There is a way to measure schedule progress if your project contains many similar tasks. To begin, consider what these three projects have in common:
1. Driving hundreds of piles into marshy soil to form the foundation for a huge building
2. Creating thousands of engineering drawings to produce a next-generation fighter aircraft
3. Converting hundreds of computer programs originally written for one brand of hardware to run on another manufacturer's hardware
In each case, the portion of the total number of piles, engineering drawings, or computer programs completed can produce a useful schedule status. Figure 12.2 shows an example of a simple graph that displays this type of status. This graph can be generated by simple spreadsheet programs or project management software. These graphs can be extremely useful, but they can be misleading because they don't differentiate between easy and difficult tasks. For example, if all the easy piles were driven first, or if all the easy drawings were created first, the projects might initially show progress ahead of schedule, only to fall behind later when the time comes to handle the difficult piles and drawings.
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