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3. Project Planning and Schedule Control

 

Introduction

 

Project schedules are prepared to reflect the project's scope of work for each of the WBS elements. The schedule defines the sequence and relationships among the schedule activities. Through the estimating and budgeting process, resource requirements are identified in accordance with the WBS and time durations for each activity are established. Date calculations within the scheduling system provide the start and finish dates for each activity and resources are time phased in accordance with the schedule dates.

 

The schedule defines the Detailed Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) activities. This process incorporates the major project milestone dates, the WBS execution area priorities, and all identified schedule critical paths, it is based upon the path of construction and system handover sequence that has been identified by Construction and Commissioning respectively. The assembled information should be reflective of the intended Project Execution Strategy and is performed as part of either the FEL Phase 3 deliverables or in the early stages of a project.

 

A Critical Path Method (CPM) scheduling program facilitates the modeling of the project plan. Throughout the life of the project, the schedule is maintained with current status and is analyzed against the baseline plan to identify deviations that require corrective actions.

 

 

3.1. Implementation Plan

 

The Project Scheduler prepares a time phased schedule that is representative of the plan to develop the  planning deliverables. Interfaces with other systems such as the estimating and progress measurement systems are defined in the plan. The Implementation Plan is developed in accordance with the Project Controls Execution Plan. The Project Controls Manager or Lead Controls person will review and approve the Implementation Plan.

 

 

3.2. Starter Schedule

 

The Starter Schedule is prepared at the beginning of a project if a more detailed schedule has not been developed in an earlier FEL or FEED phase. The Starter Schedule reflects work priorities for the project for the next 90 to 120 Days. This detailed schedule is the communications tool that sets project priorities until such time that a more fully developed schedule is approved. Once the project's more formal baseline plan is developed and approved, the Starter Schedule is no longer used. At a minimum, the Project Manager will review and approve the Starter Schedule.

 

 

3.3. Schedule Baselines

 

The Schedule baseline is a model of the way the project is planned to be executed. The scope of work is divided into defined activities that are organized and coded in accordance with the WBS. Activity sequencing is then performed by defining the relationships of one activity to another within the scheduling system. Resource work hours, as defined by the project estimate, are downloaded into the schedule activities. Activity durations are finalized and resource scheduling time phases the resources as required by the plan. Once reviewed and approved by the Project Leadership Team, the baseline reflects a time phased and resource loaded schedule which will be used through the life of the project to compare the planned schedule performance with actual schedule performance. It serves as a tool to identify and document deviations caused by work performance and scope changes.

 

 

3.4. Executive Summary Schedule (ESS)

 

The Executive Summary Schedule (Level 1) is initially developed during the proposal phase and approved with the Proposal Estimate. The Executive Summary Schedule is a summary of the entire scope of work and reflects the work of each major phase of the project such as engineering, procurement, and construction.

 

Once the contract is awarded, the Executive Summary Schedule will be reviewed and revised to reflect any changes as a result of contract negotiations, contract requirements, or new work execution knowledge. As the project proceeds and detail schedules are made, these are coded in such a manner as to roll up to the Executive Summary Schedule, and in this manner the Level 1 becomes reflective of the schedules of greater detail.

 

In some cases the project proposal may require a Project Master Schedule which serves the same function but is further developed to a level of detail where the major logic ties, critical path, integration, and phase overlap points are clearly defined. Schedule assumptions and risk areas are identified and documented. The Project Manager will approve and issue the Executive Summary Schedule.

 

 

3.5. Detailed Schedules

 

The more detailed project schedules are developed soon after the contract award of the project, which will define the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning activities in more detail.

 

 

3.5.1 Detailed EPC Schedule

 

It is the detailed Level 3 CPM network for control of Engineering and Procurement activities. It also contains Construction activities by craft at a level of detail sufficient to represent the intended execution plan. The EPC Schedule is prepared at the end of the FEL Phase 3 or at the very beginning of the Detail Engineering Stage.

 

This detailed schedule will become the baseline of the Project following the resource loading, leveling and Project review/ approval. This Level 3 Schedule will be summarized to create the Level 2 EPC Schedule.

 

The Baseline Schedule Package consists of the EPC Critical Path Method (CPM) Schedule, Resource Histograms that are produced from the resource loaded schedule; earned progress curves for overall project, and by engineering discipline/ construction craft; and the Basis of Schedule Document. The Project Execution Management Team has the responsibility to review and approve the Baseline Schedule prior to the Project Manager's release. At a minimum, the approvers include the Project Manager, Engineering Manager, Procurement Manager, Construction Manager, and the Project Controls Manager.

 

 

3.5.2. Detailed Construction Schedule

 

The Detailed Construction Schedule is a further evolution of the construction phase as depicted Level 3 Detailed EPC Schedule Baseline. It represents a level of detail greater than the Level 3 EPC Schedule. This is a living schedule and detail is developed as design information is released and available to the Construction Management Team. This Schedule is used to identify the near term look-ahead schedules that are used in the craft planning and execution of construction work. This schedule is generally organized for Construction by WBS Area and Sub-area. As a general rule, Summary Level System Turnover and Commissioning activities will be detailed at approximately 50% progress of the construction phase. Work effort will then transition as appropriate to a systems completion focus rather than a work area focus.

