Tag Archives: Time Management

CIOB launches Project Time Management Certificate

The Chartered Institute of Building has launched its Project Time Management Qualification (PTMQ) framework upon which the CIOB will assess and accredit Project Time Management professionals placing CIOB at the forefront of establishing the premier industry standard in planning, scheduling and project control.

The first element of the framework, the Project Time Management Certificate (PTMC) was launched at a gala function in London, by the CIOB President last week. Unlike existing certifications, this qualification is focused on assessing the candidates knowledge of practical project time management.   It is designed for new entrants to planning and scheduling as well as those who are already engaged in the management of time on projects. Holders of the PTMC will have demonstrated a rigorous understanding of the practice that underpins project planning and scheduling.

The launch of the PTMQ framework moves CIOB one step close to completing a five year strategy to provide standard education, training and accreditation in time management.

Back in 2008 CIOB research found that 67% of complex building projects were late. Of those delayed 13% were more than 3 months and 18% over 6 months. This finding prompted the CIOB to embark upon the development and publication in 2011 of the CIOB Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects which sets down the process and standards to be achieved in preparing and managing a time model.

The Guide underpins the new CIOB contract for the management of complex projects due for publication later this year, and the PTMQ framework for assessing and accrediting the Project Time Management professionals required as part of the CIOB contract.

The PTMC examination is open to CIOB members and non-members, those who have gone through Project Time Management training or those who have self-studied. It will appeal to anyone looking for a relevant and credible qualification in project time management. And in combination with the forthcoming Practitioner (PTMP) and Specialist (PTMS) credentials, it will offer a project time management qualification structure that will provide a progressive development path based on assessment of skills, knowledge and experience in planning, scheduling and project controls.

Mosaic is the exclusive CIOB partner for delivery of training in Australia and New Zealand, with rights to deliver training throughout the wider region. We are currently working on a planned series of public workshops and examinations commencing in Q1 of 2013. Courses and/or examinations can also be arranged for organised groups. For more information on this exciting development see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Training-CIOB-TM_Credential.html

UK and European readers contact: http://www.athenaprojectservices.com/

Project Manager Articles

We have started a monthly series of articles on the Project Manager website.

The focus of these posts will be the current state of scheduling, the emergence of planning and scheduling as a profession and ideas for enhancing the practice of scheduling.

The first article looks at the project scheduling conundrum and some of the initiatives underway to create/improve the profession. The project scheduling conundrum is simple: We know effective scheduling makes a significant difference to project success and we know what effective scheduling looks like but in most projects, the schedule is ignored, bad scheduling practice is the norm and most projects finish late.

To read the first article (and follow the series) see: http://projectmanager.com.au/author/pat-weaver

Biased Book Reviews

I sometimes wonder if the total freedom of the internet is an asset. Over the last several years I’ve been working with a tem of international experts to develop the CIOB Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects. We are now developing a certification framework to help support the development of a proper career framework for schedulers (for more on this see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Training-CIOB-TM_Credential.html).

The Guide was developed for a specific purpose that is clearly enunciated in the marketing materials. The description is: The first stage, this [book], sets down the process and standards to be achieved in preparing and managing the time model. As a handbook for practitioners it uses logical step by step procedures and examples from inception and risk appraisal, through design and construction to testing and commissioning, to show how an effective and dynamic time model can be used to manage the risk of delay to completion of construction projects.

As a guide for practitioners the book has limitations, in particular it is not intended to be an academic text. Then you read the review on Amazon UK from an anonymous ‘Richard and his cat’ and he complains the book:

  • is written in bad english – very insightful as good English requires correct capitalisation as a minimum. The language in the book is not complex academic English primarily because its audience is world wide.
  • is full of unsubstantiated opinion and without any academic referencing to evidence – absolutely correct! This is a guide for practitioners.
  • appears to be written from the slanted viewpoint of an employers delay analysis consultant who wants an easy life by having the contractor do his work for him – I have no idea what ‘Richard’ does for a living but I always thought the job of the contractors scheduler was to make the employers consultants life as easy as possible by developing fully substantiated claims that can be approved un-amended. The Guide does strongly advocate keeping good records; these are needed for legitimate claims.
  • if a MSc Thesis then it would be a failure – completely agree! A MSc Thesis requires a very structured format and generally prohibits new ideas and thinking – the thesis has to be built on established writings. The Guide takes a radically new look at how to implement effective time management in complex projects and is written to be read and used.

Fortunately some newer reviews are appearing. The Guide will undoubtedly improve when the second edition is developed in a couple of years. For now I think it has a lot to offer practical project managers, schedulers and planners, but then I’m biased, I know the calibre of the people involved in developing The Guide.

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.

Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects

Wiley and the Chartered Institute of Building have just published a new book, the Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects. The primary purpose of this Guide is to set down the standards necessary to facilitate the effective and competent management of time in complex projects. It defines the standards by which project schedules will be prepared, quality controlled, updated, reviewed and revised in practice and describes the standards of performance which should reasonably be required of a project scheduler.

Delayed completion affects IT, process plant, oil and gas, civil engineering, shipbuilding and marine work contracts. In fact it affects all industries in all countries and the bigger the project, the more damage delayed completion causes to costs, to reputation and sometimes, even to the survival of the contracting parties themselves.

In simple projects, time can be managed intuitively by any reasonably competent person, but complex projects cannot and a more analytical approach is necessary if the project is to succeed. Although much has been written about how to apportion liability for delay after a project has gone wrong there was, until recently, no guidance on how to manage time pro-actively and effectively on complex projects.

The Guide has been developed as a scheduling reference document capable of wide application. It is a practical treatise on the processes to be followed and standards to be achieved in effective management of time. It can be used in any jurisdiction, under any form of contract, with any type of project and should be identified as the required standard for the preparation and updating of contract programmes, progress reporting and time management.

I may be biased, my partner was part of the team that developed The Guide and it recognises the importance of involving stakeholders in the development of the schedule, but I feel it has a lot to offer project planners and schedulers on any type of project.

For more information;
in Australia see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Books.html#CIOB_Guide elsewhere, http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-144433493X.html

Procrastination is Genetic

We appear to be hardwired to procrastinate! Without an effective set of countermeasures, we almost inevitably delay difficult or uninteresting work until the last minute when time ultimately makes us choose the undesirable and risky.

A couple of interesting posts I’ve read on this are firstly by Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he specializes in the study of procrastination (presumably as a theoretical concept; see: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay). He suggests:

  • The brain is built to firstly minimize danger, before maximizing rewards.
  • Too much uncertainty feels dangerous so we avoid it.
  • We are not good at predicting what might make us happy.
  • Our capacity to regulate emotions is limited and our intentions and goals alter the information that the brain pays attention to.

In combination all of these traits make if far preferable to do something simple now for an immediate reward, or nothing at all, in preference to something more difficult and therefore risky for a more valuable reward in the future. This is called Hyperbolic Discounting; most of us will take $100 tomorrow in preference to $1000 in a year’s time.

The other source was posts by Dr. David Rock; http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work . The overall consensus is we procrastinate by design but we can also manage this tendency by effective negotiations with our self. Brute force attempts to suppress procrastination by ‘force of will’ are doomed to failure; smart tactics that reward yourself for necessary achievements and accept the inevitable relapse from time to time are far more effective. Some ideas on personal time management are in our latest White Paper Personal Time Management.

Probably the most focused comment I found on getting stuff done though is a very short video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P785j15Tzk&feature=player_embedded

Schedule Density

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’.

Schedule Density Over Time

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.

Activites are expanded to increase density

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’.

More later.