As someone who has experienced the tedious yet complex and time-consuming task of assessing and subsequently addressing schedule quality of projects from tens of millions of dollars up to tens of billions, the use of the software/application called Acumen Fuse is truly a game-changer, a time and cost-saver. Qualifying, analyzing, optimizing, and evaluating the project schedule as it develops from DBM (Design-based Memorandum stage) through each stage to execution and commissioning/turnover stage until final closeout should be an integral part of the planning and scheduling process. The values gleaned from such essential monitoring and control exercise can usher good things in pursuit of operational excellence. It provides additional perspectives while carrying out the scope, cost, change, and risk management.
With all the project’s approved/accepted metrics in place, the use of the Acumen Fuse tool shortens the time a Planning and Scheduling Specialist/SME assesses the project schedule quality. The time spent in my experience was reduced by as much as 50% to 75% (conservative estimate). It means, Fuse alone, as one of the Acumen Suite of Application modules, can decrease the time required to do schedule analytical review by as much as 75%, a time savings of six (6) hours for each of the usual eight (8) hours that someone spends in a typical assessment (see Figure 1 – Sample Schedule Review Summary template). In simple terms, if you are a good analyst, that is doing an eight (8) hour work in just two (2) hours. I’ve done it, I know you can too. The work and cost aspect easily translates to an increase in efficiency, savings, and work productivity by about 800% not to mention that it also increases the assessment quality of the schedule and the potential of having the right, most reliable one.
Figure 1 – Sample Schedule Review Summary
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.
Succeeding narratives outline the business rationale why PM Solution Pro chose to partner with Deltek to farm out Acumen Fuse over other similar tools in the market in farming out and educating prospective users who want to optimize their project schedule.
It is a simple but powerful tool and still growing!
Information in this write-up was based on first-hand knowledge and experience which the readers can also explore. Going forward, we’ll define some parameters, features, and powers of Fuse, including the various immediate benefits that can be derived from using it. We’ll discuss some essential overview to appreciate what the tool can do in achieving a more effective plan and schedule.
Business Rationale to using Deltek Acumen Fuse
Acumen Fuse is a project tool providing project analytics through customizable metric libraries and powerful visualization that can provide an essential source of information by intelligently summarizing large amounts of project data. It is a tool that will be very useful to planners & schedulers, risk managers and other project control practitioners as a means of actually drilling down and pinpointing specific driving issues within a project. It can work and pass information using all versions of Oracle Primavera (P6 and P3), Deltek Open Plan, MS Project, OPRA (PertMaster), MS Excel/XML, Deltek Cobra, Project Server, Asta Powerproject, PrismG2, Primavera Risk Analysis (formerly Pertmaster) other data sources.
It provides the schedule quality check required by any project. It facilitates the task of improving schedule quality needed in various analytical exercises such as critical path assessment, delay analysis, schedule gate reviews, benchmarking, and many more. Metrics can be customized such that it is perfectly aligned with the client’s or any governing project criteria and delivery model.
You might still be analyzing the quality and achievability of your project schedules semi-manually using Primavera P6 using it’s Layout/Group/Sort/Filter feature and probably in combination with Excel tables to come up with some weighted percent approach to come up with an overall quality score. Yes, it can work fine to some extent but such an approach is relatively rigid and consumes around 4 to 8 hours and more of a good scheduler/analyst valuable time before a result is generated.
With this tool properly set up and with the User properly trained, it can be done in less than 30 to 60 minutes including detailed analytics and summary reports. Through the expertise of the schedule analyst, a timely, more refined findings with simple narratives and statistics can be prepared to reflect the most critical information that meets business needs. In the many years, I’ve been using the Acumen Fuse, I can only say that the increased productivity and opportunity it brought my projects were real and undeniable.
In addition to the above, the subject tool can do performance analysis and has invaluable built-in schedule forensic capabilities, giving projects a strong handle in baseline management. Regardless of project size and schedule details, these are features I found quite useful in schedule forecasting, what-if scenarios, risk-drivers identification, periodic updates, claim avoidance/shielding, and post-mortem evaluation after final closeout. In my opinion, it can do many more, limited only by the knowledge and skills of the User.
First Encounter with Deltek Acumen Fuse
I encountered Deltek Acumen Fuse more than a decade ago in 2008. Followed it for years until I’ve figured it has advanced enough to merit a recommendation to my manager for purchase. The rule of thumb I’ve used before worked well. I believe that one must purchase two versions down the most recent release to avoid being the guinea pig and free testing zone of the tool supplier/developer. So far, so good! I think it worked fine for us each time.
The list of advantages and positive potentials is long. Acumen Fuse has become one of the leading project schedule analytical tools since conception and poised to stay for years to come. I’ve used Fuse countless times and it is truly a sound analytic tool that can create, develop, pave, improve and increase project’s probability for success regardless of size.
A sizeable project thinking of procuring Acumen Fuse can start with three (3) stand-alone Acumen Fuse application/software for their governance (central) team supporting all portfolios.
Do you want to know more about how it is best used? If you are seriously interested in how the tool works in your special case, contact us and we will arrange a demonstration with no strings attached. Call us at PM Solution Pro at 587-899-1202 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Once you are sure that you intend to include it in your toolbox, PM Solution Pro can also help you put your Business Case together. We can guide you. How about that?
Rufran C. Frago-Author
About the Author:
Rufran C. Frago is the Founder of PM Solution Pro, a Calgary consulting, product, and training services firm focusing on project and business management solutions. He is passionate providing advice, mentorship, education and training through consultation, collaboration, and what he uniquely calls, student-led training.
BOOKS AUTHORED BY RUFRAN FRAGO
- Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective.ISBN 978-0-9947608-0-7.Canada
- Plan to Schedule, Schedule to Plan.ISBN 978-0-9947608-2-1.Canada
- How to Create a Good Quality P50 Risk-based Baseline Schedule.ISBN 978-0-9947608-1-4.Canada
- Schedule Quantitative Risk Analysis (Traditional Method).ISBN 978-0-9947608-3-8.Canada
- RISK, What are you? The Risk Management Poem: Children’s Book for all Professionals.ISBN 978-0-9947608-4-5 (Canada)