Does Your Project Schedule Have Too Much Detail?

By Michael Lepage, PlanAcademy

“These submittal activities are screwing everything up,” I told my boss. “The project’s Critical Path is completely messed up.”

There were 576 submittals to log. Each one took 2 lines in my P6 schedule. That was an extra 1,152 activities to manage and update, a lot of extra work from my perspective. I didn’t like this notion.

“The Owner’s guy want to see those details or he won’t approve the project schedule,” my boss told me. Like me, he disagreed with the whole approach of putting every submittal on the project schedule. It was too much detail.

The Owner insisted. Or his scheduling consultant did.

“We want as much detail as possible on the project schedule,” the consultant told us.

We tried to push back and explain that the submittals items added nothing to overall schedule work plan. He insisted. Bigger battles, eh. So what could we do?

I knew it wasn’t going to pretty. I worked some serious Excel magic to import all 1,152 submittal activities into Primavera P6, all the while hating how this extra detail was going to mess up my Critical Path that was so clear. Arg!

Forty years ago, you would never find a project schedule that had too much detail and was overrun with tasks and logic. In those days, scheduling was either done with pen and pencil or on early computers that couldn’t handle the large amount of calculations.

Today, it’s no wonder we see enormous detailed project schedules, in the range of 20,000+ activities. The technology has enabled us to add infinite detail and computers can handle it easily – sometimes much more detail than is necessary or reasonable.

I’ve seen many projects that become so large that the scheduler cannot maintain them. The result is that they

  • fall behind in making regular updates
  • are unable to properly integrate change requests
  • are hesitant to make adjustments
  • become enslaved to managing too much detail – things then go off the rails

If your schedule has too much detail, you’re likely to end up completely overwhelmed in trying to maintain it, at peril to the project. You become a data-entry clerk, not a project controller. Keeping up with updates and changes takes all of your time. Then there is no time for assessing, forecasting and analyzing project performance.

As my special guest reveals in the video below, the key to this problem is understanding your confidence in the schedule and the level of detail. What is your confidence in the project schedule and the level of detail? – A question you need to be constantly asking yourself as you build and work with your project schedule.

I’ve invited Dr. Saleh Mubarak, author of Construction Project Scheduling and Control, to weigh-in on this question in this month’s Ask PlanAcademy video.

Click here to watch the video --> Project Schedules: How Much Detail Is Too Much?

Source LinkedIn Pulse

Tags: Primavera , Planning
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