things happen naturally in organizations;
friction, confusion and under performance. Everything else requires
Controls, Scheduling, Complexity.
matter how sophisticated the software of how complex the project
schedule is, no project schedule can foretell the future. Project
planners and schedulers are not oracles (even if they use Primavera).
Many projects finish late, disputes over contract delays are
commonplace and the trend is getting worse. The response by owners has
been to increase penalty payments for delayed completion, demand highly
detailed schedules and frequently draft contract clauses that make
changing the schedule difficult. All of these tactics have failed to
change the steadily worsening trends in delayed completion. And as the
apparent ability of contractors to manage time declines, the projects
they are being asked to manage are becoming increasingly larger and
more complex. Without a paradigm shift in thinking, the only
people who will benefit from these trends will be the lawyers and the
claims experts. But there are alternatives!
Research by the CIOB, adopted in part by the USA GAO offers a totally
different approach to managing the use of the available time within a
contract! Rather than setting up a schedule to record failure and
support claims, the CIOB advocate a layered approach to time management
that focuses on adapting behaviours to overcome problems and does not
waste time developing esoteric detail. Unless you know exactly who will
be doing the work, the methodology they will use and how
‘good’ they are; creating a detailed schedule is an arcane
exercise, guaranteed to be wrong. The concept of schedule density
advocates developing an overall ‘time budget’ for the
project, resolving tactical problems for work in the current year and
only expanding the schedule to the level of detail needed for effective
control of the workforce within the current 3 month timeframe.
This paper précis the work of the CIOB and offer practical
suggestions for the improvement of time management within the
Australian context, including the professionalization of the scheduling
When applied effectively, a proactive scheduling process can be a
powerful influence on future behaviours and contribute significantly to
project success. It is worth the investment!