I have mentioned the work being done by the CIOB (UK) to develop a practice standard for scheduling in a few posts. This valuable work is now at the public comment stage and has a number of really innovative ideas.
The concept of schedule density contained in the CIOB ‘guide’ is not dissimilar to rolling wave planning but has far more practical advice.
The concept is based on the idea that it is practically impossible to fully detail a schedule for a complex project at ‘day 1’ – too many factors are unknown or still to be developed. The CIOB advice is to plan the overall project at ‘low density’, expand the work for the next 9 months to ‘medium density’ and plan the next 3 months at ‘high density’.
Low density activities may be several moths in duration. Medium density activities are no longer than 2 months and focused on one type of work in one specific location. High density activities are fully resourced, with a planned duration no longer than the schedule update period and with specific workers allocated.
As the ‘density’ of the schedule is increased, the plan takes into account the current status of the work, current production rates and what is required to achieve the overall objective of the project.
This approach has a range of advantages over more traditional ways of scheduling not the least of which is engaging the people who will be responsible for doing the work in the next 2 to 3 months in the detailed planning of ‘their work’.