Project Management and Control
The key to successful project management is information. The HCP Deep Schedule Analysis report provides all of the critical management insight necessary to thoroughly understand and effectively manage any project.
Until now, project managers were only aware of the longest path in a schedule, i.e., the critical path. However, focusing only on the critical path ignores a vast amount of key information critical to the project's success.
Like focusing only on the tip of an iceberg, 90% of what you need to know is hidden below the surface of your schedule. The HCP Deep Schedule Analysis report highlights all the hidden critical paths and hidden critical tasks which demand your close attention.
The following are some real-world examples of how the report provides invaluable project management insight in a number of different scenarios.
Use Case Examples
- Discover when the critical path is not the longest path: The HCP Deep Schedule Analysis of a complex highway project involving three bridges and two tunnels revealed that the longest path in the schedule was not identical to the conventional critical path! This surprising revelation is actually not rare in large projects. The project manager greatly enhanced his control over the project by focusing on both the 20 tasks within the critical path and on the 75 tasks within the longest path in the schedule.
- Highlight tasks for special management attention: This same highway project contained a total of 1589 tasks with a total duration of 850 days. The HCP analysis revealed 44 hidden near-critical paths, i.e. paths with a duration float of 81 days or less (less than 10% of the entire project duration). These 44 paths contained 53 tasks, the importance of which were previously hidden in the "depths" of the schedule. With this key information, the project manager was able to focus most of his attention on only 9% of all tasks in the schedule (namely, the 20 tasks in the critical path, the 75 tasks in the longest path and the 53 tasks in the hidden near-critical paths). The improved resource, risk and performance management this allowed brought the project to a successful conclusion.
- Identify difficult-to-track tasks: The HCP Deep Schedule Analysis of this same highway project example identified 141 tasks which had the potential to go over schedule because of the difficulty to track and control them. With this valuable information, the project manager was able to divide these tasks into small sub-tasks which were far easier to track and control.
- Increase schedule integrity: An HCP analysis of a prison facility construction project schedule identified 15 cases of tasks not connected to any successors, five cases of tasks with calendar inconsistencies and two cases of problematic start-to-finish links between tasks. After addressing these problems in the schedule, the integrity and quality of the schedule was improved dramatically.
- Shorten the schedule: An HCP analysis of a sports stadium construction schedule identified six lags and three constraints which directly impact the critical path of a schedule. After examining each of these cases, two of the lags and one of the constraints were eliminated, resulting in a three-week reduction in the overall duration of the project.
- Ensure accurate management perspective: A project manager for a complex bridge construction project was initially certain that the most critical aspects of the schedule were the steel elements in the bridge. Furthermore, he believed that the concrete segments of the bridge were not critical to the schedule. The HCP analysis report revealed that he was correct about the importance of the steel elements, but it also revealed that the concrete segments constituted a hidden critical path only eight days shorter than the critical path. Because he realized that this made the concrete aspects of the plan much too risky, he altered the schedule to ensure a float of 60 days for the concrete-related tasks in the schedule.
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