 

 

3.5.3. Detailed Break-Out Schedules

 

These are often necessary to reflect an even greater level of detail for critical work or work that is complex and requires more than normal coordination between work groups. Break-out scheduling may be done as part of the project schedule, but can be done outside the formal schedule if the need for this level of coordination is very specific for a short term work effort.

 

 

3.6. Schedule Control

 

Schedule Control begins at the commencement of the project's work. The steps involved in control are:

 

- Monitoring the schedule activities for actual start and finish dates and projecting the remaining durations for work that is in process.

- Performance evaluations of progress and earned value.

- Schedule Analysis to determine critical path and schedule deviations from plan.

 

Schedule Control provides early indication of deviations from plan in order that corrective actions can be implemented to minimize schedule and cost impact to the project's performance.

 

 

3.7. Scheduling Change Management

 

The Change Management Process recognizes the importance of understanding the Projects Execution Plan/ Baseline and the identification and evaluation of the schedule and resource requirements associated with the changing scope or changing quantity basis. The schedule update must incorporate changes to accurately reflect the current scope of the project's work. Activity durations and resource requirements must be adjusted as changes are approved. This process ensures that the project schedule continues to function as an accurate model of the project's execution plan and the project forecast reflects current resource requirements.

 

 

3.8 Project Team Roles for Schedule Control

 

Project Manager

 

The PM leads the project team in planning activities that result in the preparation of all project schedules, and ensures that the schedules in each selected level are in sufficient detail to support requirements for project planning and that status and progress can be monitored during the life of the project.

 

Review all schedules, pursuing the following questions:

-  Is the level of detail sufficient so that contract line items, tasks, or WBS elements are shown on the schedule as specified in the contract?

- Are the milestone completion dates consistent with the contract requirements?

- Are the deliverables clearly identified?

- Do the schedules depict each project phase or other element as required by the contract?

- Based on knowledge of the project, do the schedules appear to be reasonable for tasks?

- Are the schedules realistic for the accomplishment of work within the planned time schedule?

- Have the primary critical path and secondary major critical path been clearly identified?

 

 

Project Planner/ Scheduler

 

The Project Planner/ Scheduler works with the management team in a coordinating role to develop the project plan and schedule in accordance with contract requirements and the Project Execution Plan. The Planner/ Scheduler updates schedule progress on all schedules, documenting actual starts, actual finishes and an estimate of remaining duration for those activities in progress. The Planner/ Scheduler will collect schedule status on the detailed schedule, either through scheduling meetings or marked-up copies of the schedule from responsible supervision. Following the update, the Planner/ Scheduler will perform time analysis to calculate the new CPM dates. After data validation of the update, and approval of the Project Manager or Construction Manager, the Planner/ Scheduler will distribute the updated schedule to project personnel.

 

The Planner/ Scheduler conducts performance evaluations, comparing planned progress and earned value against actual progress and earned value. Additionally, the Planner/ Scheduler performs schedule analysis to determine critical path, resource, and event deviations from the plan. Deviation identification is fundamental to understanding the direction and trends that the project is taking.

 

The Planner/ Scheduler prepares a schedule analysis report to the Project Team and the Project Controls Department management. The report is concise and itemizes deviations and future risks to the project schedule. The Project team should determine any corrective action requirements in order to minimize schedule and cost impacts to the plan.

 

The Planner/ Scheduler participates with the Controls Team to forecast the schedule and cost outcome of the project. Management reporting, as a result of the detailed schedule update will be performed, at a minimum, on a monthly basis.

 

Link to Section 1. Overview and Function of Project Controls

Link to Section 2. Project Cost Control

Link to Section 3. Project Planning and Schedule Control

Link to Section 4. Risk/ Contingency Management

Link to Section 5. Project Performance Measurement

Project Controls Procedure - Project Planning and Schedule Control

Communication

The importance of good communication. Or telepathy as the alternate!

Selected Articles

An “armchair scheduler” or frontline messenger?

Why Project Controls
P6 vs. MS Project

The two contenders. But which one is better?

Email: Friend/colleague?subject=Interesting link - Project Controls Procedure&body=Interesting link from Project Controls International:        http://www.projectcontrolsinternational.com/project-controls-procedure.html
Meetings

Love them or hate them. How to conduct successful productive meetings.

Funny, but true. Video on the functions of Project Controls.

Enjoy!

Settings do matter: pick the wrong settings and your schedule’s output will be meaningless.

What the text books didn’t tell you
Primavera P6 Settings
Video - Project Controls

Selected Articles

Tips on Scheduling

50% Science, 50% Art, 100% Communication

Why Project Controls?