What Defines a Good Project Schedule?

Friday, 25 January 2013
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As featured in Oracle Profit Magazine.

Acumen’s solutions offer a complete project management tool set to Oracle Primavera customers.

At Acumen, a sound schedule is the key to a successful project—and an exceptional project manager. However, the definition of a good schedule is fluid. Every planning department has a different set of standards, thresholds and tripwires that determine schedule quality. How can two companies—contractor and owner, for example—decide on a fair standard or make consistent project decisions? oracle-profit-magazine

According to Acumen’s chief executive officer and president, Dr. Dan Patterson, the integrity of the critical path method (CPM) schedule—an integral factor in the reliability of subsequent resource loading, cost engineering, risk modeling and overall project execution performance—is the key to ensuring project success. He also believes that in accurately forecasting project completion, a realistic, risk-adjusted schedule is much more valuable than a deterministic schedule. We sat down with Patterson to discuss how Acumen’s core concepts, methodology, and products work hand-in-hand to consistently create sound schedules, on-time and on-budget projects, and, ultimately, successful project managers.

What is the Acumen Fuse Schedule Index?

Dr. Dan Patterson Recognizing the need for a standard measure of schedule quality, Acumen created the award-winning Fuse Schedule Index™. The Fuse Schedule Index is made up of nine different schedule quality checks and their proven thresholds. Each of these key indicators is individually calculated and weighted before being compiled into the Index. Standard thresholds have been established to help you determine if your project makes the cut or not. Since its invention, the Index has been built into the Acumen software platform, used as the basis for cloud-based benchmarking, and offered as part of a free web utility that all planners can access.

What is the impact of the Fuse Schedule Index on project management?

With the adoption of the Fuse Schedule Index among both owner and contractor organizations, an alignment of expectations and communication between the parties has been established, and the practice of creating sound, reliable schedules has been elevated. This increased demand from both owners—the people who invest capital to get projects going—and contractors, the people who invest their expertise to get project done, only demonstrates that standardization is necessary and successful. It is now generally accepted that the higher the quality of a project schedule, the higher chance the project will be executed smoothly and to agreed-upon expectations. Tied to this, being able to consistently score projects while accounting for the core building blocks of a schedule provides a repeatable and defendable means of objectively critiquing a project plan.

“Acumen Fuse® integrates with all versions of Primavera giving you a comprehensive look at the quality of your plan and realism of your risk model, and additionally allows you to easily visualize and report on execution performance.”

- Dr. Dan Patterson, PMP, Chief Executive Officer and President of Acumen

How has Acumen’s schedule solution become a market leader?

The Fuse Schedule Index is quickly becoming the standard in schedule quality. It has been widely adopted by organizations spanning oil and gas; engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC); government; and aerospace and defense. Acumen’s goal is to continue to provide avenues to elevate project planning quality across the board and standardization of scheduling best practices, particularly voluntary standardization, can help solve the long-standing problem of consistent project failure across industries. Better scheduling yields better projects.

How does Acumen provide added value to Primavera customers?

Acumen Fuse integrates with all versions of Primavera giving you a comprehensive look at the quality of your plan and realism of your risk model, and additionally allows you to easily visualize and report on execution performance. With the addition of Acumen Risk™, you can ensure a realistic schedule by accounting for uncertainty and risk, and with Acumen 360™ you can generate accelerated schedules. Acumen ensures your Primavera plan leads you to project perfection.

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