Technical Program Abstracts

(PS) Planning and Scheduling

NOTE: Program Subject to Change

(PS-3047) The Art of Decoding Manipulated Schedules for Forensic Schedule Analysis

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Gayathri J. Shetty; Rachel Domingo, PSP

Time/Room: TUE 2:15-3:15/Rhythms 3


The project schedule is a necessary tool in performing most delay analysis methodologies. Its usability and reliability depend on the integrity and accuracy of the project schedule. Schedule manipulations can result in inaccurate or multiple critical paths, unrealistic forecasted dates, and an overall misrepresentation of the project status. Therefore, it is crucial for delay experts to be able to verify and validate that the project schedule is a reasonable and accurate representation of the contract scope, terms and conditions, and progress status. Additionally, it is important to identify whether manipulations to the project schedule have been performed, or if it was generated to create or support a claim. Identifying and addressing these manipulations will allow the delay expert to then use the project schedule to reveal an accurate depiction of the cause and quantification of delay(s).

The purpose of this paper is to present a ‘checklist’ of red flags that signify potential schedule manipulation, so that corrections can be made, or alternative analyses can be considered. Specific case studies will be presented to illustrate the effect of the manipulation and to provide an example of the corrections applied as recommended by AACE International’s RP-29R-03, SVP 2.3 (2.3. Schedule Updates: Validation, Rectification, and Reconstruction).


(PS-3082) Float Consumption and Resiliency Theory Put into Practice

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Greg M. Hall, PSP

Time/Room: SUN 2:15-3:15/Rhythms 3


A frequent source of disagreement between owner and contractor is the quantification of delay using an additive time impact analysis such as that described in Recommended Practice 52R-06.  Owners are hesitant to grant time extension when they believe a contractor can revise Resource Driven Logic (RDL) to partially or fully mitigate the impact of a delay.  While most project management teams can successfully use this method early in a project, they often run out of mitigation options as the job progresses.

The 2018 Technical Paper PS-2871: A Realistic Look at Float Consumption, introduced and explored several metrics for identifying Schedule Resiliency, a measure of how readily a Critical Path Method (CPM) schedule can be adjusted to accommodate delay.  PS-2871 explored the theory using one example project.

This paper will further explore the concepts of average Relationship Free Float (RFF) on RDL, activity free float density factor, and Schedule Performance Index (SPI) correlation.  The goal of this research is to reduce time impact disputes using resiliency metrics to identify that point in a project when “free” mitigation through adjustments to RDL is no longer feasible.


(PS-3086) (Panel Discussion) The Great Debate: Owners vs. Contractors - Are We Done Yet?

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Jeffrey Milo, PSP; John P. Orr, PSP

Time/Room: MON 4:00-5:00/Nottoway


CPM scheduling has become a standard requirement in construction contracts between owners and contractors.  These parties are all too frequently at odds during the effort to prepare a single schedule that meets both their needs.  Sometimes the rules (in the form of contract specifications and recommended practices) can obscure rather than enlighten this process.  One of the greatest causes of contention and misunderstanding is disagreement on what is required to finish a project, and what the word done really means.  This session will pick up where the AACE 2017 Great Debate: The Contract Schedule – Owners vs. Contractors left off: with a contractor scheduling manager and an owner representative discussing and comparing their interests, goals, actions, and scheduling options during project closeout.  This debate will include such topics as substantial & final completion, partial or beneficial occupancy, a contractor’s right to finish early, commissioning & closeout, change management, the punchlist, and liquidated damages.  Although presented in the format of a debate, the goal of this session is not to determine a winner, but to observe differences and reach agreement (or at least an understanding) surrounding shared goals and viable solutions that benefit both parties.  A properly utilized CPM schedule is a tool – not a contest – that should serve the interests of both owner and contractor.


(PS-3087) Examining Schedule Performance in Phase Transitions on Vertical Construction Projects

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Daniel P. Gilmour, PSP; Matthew L. Pringle, PSP

Time/Room: TUE 10:15-11:15/Rhythms 1


On many vertical building construction projects, poor schedule performance trends often coincide with periods of phase transition.  For example, schedule execution commonly suffers as projects transition from the structural phase of construction to building enclosure and interior buildout. Utilizing eleven recently constructed vertical building projects as case studies, this paper will analyze historical schedule data using both deterministic and probabilistic methodologies to identify schedule performance and execution trends.  Using these case study models, the authors will examine possible root causes for schedule performance declines in phase transition including institutional tunnel vision, schedule development, project management staff scoping responsibilities, phase pre-planning, and subcontractor coordination. Finally, this paper will offer strategies and potential solutions to combat negative schedule performance trends in periods of phase transition for future vertical building construction projects.


