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  • Reviewing existing schedules

    Reviewing an existing schedule might sound more complicated than creating a schedule from scratch, but it actually should not be the case.
    The first thing you must check is the existing links. You canít believe how often I saw schedules that didnít have enough links and activities just floating around. This is equal to not utilizing the schedule program or logic at all and writing everything on a piece of paper.

    In order to establish a critical path, a logical and complete set of links are vital. Not only they must represent the logic of schedule, they must be complete in order to prevent any activities just floating around.

    After that a lot of sanity checks should be done. For example, if the painting starts before drywall there is a serious error somewhere. Just look at the major items one by one, and compare their dates to each other. If something doesnít make sense, then check the links.

    another thing to check is, sometimes they give a more than 0% completion, but they also show a finish date which is past. this can not happen. similarly, sometimes they show 0% progress but start date of past. this also can not happen. both cases mean that they didnt update their data date and the remaining duration in that activity is not continuting after today which should be the case (remaining work can only happen after now, not in the past)

    sometimes there are items in the schedule which do not belong in the work scope. these should be eliminated. for example, once a contractor put in several items belonging to an "abatement and demolition" scope, which should not have been there, because it belonged to another phase of the project. Naturally, he could not even tie them to any activity afterwards. Another example of non scope items may be the fabrication of materials, submittals, getting a certain issue resolved etc... Now I am not saying that these can not be in the schedule, because for informational purposes they can, but if it is not part of scope, then do not put it in, it is not good practice. It distorts the percentage completion for instance, as it adds to the overall amount of work needed to be done for building a project, where actually they were not part of the work but just some prerequisities. They should be tracked differently.

    Another common mistake is when they enter actual dates into Start and Finish columns. These columns should be left alone, they are for calculation. Actual dates should be entered into actual start and actual finish columns. Otherwise the program will regard them as constraints and this will affect many things. It must be checked.

    Another item is to check the FS links. Most of the time, they are just tied in series, as FS relations, but they can be stacked which can help improve your finish date a great deal. This can be done intentionally too though, so check with the person whoever did the schedule about this, to see if this was intentional.

    The % complete of activities is another important item to be checked. It must reflect the actual condition.

    Also it is good practice to do a high level checking. convert to high level and look at the big picture, even if you don't need high level schedule at the moment. especially in schedules that involve lot of activities, chances are, an activity may have escaped from attention and have incorrect start or finish dates which affect the whole summary activity and can be seen easily when looked at in high level.

    With a properly linked schedule this error should not happen but during making updates with actual dates, it may happen, as actuals supercede links, or sometimes the reason is forgetting a link that causes the start or finish date of an activity to be way out of line. Sometimes there are simply typos that cause this, such as entering a wrong date or duration.

    What are the main steps to take upon finding a poorly made schedule? In general it can be summarized as follows and generally in the order as presented here:

    • correct the missing or inaccurate logic and durations,
    • include missing scope,
    • update the resources required,
    • update the progress of complete or partially complete activities,
    • update status date,
    • make activities current by bringing incomplete portions after the status date,
    • calculate a critical path,
    • make adjustments to logic and durations until you are satisfied with the timeline (note that critical path may constantly change during this process)
    • check if there are over-allocated resources and make resource leveling if necessary,
    • save baseline,
    • get an approval of the schedule to officially make this version of the schedule as part of the project.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Reviewing existing schedules started by atuter View original post
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