags and logics trying to correct the schedule discrepancies. The effort took more than a day to complete, time which the project really do not have. What has gone wrong?

Find out what happened. Read the full article by clicking the hyperlinked button below.

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Questions About Project Cost Reconciliation

Some cost management professionals said it’s a waste of time chasing, say, USD0.25, spending hours to reconcile. The cost of the effort involved translates to maybe more than tens of thousand times the amount being reconciled.

My question to you all. 1) Do you think that this reconciliation exercise down to the cents value is really needed and why? 2) Is there a better approach?… a faster way of reconciliation? Rufran hashtag#pmsolutionpro hashtag#rufranfrago hashtag#projectmanagement Picture credit: blog paytraq.com, 2019.

Read more and express your professional take.

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Digital Transformation for Utilities

Digital transformation is all around us, whether it is depositing a cheque by phone, asking Alexa to turn down lights in a room, or smart kitchen devices sending cooking progress via Bluetooth. Using remote sensors and analytics to capture data and discover valuable insights about customers, assets and suppliers has opened a frontier for new innovative services and approaches to doing business.

Broadly placed under the term digitalization, this development gives an organization better visibility into their operations and more control over outcomes, saving much time and effort while reducing human error and improving the overall customer experience and service quality. Is there a business case for digital transformation of utilities that operate vast system of assets and deliver vital services to many customers?

As digital applications become mainstream, it is getting vital for the utilities to have a digital strategy to effectively manage the increasingly complex nature of their networks and services.

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Typical Attributes of a Phantom Schedule

Some of the typical attributes of a Phantom Schedule are as follow:

1) Secret (unknown to the other contracting party)

2) It is a simplified version of the contract schedule

3) Considered more reliable and accurate

4) Viewed as a validation schedule that provides better forecasts5.

5) Updated in the background by sponsoring party

6) Decision-making tool by sponsoring party. Management decisions are no longer based on the forecast of the current contract schedule.

Read more… know more!

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What is the Purpose of a Phantom Schedule?

A client or contractor may develop it individually with each one, believing that it is more reliable than the current official schedule and/or the existing baseline.

Construction contractor can come up with a more aggressive version of the contractual schedule to create some form of relief time zones. It creates some form of time buffer zones by using earlier schedule plan dates. The sub-contractor then sign on a more optimistic schedule with the contractor.

The contractor hides the already optimistic phantom schedule for background update. At this point, and just on the contractor-subcontractor side alone, there are already four schedules at play and being maintained separately; i.e. 1) subcontract schedule, 2) subcontract phantom schedule, 3) contractor phantom schedule, and 4) contract schedule.

A recent technical article rightly stated the same thing, that one of the reasons why a phantom schedule is developed is “when the client no longer has any faith that the contractor’s contract schedule submittals are realistic (Beisler, S. & Zack, J., 2016.Cost Engineering. May\Jun 2016. p21).

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The Phantom Schedule

A phantom schedule (ghost schedule) is a non-official schedule prepared behind the official scheduling scene. The timing of its creation can be anywhere between project start date to completion. The urgency governing its creation depends largely on the specific purpose and necessity to which it was created.

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What about Boxing and Risk-based Management?

Boxing is a risky event for all involved, most especially the boxers. Yes, the protagonists themselves. Monitoring risk can be like watching boxing. Two competitors, both with the intention to strike whenever there is opportunity. They execute the plan, psyche each other, try to prevent and mitigate the threats of getting KO’ed, strive to make the right response, and to make the right decision through keen observation, at a flinch of a muscle (risk indicator).

As a risk-based management practitioner, the bloody sport of boxing is so exciting and fascinating. In my view, it relates so well, … so very close with the concept and philosophies of risk management. “No pain, no gain,” as the old saying goes!

Boxers, their coaches, and cornermen have to come up with a response plan to prevent or mitigate the punches. They put together a strategy prior to the bout similar to a project preparing the risk management plan. They know that boxing judges have a decision to make and it has to be the right one, that is of course, one in their favour! They have only one end goal in mind, to be the winner!

In risk management, as in boxing, playing and losing can still be an Opportunity! Amazing Statistics!

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How about understanding your Project’s Schedule Critical Path better?

Critical Path is a measure of schedule flexibility, discernable through each activity total float. On any network path, flexibility is the positive difference between early and late dates (PMI, Project Risk Management, 2013). It is the shortest time possible for a project to finish.

“Be careful of relative critical path. This is the critical path relative to some select points of constraint only.”

“The path it generates does not represent the overall project’s critical path. The real overall critical path of the schedule is one generated by the calculation of a schedule that has no constraint, a schedule that flows freely.

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Book-signing Promo Event, at Dana Point, CA a success!

My apprehension that the small group who attended that evening might not show any interest on the subject was unfounded. The ensuing discussions were lively and fruitful. There was excitement in the air, gasps of discovery in each turn, and a promise from the audience to read and promote my work. This small, simple book-signing event was fun and successful. This was first this year since my last book-signing at Indigo Hills, Calgary two years ago.

Topic of the evening: We are all risk managers! Risk management is the only thing we do for a living, the very reason why our company or client pays us, the reason why we go to work every day. We manage risk even as we prepare to go to sleep, to increase probability that we wake up the next day healthy and refreshed. The amazing thing is, we don’t even realize it!

In this sense, we are all risk managers as we support our very existence. We survive each daily rigors because we are already unconsciously competent of what we do through years of experience and training.

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