Tips to Effective Project Schedule Updates Part 2

  1. To bring all stakeholders on the same page with respect to the status and progress of the project.
  2. To promote timeliness, fairness, and appropriateness of all project activities surrounding time management.
  3. To ensure that implementation is in accordance to contract interpretation that is both transparent and visible.
  4. To enhance project communication through the updated schedule report, providing notice to clients what transpired between data dates.
  5. To provide forecast to the next round of activities and onward, making it a valuable risk-based management tool.


The client company, through its representative, must review and give feedbacks to the contractor after receiving the schedule update/report. It is not only an expected feedback and input mechanism but also a responsibility.

Return inputs (feedbacks) must be in a timely, coordinated, and agreed-to manner so nothing goes between the cracks. All inputs and feedbacks shall be in writing via e-mail or handwritten correspondences.

Address the comments from the client in a formal construction meeting or documented informally, prior to such meeting. Engaging face to face is preferred to a teleconference call or remote engagement whenever possible.

What Accompanies a Schedule Update?

Contractors accompany the updated schedule with the following:

  1. A brief narrative report on accomplishments covering the last update to the most recent
  2. high level and critical accomplishments
  3. changes made to the schedule including changes to assumptions and constraints
  4. plan changes
  5. current issues
  6. current problems (realized risks)
  7. risks (threats and opportunities)
  8. resource distribution profile (period forecast, budget, and actuals) and other graphical presentations
  9. The contractor’s project forecast formally declares whether the project in on schedule or not. Identification of delay or risk of possible delay need not wait for the update cycle to become due. The project must have other avenues to flag and document such situation.
  10. Final deliverables and in between key milestones
  11. Identification of the critical path

Terms and Acronyms

Client Feedback Turnaround Time (CFTT) means the amount of time taken to provide a feedback to the contractor’s schedule update from the time of receipt. It is the total time between the submission of a schedule update/report for review and the return inputs (feedbacks) from the Client’s project representative.

Contractor Reply Turnaround Time (CRTT) means the amount of time taken to address the Client’s feedback to the contractor’s schedule update from the time of receipt. It is the total time between the submission of the written feedbacks and the action to address them.

Update and Turnaround Time (TT)

An excessively late update might not have much value left. Therefore, it is only fair to the client that contractors submit within the specified time. If the updating (reporting) cycle is not part of the contract, or agreed-to ahead of time, client and contractor will fail each other’s expectations down the line.

A turnaround time (TT) of 24 hours to 48 hours is good in many cases. Some organizations calculate the submittal cycle using this TT.

For example, the Client and Contractor can agree to TT = 1/8 of the update cycle. If the update cycle is monthly, that is 30 calendar days or around 22 working days. Therefore, the Client Turnaround Time is 22 (0.125) or about three (3) days. This is longer than the maximum 48 hours turnaround time suggested in the preceding paragraph.

In all these, the final call as to what should be the TT should be a consensus between the client and the contractor. That makes it easier to explain, right? As long as the timing is fair, reasonable, and agreeable, it should fly.

If feedbacks go longer than the optimum time, the essence of the update/report is bound to get lost. Unfortunately, it is an opportunity lost when that happens.

Do not forget that the contractor has to address the client’s feedback as well using the same amount of turnaround time. Never assume that the Client’s in-house standard or guideline will automatically apply when invoked. It does not work that way in the real project world.

In the absence of such agreement, it is common to find contractors unwilling to deliver unless given some additional premium.

Drawers opens, list of demands, and excuses enumerated, with the client standing stunned, murmuring to himself, “This is amazing!” Joking aside, it is a true situation.

Note that failure to comment to the contractor’s update indicates acceptance so it is imperative that the client considers those.

Read next blog ...”Schedule Feedbacks” and previous blog, “Tips to Effective Schedule Updates”