Content – one of The 3 Cs
In a recent article we introduced the 3Cs for a Proper Plan:
As promised, we will elaborate on each beginning with Content and by Content we mean SCOPE.
Does the schedule represent a meaningful, realistic view of project execution?
This wasn’t an idle question when we last asked it and whilst you might consider scope as being just the work, it isn’t. The scope of work needs to take account of all of the tasks, all of the dependencies, all of the constraints all of the implicit parameters and all of the expectations of the parties, that need to be understood in order to create an effective schedule.
If the schedule is not appropriate to the works or is unachievable or not credible, then there are grounds for it to be rejected. Sadly many schedules do not achieve this, even sadder, many inadequate schedules are not recognised and the result is that they fail to help achieve to a successful outcome or, worse, contribute significantly to failure.
So how planners ensure that they have captured the entire scope?
We suggest that this begins with a review of all the available materials such as works information, the functional requirements, the technical specification, construction drawings, the contract, the bid assumptions; this should be enhanced by the project team’s experience of similar works.
Pay particular attention to implicit, process related tasks. Buried in the contractual small print and perhaps mentioned just once may be a 20-day review entitlement for all document submissions, consider the possibility of rework and resubmission following rejection and then take a look at all the deliverables this could affect. This is just one example of implicit tasks which, if overlooked, will massively impact actual dates.
Having thus established what the schedule should contain, consider what will hamper delivery. Procurement lead times, seasonal weather conditions, labour availability and location are just some of the factors that could be identified as limitations.
Now it should be possible to establish realistic durations and identify the logical dependencies.
You have the foundations for a decent schedule. How you build that schedule and how you use it to communicate effectively, will be the subject of future articles on the other two Cs Construction and Clarity.
A few words of caution;
Firstly, we’ve been very simplistic, you could develop a more comprehensive checklist (and we have), but a checklist will only tell you what you need to do and have done; it won’t do it for you. That’s technique!
Secondly, even good planning rarely goes to plan. We’ve discussed what material can be used, but not the preceding adjective in an earlier paragraph – “available materials”. You can’t build your perfect schedule in a vacuum and if key materials are not available to the planner in good time, then no amount of personal thoroughness or technique can compensate!
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