and Budget Updates
Scheduling and project planning is an activity that continues
throughout the lifetime of a project. As changes or discrepancies between the
plan and the realization occur, the project schedule and cost estimates should
be modified and new schedules devised. Too often, the schedule is devised once
by a planner in the central office, and then revisions or modifications are
done incompletely or only sporadically. The result is the lack of effective
project monitoring and the possibility of eventual chaos on the project site.
On "fast track" projects, initial
construction activities are begun even before the facility design is finalized.
In this case, special attention must be placed on the coordinated scheduling of
design and construction activities. Even in projects for which the design is
finalized before construction begins, change orders representing changes in the
"final" design are often issued to incorporate changes desired by the
Periodic updating of future activity durations and
budgets is especially important to avoid excessive optimism in projects
experiencing problems. If one type of activity experiences delays on a project,
then related activities are also likely to be delayed unless managerial changes
are made. Construction projects normally involve numerous activities which are
closely related due to the use of similar materials, equipment, workers, or
site characteristics. Expected cost changes should also be propagated
throughout a project plan. In essence, duration and cost estimates for future
activities should be revised in light of the actual experience on the job.
Without this updating, project schedules slip more and more as time progresses.
To perform this type of updating, project managers need access to original
estimates and estimating assumptions.
Unfortunately, most project cost control and
scheduling systems do not provide many aids for such updating. What is required
is a means of identifying discrepancies, diagnosing the cause, forecasting the
effect, and propagating this effect to all related activities. While these
steps can be undertaken manually, computers aids to support interactive
updating or even automatic updating would be helpful.
the direct updating of activity durations and cost estimates, project managers
should have mechanisms available for evaluating any type of schedule change.
Updating activity duration estimations, changing scheduled start times, modifying
the estimates of resources required for each activity, and even changing the
project network logic (by inserting new activities or other changes) should all
be easily accomplished. In effect, scheduling aids should be directly available
to project managers. Fortunately, local computers are commonly available on
site for this purpose.