(PS-3101) Schedule Trend Control Charts in Excel

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Bryan Eaton, CCP PSP

Time/Room: MON 2:15-3:15/Oak Alley


Schedule analysts should go beyond the basics of updating and providing a Gantt chart with a critical path.  They should provide project teams and project management with insight into the health of the project through trend analysis and assist in identifying specific activities contributing to the deterioration of the health of the project.  The standard schedule reporting features are limited and typically not user-friendly.  Often activity trend analysis and schedule quality metrics are not provided but can be purchased for specific schedule platforms and versions.  This paper presents schedule trend control charts developed using copy/paste of schedule data into a Microsoft Excel workbook.  The charts include Trend of Total Float, an S-curve based on finish date and milestone trends as well as associated analytical techniques.  The charts are primarily designed for the schedule analyst but can be presented to management.


(PS-3112) Capital Improvement Program Stage-Gate Planning & Scheduling

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Mir M. Ahmad; Christopher W. Carson, CEP DRMP PSP FAACE

Time/Room: WED 10:30-11:30/Rhythms 1


Proper capital improvement project (CIP) planning is crucial for the successful accomplishment of projects; however, often CIP planning and scheduling is done poorly leading to negative outcomes. At the inception of a CIP, there is rarely enough information available to develop comprehensive schedules, so commonly they are not developed until the design is complete, resulting in an adverse impact to the program and business strategic goals. Without good planning, there is no targeted timeline of assets generating revenue, potential spending, future capital budgeting, and financing. A successful approach, used for a process-oriented $100M CIP, is the stage-gate planning & scheduling approach in which project schedules were developed using a two-part schedule technique; developing an preliminary schedule, which is an early detailed schedule to cover work to the sanction stage, and beyond that a high-level schedule  based upon benchmarking or historical data, which is then progressively elaborated to the second part schedule with more detail as scope matures. This paper demonstrates the practical approach to the successful adoption of stage-gate planning and scheduling.

The authors, working for an ENR Top 50 program management firm ranked at #14 in June 2018, have developed a successful and efficient method of planning and scheduling capital programs, following the AACE Total Cost Management Framework and recommended practices.  This paper will provide detailed guidelines for setting up the CIP stage-gate process, developing the two-part scheduling technique, a useful baseline & re-baselining approach, benefits of stage-gate planning, analyzing the integrated CIP schedule, and the key performance indicators (KPI) reporting in accordance with the stage-gate approach.


(PS-3120) Integrating the Last Planner System® into the Critical Path Method Schedule

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Jonathan R. Hunt; Hannah E. Schumacher, PSP

Time/Room: MON 10:15-11:15/Nottoway


Lean construction practices are becoming prevalent in the construction industry. However, the success and methodology of implementation is varied. This paper outlines a functioning methodology of best practices to implement elements of the Last Planner System® (LPS) from the Lean Construction Institute in conjunction with critical path method (CPM) scheduling. This methodology realizes the benefits of both systems for project management.

In this paper the authors will describe the process for integrating the information derived in pull planning sessions into a baseline schedule to provide not only the high-level plan for the job, but also the detailed level execution planning for production monitoring. They will delve in to managing the CPM relationships and activity IDs to maintain schedule integrity for baseline comparison for future evaluation.

They will demonstrate the use of 6-week look ahead schedules and weekly work plans based on the updated schedule. The review of the execution of those weekly work plans based on the planned percent complete and the reasons for variance against the plan. The trending of these variances will be used to identify and mitigate on-going production issues and strive for continuous improvement.


(PS-3141) Benchmarking As-Built Lags

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Ronald M. Winter, PSP FAACE

Time/Room: WED 9:15-10:15/Rhythms 1


As-built schedules contain more than dates when an activity actually started and finished – they also contain that same information for relationships.  Relationships have as-built start and finish dates.  This gives rise to a different kind of schedule forensic analysis; As-Built Lag Analysis.

When the schedule planner decides that a CPM relationship lag other than zero best describes the intended logical relationship between two activities, how often does that given lag actually result in the planned delay between activities? How often does the standard Finish-to-Start relationship with a 0 day lag actually result in a Finish-to-Start with a negative days lag?  Is there a pattern in actual usage? 

How well are planned versus actual relationship lags managed?  No one knows because no one measures them.  Hundreds of papers have been written about planned versus actual activity durations.  How come no one has thought to measure planned versus actual relationship durations?  Now, someone has.


