Pinnacle Senior Consultant Michael Bensussen recently authored a three-part project management blog series. Due to the overwhelming success of the articles, I asked Michael to join me to dig deeper into the topics of time and money, schedule pressure and safety performance, and chaos and complexity.
We started the webinar with a question for the audience: What do you consider to be the most important document to managing a successful project?
Scheduling data lead the poll with 80% of responses and at 20% we had Earned Value Management data. This shows how much value is put into a comprehensive, quality project schedule which set the stage perfectly for the first question to Michael.
In the first part of the blog series, Michael writes that “he or she that controls the schedule controls the cost of the project.” He explains that as schedule is integrated with cost, project control professionals see this a law of the universe, and as the pressure of time and money escalates you realize how valuable a resource-loaded schedule is.
The next polling question asks what percentage of an organization’s schedules are resource loaded. Sixty percent responded that zero to 50% of their schedule were resource-loaded, while 40% said that 75-100% were. I asked Michael what he has seen in the field regarding organizational size compared to how detailed schedules were. Not surprisingly, he has seen very simple line of balance schedules which are not resource-loaded, to projects that add materials, test equipment, and other non-labor resources.
With the increasing pressure to deliver more capabilities in shorter time frames, many projects need to compress their schedules. Overtime is probably the most used compression technique and is a good option for the short term, but as Michael said, you can only juice the lemon so much. When you stretch skilled labor, and for that matter people, too thin then you typically see a decrease in decision making ability.
Along with a decrease in decision making you have the inherent risks of injury or death. After days and weeks of overtime, employees may resort to taking shortcuts to get the job done. This can lead to serious consequences on the project. All of this drives the need to create and maintain a realistic schedule that allows you to make decisions that may save someone's life. Organizations that invest the time, resources, and effort at the beginning of the project to establish a resource-loaded schedule will have a much better chance of project success.
Haste makes waste was instilled on Michael by his grandfather, an engineer, veteran, and employee at Boeing and NASA. He understood that decisions have consequences and decisions made in haste can go very, very wrong. Some great insights were shared about his grandfather.
We wrapped up talking about chaos and asked the audience if they had ever experienced chaos on a project. Of course the response was 100%, everyone had experienced some type of project chaos. We talked about the space program and the relationship between chaos and complexity, but you’ll have to watch the webinar to hear that.
I would love to hear about your project chaos moments or how you have implemented schedule compression - leave your comments below. And remember, time equals money.
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Topics: Aerospace & Defense, Energy, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Engineering & Construction, Earned Value Management (EVM), Integrated Program Management (IPM), Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Government & Public Sector, Finance & Insurance, Enterprise Project Management (EPM)
Jason has extensive experience in Earned Value Management, project controls, project management, and engagement management. He is a frequent speaker at the IPM Workshop, EVM World and numerous project management software vendor conferences. He is an active participant with the NDIA Integrated Program Management Division (IPMD) and the Planning and Scheduling Working Group. He currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the College of Performance Management (CPM).
Founded in 1993, Pinnacle provides a wide range of project management related professional services including management consulting, technology implementation & integration, and project support services. We have extensive experience implementing and optimizing enterprise-wide capabilities for Enterprise Project Management (EPM), Project Portfolio Management (PPM), and Earned Value Management (EVM).
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