Advances in Project Schedule Management

In 2007/2008, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) undertook a survey of the state of time management in the UK construction industry. The findings painted a dismal picture of the current state of planning and scheduling with low usage of CPM schedules, minimal updating and almost no proactive forward management (download report summary). On a more general basis, the construction and engineering industries were at the forefront of effective time management through the 1960s, 70s and 80s (along with defense industries) which would suggest other areas of business management such as IT are unlikely to be better situated.

Based on these findings, the CIOB believes that it is essential to educate both project planners and schedulers in construction time management best practice with an aim to reduce the incidence of delayed completion on construction projects. To achieve this, the CIOB have adopted a three-phase strategy to provide the required standards of performance in effective time control:

  • Phase 1
    The education training and accreditation of project schedulers, including:

    • The development of a ‘Guide to Good Practice in Project Programming and Scheduling’.
    • The production of an educational framework for current and future project schedulers.
    • The accreditation of qualifications in time management.
    • The dissemination of the Guide to other professions in the industry.
  • Phase 2
    The promotion of amendments to standard forms of contract to facilitate effective time management.
  • Phase 3
    The education training and accreditation of project planners.

Download the CIOB’s policy Statement.

Phase 1.1, the development of the Guide, is nearing completion. The provisional draft of the Guide is nearly ready for public comment and feedback.

I have had the privilege to be part of the team working on the development of the Guide and believe it is a major advance on anything currently available. Whilst focused on construction/engineering, the skills of effective planning and scheduling are highly transferable. Consequently, when published, the guide will be a valuable resource for PMO Managers and schedulers in most industries.

More information shortly……


2 responses to “Advances in Project Schedule Management

  1. I’ve read the summary report and I was surprised to see that no reference was made in the report to the inherent issues associated with relying on the CPM without taking into account other factors, including the scarcity of the resources and other risk issues. I’ve detailed my concerns in this regard in

    • Whilst agreeing with your sentiments Shim, there are several factors you have failed to consider:

      1. The CIOB report was a study of ‘what is’ not an interpretation of what’s good. The full report can be downloaded now from ‘The need for good scheduling practice’.

      2. The major finding which takes some digesting was the fact a schedule makes no discernable difference on simple projects; whereas schedules do matter on complicated projects. For more on this see The Effective Management of Time in Complicated Construction Projects.

      2. The resource levelled schedule on your referenced post is perfectly correct. This is why every experienced scheduler I know says there is no such thing as ‘activity float’ on a resource levelled schedule. The scheduled dates are the scheduled dates and you work to them full stop! A lot of software likes to pretend there is still task float when what may exist is the equivalent of ‘resource float’ which shows up as underutilization on the histogram.

      3. The team working on the new CIOB guide for scheduling complex construction projects have been debating ‘resources’ at length. You can’t ignore them but the scheduling tools available through CPM are very limited. You will have to wait for the standard to know what the final outcome is…. Watch this space (even I don’t know the final outcome yet)!

      4. My personal view is the ideas within Earned Schedule (ES) have a lot to offer. ES overcomes two problems inherent in CPM, one is the issue you raise, which is an over emphasis on the critical path. The other is the inability of CPM to project current performance into the future, CPM assume all work after ‘time now’ will be accomplished as per the original schedule. For more in ES see:

      Thanks for the post.


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