(PS-3149) (Panel Discussion) The Scheduling Truth or Lie Game - Fellows Edition

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Christopher W. Carson, CEP DRMP PSP FAACE; Julie K. Owen, CCP PSP FAACE; Sean T. Regan, CCP CEP EVP PSP FAACE; James G. Zack, Jr. CFCC FAACE Hon. Life; Richard Selg, CCP FAACE; Neil D. Opfer, CCP CEP PSP FAACE

Time/Room: SUN 4:00-5:00/Rhythms 1


This will be a panel discussion, no paper, to have a fun-filled event using resources from the Fellows Committee.  Chris Carson will moderate the panel discussion, and there will be three "Truthers" who are experienced schedulers to give examples of hard-to-believe stories related to Planning & Scheduling.  Our panel of two "Interrogators" will each take one side, truth or lie, and cross-examine the Truthers in an effort to uncover the fake truth.  After the rigorous interrogation is over, the audience will vote on the truth of the story.  No scheduler resources will be damaged in this discussion.

The goal is to demonstrate the wide variety of scheduling situations that an experienced scheduler will run into, show how good a scheduler must be at reporting the facts, and see if the audience can tell the difference between the schedulers' "Truth or Lie".


(PS-3181) Who Owns the Dates of the Procurement Package Status Report? - Practical Application on Mega Project

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Lise Bouchard, CCP; Stefan M. Sonnenberg, PSP

Time/Room: MON 11:30-12:30/Oak Alley


It is not unusual when executing projects to have differences between the procurement package status report dates and the procurement schedule which causes confusion and often discredit the schedule as the single source of truth. But who owns the dates shown in the procurement status report? When executing a megaproject with thousands of activities and hundreds of procurement packages, it is crucial to develop an effective process to update, align and forecast the contract and procurement packages dates. This paper discusses a practical application on a mega project on how the procurement team and the planning team worked together to develop a bi-directional interface and related process to analyze and integrate the dates from the schedule and the contract and procurement package status report to ensure both tools are aligned, and impacts of any changes are adequately captured and effectively to deliver better outcomes for the project.


(PS-3217) Mastering Out-of-Sequence Progress – Part 3

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Ronald M. Winter, PSP FAACE

Time/Room: WED 8:00-9:00/Rhythms 1


Identifying out-of-sequence progress in the real-world can be the key to understanding disruption and productivity loss.  This is a current CPM ”hot topic”.  Now significant, new information and unusual situations involving out-of-sequence progress have been discovered since last year’s conference.

Certain cases of out-of-sequence events have been impossible to identify until now.  This paper explains a new technique to identify all cases of out-of-sequence progress, even previously undetectable inactive indirect out-of-sequence activities.  An even larger database of schedules is cataloged and presented as more accurate benchmarks.  These benchmarks can be easily applied to rate other schedules to evaluate their degree of out-of-sequence progress.

Last year, better out-of-sequence progress reporting using P6 software was introduced. This year learn how to add out-of-sequence progress reporting to Microsoft Project. The instructions included here are all that is needed to add this feature to any MS Project software (and for free)!


(PS-3243) Which Schedule Quality Assessment Metrics to Use? …and When?

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Shoshanna Fraizinger, CCP

Time/Room: SUN 2:15-3:15/Rhythms 1


Multiple resources exist which provide guidance for evaluating schedule quality, including:

•             NASA Schedule Management Handbook

•             DCMA 14 Point Assessment

•             GAO Schedule Assessment Guide

There are also many software-based tools which can be used to interrogate the schedule for quality validation or improvement. However, there appears to be a gap in the body of guidance and tools with respect to defining the extent of application of said guidance and tools. 

Quality reviews are most often performed on schedules produced for project authorization (i.e., a Class 3 schedule as per the RP 27 R-03 - Schedule Classification System). But, what if the schedule relates to:

•             An earlier phase of project definition?

•             A Class 2 cost estimate?

•             Analysis required for megaproject risk profiling?

In these instances, standard metrics and software defaults may result in too much, or too little information.

Using general principles of RP 27R-03, this paper intends to propose a scaled correlation of schedule health check metrics to the schedule classifications characterized within RP 27 R-03 - Schedule Classification System. The basis of this proposal draws upon recent project reviews in support of risk profile and cost estimate validation, with reference to the works of subject matter experts and industry guidance.


