Improving Project Plans using a Schedule Maturity Framework
- Schedule maturity
- Schedule development
- Risk assessment
Introduction and Background
This paper introduces a scheduling maturity framework designed to provide a structured and repeatable approach to developing sound and realistic project plans.
In recent months, there have been a number of articles and initiatives around improving the quality of CPM schedules, such as using DCMA’s 14 Point Assessment in order to analyze schedule plans. The focus of these efforts has tended towards validating the structural integrity of schedules, by checking for the likes of sound logic, appropriate use of constraints, etc. While this is a step in the right direction, simply carrying out a schedule critique does not ensure a resulting sound project plan against which to track the execution of a project. Having a structurally sound schedule that carries unrealistic durations and one that hasn’t accounted for risk is not a sound schedule.
Recognizing that a schedule critique is a key component to a larger set of criteria that must be addressed in order to achieve an adequate level of schedule maturity, Acumen has developed a five-step maturity model that helps organizations apply a structured approach to schedule development. Applying a scoring system to this maturity scale helps track where on the maturity scale the project lies, and more importantly, what is needed to achieve further maturity.
S1 // S5™ Overview
The end goal of the S1 // S5™ schedule maturity model is to generate a schedule that is:
- Structurally sound: well built using appropriate CPM scheduling techniques
- Realistic: accounting for known scope as well as unknown potential risks and opportunities.
- Optimized: thoroughly reviewed for potential cost/schedule acceleration candidates.
- Validated: buy-in obtained from the project team, subject matter experts and the management team for the project.
If all four of these objectives can be achieved, then project stakeholder expectations will be aligned, the true scope of execution understood, and an achievable target against which the project can be tracked will be attained. In short, a sound basis of schedule will be accomplished thus overcoming one of the biggest project management challenges today: poor and unrealistic planning…