Schedule and Control Tools and Techniques

The tools and techniques of the Control Schedule process are as follows:

■ Performance reviews

■ Variance analysis

■ Project management software

■ Resource leveling

■ What-if scenario analysis

■ Adjusting leads and lags

■ Schedule compression

■ Scheduling tool

We've covered all of these tools and techniques previously. I'll give you a few new points you should know regarding performance reviews.

Performance reviews in this process examine elements such as actual start and end dates for schedule activities and the remaining time to finish uncompleted activities. If you've taken earned value measurements, the SV and SPI will be helpful in determining the impact of the schedule variations and in determining if corrective actions are necessary.

The PMBOK® Guide notes that if you're using the critical chain method to construct the schedule, you should compare the amount of buffer needed to the amount of buffer remaining to help determine if the schedule is on track. This will also indicate whether corrective actions are necessary to adjust the schedule.

In the Control Schedule process, because you're dealing with time issues, it's imperative that you act as quickly as possible to implement corrective actions so that the schedule is brought back in line with the plan and the least amount of schedule delay as possible is experienced.

Schedule changes might be potential hot buttons with certain stakeholders and can burn you if you don't handle them correctly. No one likes to hear that the project is going to take longer than originally planned. That doesn't mean you should withhold this information, however. Always report the truth. If you've been keeping your stakeholders abreast of project status, they should already know that the potential for schedule changes exists. Nevertheless, be prepared to justify the reason for the schedule change or start dusting off your resume—maybe both, depending on the company.

Make sure to examine the float variance of the critical path activities when monitoring the schedule. Thinking back to the Develop Schedule process, you'll recall that float is the amount of time you can delay starting an activity without increasing the amount of time it takes to complete the project. Because the activities with the least amount of float have the potential to cause the biggest schedule delay, examine float variance in ascending order of critical activities.

Keep in mind that not all schedule variances will impact the schedule. For example, a delay to a noncritical path task will not delay the overall schedule and might not need corrective action. Use caution here, though—if a delay occurs on a noncritical path task or its duration is increased for some reason, that task can actually become part of the critical path. Delays to critical path tasks will always cause delays to the project completion date and require corrective action. Careful watch of the variances in schedule start and end dates helps you control the total time element of the project.

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Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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