(PS-3244) Understanding Risk in Design-Build Schedules

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Jessica Colbert, PSP; Kimberly D. Forbes, PSP

Time/Room: TUE 4:00-5:00/Rhythms 1


From 2013 to 2017, the value of design-build construction put in place within the United States grew nearly 43%. The dollars projected to be spent in this market through 2021 is expected to grow another 26%, reaching approximately $324B. [1] The design-build delivery method presents additional challenges to the development and management of a project schedule. Detailed scope is under development for the first phase of the project and as more information becomes available, design and construction operation plans change.  Unlike a schedule for a traditional design-bid-build project, a design-build schedule can be extremely volatile in its early stages.  This paper highlights the added variables to schedule management present in the design-build delivery method and evaluates the inherent schedule risks during each phase of a design-build project. The authors provide insights to both design-builders and owners to better understand how schedule risk evolves through each design-build phase based on the authors’ experiences with the design-build delivery method in public transportation projects.


(PS-3255) The Benefits of the Linear Scheduling Method for Reviewing Non-Linear Projects

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Stanko Pavlovic, P.Eng. PSP

Time/Room: MON 11:30-12:30/Nottoway


In almost every country, especially North America, project teams use Primavera P6 or Microsoft Project to create critical path method schedules. Projects can be very complex and so detailed that their schedules can exceed 50,000 activities. Verifying the logic, duration, critical path and finish dates of most crucial activities using the traditional Gantt charts or linear precedence diagrams can be a cumbersome and overwhelming exercise.

Linear schedules combine time and location to give management teams for certain projects, such as roads and pipelines, a smarter and easier way to review, optimize and update their project execution plans.  Unfortunately, not all projects are linear in nature.

This presentation provides a vision and a guideline to transform non-linear projects into linear schedules in order to print one picture that could be worth more than a thousand words.


(PS-3261) Reporting Tool P6 Visualizer

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Marina G. Sominsky, PSP

Time/Room: SUN 1:00-2:00/Rhythms 3


The reporting tool called P6 Visualizer℠ was released by Oracle® over half a decade ago but is not widely used despite having decidedly customizable functionality.

Connecting to a Primavera P6 database, Visualizer can be installed and launched as a stand-alone application allowing schedule review without the necessity of having Primavera P6 installed. Furthermore, it extends the native, built-in P6 reporting capabilities through customizable Gantt charts, grids, and timescaled logic diagrams. In addition, P6 Visualizer now houses the Schedule Comparison tool formally known as Claim Digger.

This paper provides a comprehensive overview on the creation of user-designed layouts and reports, using P6 Visualizer for different scenarios and providing an enhanced examination of a project’s status information. It also shows examples of automating P6 Visualizer reports with output to a printer or file.


(PS-3283) The Habits of Highly Effective Scheduling

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Sylvia M. Donado

Time/Room: SUN 1:00-2:00/Bayside B


Projects are becoming more and more complex and costly, requiring greater attention to the management of both time and resources. Critical path method and other scheduling concepts, tools, and techniques are applicable to the majority of industries that rely on planning and scheduling professionals to effectively manage work. CPM and PERT methodologies were originally developed in the 1950’s however, it was in the 1970’s that CPM gained momentum by being a method used by both plaintiffs and defendants to prove cases in construction delay claims.

In today’s more complex times, life has become more segmented. Various skill sets have become divided for instance, there was a time when the artist was also the engineer and mathematician. There are some of the principles used in scheduling that bring those overall project management skills and needs together. These principles can be used to effectively communicate the plan, establish production goals, monitor and manage progress and manage change in projects and programs.


(PS-3293) Lessons Learned on Integrating Linear Schedule with the CPM Schedule

Author(s)/Presenters(s): Kristy Kastner, PSP

Time/Room: MON 2:15-3:15/Nottoway


“How does Linear Scheduling Method work?  Can it be effectively used in conjunction with Critical Path Method (CPM) Scheduling?”  The standard Gantt chart and long list of activities are not clearly understood by many project team members and do not clearly depict the plan to achieve key milestones.  This paper covers the lessons learned while importing the traditional CPM schedule with the linear schedule on a large multi-year design-build project.

Whether used by a scheduler or a project team member, linear scheduling is a powerful tool for all members to grasp a mega-project schedule’s location versus time correlation.  It also excels in communicating expected production rates in a single page document.  This paper uses examples from a transportation project to identify lessons learned from a pre-bid analysis.  The reader can learn how a single page linear schedule can properly represent the full project scope and is worthwhile to pinpoint schedule issues and flaws.

Events and Education