Tag Archives: Schedule

Planning Planet Guild Update

After two years of development, the basic framework of the Planning Planet ‘International Guild of Project Controls’ (GPC) is in place to develop a career framework and accreditation system for project controls professionals. The mission of the GPC is to develop a centre of excellence for developing the skills, expertise and capability of professionals in the field of project controls.

The Planning Planet, GPC announcement on the 11/11/11 confirms the Guild’s aims, objectives, governance processes, controls and initial management team are all in place.

The professional development teams are working to establish a framework of ‘standards of practice’ to support project controls professionals in their careers. The current status of this vital work is:

These standards have been mapped to a proposed career framework, and levels of membership, that recognises the different streams of expertise within the overall project controls framework.

With Phase 1 now officially launched, project controls professionals world-wide are invited to become part of the process to define our profession. The first four steps of the process are available now, for you to sign up and support this important development.

Additionally, the schedule leading to the launch of Phase 2 in March 2012 is set out below – if you want to influence this process, now is the time to be involved!!

The launch of Phase 2 will mark the start of formal accreditation to the GPC the intended framework for accreditation has to be finalised but is expected to include the following:

Personally I would like to congratulate James, Theo and the GPC committees on a massive effort and wish them every success as they move forward. If you want to be part of this process or simply find out more, download the GPC Launch presentation and sign up to help at: http://www.planningplanet.com/guild

Assessing Delay and Disruption

In preparation for the IAMA National conference later this week I have just finished developing and updating a short series of papers focused on addressing schedule delay and disruption.

  • Assessing Delay and Disruption – an overview of the accepted methods of forensic schedule analysis [ view the paper ]
  • Prolongation, Disruption and Acceleration Costs – an overview of the options for calculating costs associated with approved delays and acceleration [ view the paper ]
  • The complexities around concurrent and parallel delays are discussed on Mosaic’s White Paper WP1064 Concurrent and Parallel Delays

Any comments are welcome.

Rolling Wave Planning

I’m helping in a quest to define the origins of Rolling Wave Planning. Who invented it where and when??

The concept has been enhanced by the introduction of the concept Schedule Density* in the Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex.

The difference being Rolling Wave tends to focus on increasing the level of detail, whereas Schedule Density requires both a defined increase in the level of detail and the proactive adjustment of the schedule logic to retain the overall project objectives.

But were did ‘Rolling Wave’ come from???

*for more on Schedule Density see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1016_Schedule_Density.pdf

Time Analysis Schedule Calculations

There are a range of options for the calculation of dates and float in a CPM network.

I’ve just finished a White Paper focusing on the basic calculations and would appreciate comments on the correctness of the calculations and the methodology adopted.  The aim is to produce a definitive document that is generally agreed. 

You can download the paper from http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PDF/Schedule_Calculations.pdf   All comments gratefully appreciated.

Confronting Soft Skills

I never cease to be amazed by the number of people holding leadership roles in the project management community who denigrate ‘soft’ skills. The latest attack on ‘soft’ skills is in a letter to the editor in the May edition of Project Magazine published by the APM, UK.

The Honorary Secretary of the APM Contracts and Procurement SIG, Gerry Orman states ‘soft skills are merely a form of manipulation’; and suggests including them in the knowledge framework for the project management profession will result in the dumbing down of our emerging profession. He also asserts the role of the project manager is to fulfil a contract, not deliver the project so apparently people leading the delivery of internal projects within organisations are not project managers!

Apart from the difficulty of defining projects in terms of one sourcing methodology, writing contracts, Orman seems to conveniently forget the thousands of contracts that end up in the courts each year because of the breakdown in relationships within the contract. Stakeholder management is a key skill for project managers, including identifying, prioritising the project’s stakeholders, and then developing effective communication within relationships that work (for more on this see WP1007 The Stakeholder Cycle). The success of the construction phase of Terminal 5 at Heathrow was largely due to BAA’s focus on the ‘soft’ skills needed to develop and sustain the integrated delivery teams that created the success. This was a revolution in procurement and supply chain management and led to this project being celebrated as the most successful construction project in the UK (for more on this see my presentation to the CIPS Australasia Strategic Procurement Forum in Auckland).

The same argument applies to most project management artefacts. The most perfectly developed schedule is totally useless if the information it contains is not communicated to the people who need to work to the plan; communication is a ‘soft’ skill. But communication on its own is not enough! The people receiving the communication need to understand the message and agree to use the schedule in the coordination of their work. This is unlikely to happen if the people have not been involved in the schedule development which requires more stakeholder engagement and communication, consensus building and a range of other ‘soft’ skills (see: Communication in organisations: making the schedule effective).

Putting it another way, developing an effective schedule that is useful because it is actually used to manage time on the project demands the project manager and/or project scheduler engage effectively with the people who will be responsible for implementing the schedule. This requires interpersonal, contextual and behavioural competencies.

Orman also states professional skills should be unique to the professions, examinable in a written exam and uses the medical profession as an example. Two members of our family recently completed a multi year journey to become qualified anaesthetists. Over the years there were many written examinations but there were also searching interviews and clinical assessments along the way and years of ‘apprenticeship’ under the direction of more senior professionals to ensure they were competent as well as knowledgeable. If medical professionals need more than book learning and written examinations why should project managers be any different?

Project success is achieved by persuading people in the project team to enthusiastically and collaboratively work together to achieve the contracted output. Developing a motivated team capable of achieving this requires a range of ‘soft’ skills including leadership, motivation, communication and conflict management to name a few. Organisations cannot do work; it is the people within the organisation that do the work and management is about directing and leading people!

Answering the question, what is more important, the ‘hard’ skills of scope management, scheduling and cost planning or the ‘soft’ skills of motivation, communication and leadership, is difficult. My feeling is the synergy of ‘hard’ skills powered by ‘soft’ skills will create a far more powerful engine for success than the sum of the two parts in isolation. Successful project managers need both capabilities either within their person or within their leadership team.

If we ignore stakeholders and the ‘soft’ side of our project management skill set we severely reduce our ability to meet our client’s requirements for on time on budget and on scope delivery. ‘Soft’ is not a synonym for easy!