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Number of Project Schedules Analyzed by Fuse:

DCMA 14 Point Assessment

The DCMA 14 Point Assessment is a set of criteria developed by the  Defense Contract Management Agency [DCMA] to assess schedule quality.  Acumen Fuse® automates this process with a set of metrics that reviews a schedule’s adherence to the DCMA 14 Point Assessment and identifies those activities and areas of the schedule that do not meet the DCMA’s requirements.  

What is the DCMA 14 Point Assessment?

Recognizing that the integrity of a CPM schedule is one of the critical factors in improving a project’s likelihood of success, the DCMA developed a set of standards that (when met) ensure a well-built plan.  Each of the checks included in the DCMA 14 Point Assessment are detailed below.  

1. Logic

  • Description: The number of activities that are missing a predecessor, a successor or both. This number should not exceed 5% of the activities within the schedule.
  • Remarks: A core schedule quality check. In theory, all total activities should have at least one predecessor and one successor associated with it. Failure to do so will impact the quality of results derived from a time analysis as well as a risk analysis. Includes normal activities and milestones that are planned or in-progress.

2. Leads

  • Description: This check identifies activities that are carrying a lead (also known as a negative lag).
  • Remarks: Leads or negative lags are often used to adjust the successor start or end date relative to the logic link applied.  Doing so can result in the successor starting before the start of the predecessor.  This check applies to all normal activities, milestones and summaries that are planned or in-progress.

3. Lags

  • Description: Total number of activities with lags. 
  • Remarks: Lags are positive durations or delays associated with logic links. Lags tend to hide detail in schedules and cannot be statused like normal activities. Lags should typically be replaced with activities.  This check applies to all normal activities, milestones and summaries that are planned or in-progress.

4. FS Relations

  • Description: Total number of activities with Finish to Start (FS) logic links. This number  should be at least 90%.
  • Remarks: Finish to Start (FS) links provide a logical path through the project and should be at least 90% of the logic within the schedule.  Finish to Start relationships are used to portray a sequential series of work where a successor cannot start before its predecessor has finished.  Having less than 90% of all links as FS links is a poor scheduling practice. This check applies to all normal activities, milestones and summaries that are planned or in-progress.

5. Hard Constraint

  • Description: Number of activities with hard or two-way constraints.  Should not exceed 5%. 
  • Remarks: Hard or two-way constraints such as Must Start On or Must Finish On should be avoided as they can result in a misleading schedule forecast. Consider using soft constraints if absolutely necessary.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned or in-progress.

6. High Float

  • Description: Number of activities with total float greater than two months. Should not exceed 5%.
  • Remarks: Schedule paths with high amounts of float typically arise due to artificially constrained activities (see check # 5). Paths with finish float of more than two months should be considered for acceleration and schedule optimization.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned or in-progress.

7. Negative Float

  • Description: Total activity that is incomplete and total float is less than zero working days. 
  • Remarks: Negative float is a result of an artificially accelerated or constrained schedule. Negative float indicates that the schedule is not possible based on the current completion dates. Compare this to activities with hard constraints to determine which activities (with negative float) are being impacted by constraints.  Ideally, there should not be any negative float in the schedule.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned or in progress.

8. High Duration

  • Description: Total number of activities that have a duration longer than two months. This number should not exceed 5%.  
  • Remarks: High duration activities are generally an indication that a plan is too high level for adequate planning and controls. Consider further developing the schedule adding more detailed activities.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned or in-progress.

9. Invalid Dates

  • Description: All activities with planned work in the past or actual work in the future. There should not be any invalid dates in the schedule.
  • Remarks: Invalid dates are a reflection of ‘loose’ scheduling engines not correctly enforcing standard schedule logic. It is impossible to have planned activities prior to the time now/data date and similarly, activities cannot be statused into the future. This is a key schedule quality check that pinpoints activities that could have a major erroneous outcome on the dates in the schedule.  This check applies to  normal activities and milestones that are planned or in-progress.

10. Resources

  • Description: Number of activities that have resources/costs assigned
  • Remarks: Useful for determining whether a schedule has been resource loaded in its entirety or not.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned or in progress.

11. Missed Activities

  • Description: Number of activities that have slipped from their baseline dates
  • Remarks: The number of activities that have been completed behind the baseline completion date is a good indication of execution performance.  Includes normal activities and milestones that are planned, in progress, or complete.

12. Critical Path Test

  • Description: This check tests the integrity the project’s network logic, particularly the critical path 
  • Remarks: If the project completion date (or other milestone) is not delayed in direct proportion (assuming zero float) to the amount of intentional slip (600 days ~ 3 years) that is introduced into the schedule as part of this test, then there is broken logic somewhere in the network

13. CPLI

  • Description: Calculation of The Critical Path Length Index (CPLI) 
  • Remarks: The Critical Path Length Index (CPLI) is a measure of the relative efficiency required to complete a milestone on time, or how close a critical path is to the project target completion date. A project with an aggressive or conservative completion date may not carry the same overall duration as that of the critical path through the network.  CPLI of greater than one indicates that a schedule is conservative with a very high chance of early completion. A CPLI of less than one is very aggressive with a very high chance that completion will overrun beyond the target project completion date.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned or in progress.

14. BEI

  • Description: Calculation of the Baseline Execution Index (BEI) 
  • Remarks: An indication of the efficiency with which actual work has been accomplished when measured against the baseline. The more activities that are completed either on time or ahead of the baseline schedule will reflect a BEI of one or more. Conversely, a BEI of less than one reflects less than forecasted schedule execution.  This check applies to normal activities and milestones that are planned, in progress, or complete.

Ensure compliance with these standards using Acumen Fuse.