Research Report on Project Schedule Management
Task: Select an appropriate article and prepare a research report on project schedule management.
The chosen article for the study in this report on project schedule management is “Incorporation of Activity Sensitivity Measures into Buffer Management to Manage Project Schedule Risk”. Project schedule management is an important component in the process of project management. Any project, big or small, is tied by a specific timeline that needs to be followed and the projects must be delivered within the deadline. Failing to maintain the timeline can lead to certain disastrous consequences including financial losses for the organization. However, it has been seen in many cases that due to lack of buffer, many projects often fail to complete within deadline as works get clogged up and the team members are unable to find a way out from the project. The article chosen has discussed about the issues in project scheduling and how effective buffer management can be done to ensure sufficient time is assigned to each work package in project and avoid missing deadlines of the project.
The objective of this paper is to critique the information that has been published by the selected article and add some additional information and analysis regarding the same.
According to the authors of the article, project schedule management for most of the complex projects are often extremely variable in nature . As a result, in spite of prior planning of project schedule, the project is often not completed within the deadline. On the other hand, the paper also states the variance in schedule is often not tracked properly resulting in missing deadlines of the project.
The article has been on point when it states that due to the constant changes in dynamic market, more and more constraints are coming into effect for the project as a result, it is getting more and more difficult to monitor the actual schedule of the project. Constraints like scarcity of resources, uncertainties and complexity of network make the project difficult to control within the predetermined schedule. The authors here claimed that traditional project schedule management techniques like Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Management (CPM) are no longer efficient means of managing and controlling the project schedule as per requirements. The authors have argued that these methods are way too simple for complex projects and do not take into consideration various complexities and constraints that arise during the projects. However, what the authors have failed to do here is to categorize the projects that fit the claims. It can be noted here that not all projects act in the same way and the constraints and issues that the authors have discussed are not applicable for small scale projects that do not depend much on market conditions and other external factors. Instead, the authors have just went ahead to apply the theory to all projects in general, which is definitely not true.
However, for complex projects of industrial scale, the concern is really valid. Every year, organizations lose millions of dollars due to not fulfilling the schedule and missing deadlines in projects. In addition to financial losses, many projects do not complete at all and result in disastrous failure for the organization that can even lead to bankruptcy. Hence, it is extremely important to consider the variables in the schedule for better control of the project. The authors of the article have chosen to discuss Critical Chain Scheduling and Buffer Management (CC/BM). The authors have mentioned that this technique is proven to be effective and popular among project managers and have also discussed how this technique works. The authors have mentioned that the main fundamental behind this particular technique is developing a project schedule management that is feasible in terms of the resources. This model is made robust by utilizing different types of buffers within the schedule. Some of these buffers include resource buffer, feeding buffer and project buffer. According to the authors, with this robust model, instead of schedule monitoring, the buffer monitoring needs to be done that saves a lot of time and effort. The schedule performance can easily be evaluated based on the results developed by monitoring the buffers. In other words, the size and performance of these buffers help to identify any risks with the schedule that is being followed in the project.
The authors have explained the model extremely well backed up by graphical representations and calculations related to the schedule performances of a project. As a result, they have come up with very valid arguments regarding how to control the overall performance of the schedule. However, a major drawback in their discussion is that they have not even once mentioned or discussed about the initial scheduling process that might affect the project performance later on. According to many authors and researchers in project management, the root cause of failure of a project schedule lies in the planning phase itself. According to , the projects lose their way during execution due to major inaccuracy in the schedule developed and followed. As an example, a particular work for a project might require 15 days but during planning, only 5 days are allocated to the same. As a result, when the project reaches that stage, lag starts and the rest of the project also gets delayed. The authors of the article have not mentioned anything about this issues and just proceeds on with the application of different models without investigating the root causes of the delays and how they can be solved.
According to authors , many of the schedule related project in project can even be solved using traditional techniques like PERT and CPM if they are applied correctly and appropriately in the planning of the project schedule. The authors have mentioned that instead of applying advanced and complex models like schedule buffers and others, the root causes of project delays need to be first removed with the help of traditional scheduling techniques. The authors have also pointed out that the PERT technique can easily notify the project manager about the buffers using simple slack times and early / late starts and finishes and use of any other complex model is unnecessary this case. Finally, the authors have mentioned that if anyone feels the need to control the schedule while the project is already underway, he needs to reevaluate his project planning strategies as the main issues lie in that part only.
Finally, it can be said regarding the selected article is that the authors have given in a lot of insight regarding project schedule management that includes graphical representations and illustrations throughout the article. As a result, the points they have put forward in their paper are easy to understand for all and they have also put forward a large number of valid points that need to be considered. However, the main drawback of the article is that it focuses too much on higher level study and fails to get a grip on the basics . The authors have rejected the importance and use of traditional methods right at the start of the project and have failed to value the importance of planning in the project schedule management. Hence, although the article contains a lot of information regarding project schedule management, it can never be considered as a complete research article due to lack of study of the basics before proceeding to the higher levels. Use of mathematical models, simulations, experimental studies and performance measurement have enriched the entire paper and it can be good source of literature for the students in project management but for established project managers, the importance of this article is still limited. Further studies regarding the arguments placed by the authors is recommended that need to focus on integrating the traditional methods with the models discussed and explained by the authors in the article.
The article that has been chosen for study in this report talks mainly about the issues in project scheduling and how effective buffer management can be done for ensuring successful delivery of the project within the predetermined deadline. As per the initial claims made by the authors of the article, traditional project schedule management techniques like Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Management (CPM) are not efficient for managing schedules in projects as the project landscape has changed globally. The authors have mentioned about the simplicity of the methods and their inability to address constraints arising constantly in major and large scale projects. One of the models that the authors have chosen to discuss regarding project schedule management is Critical Chain Scheduling and Buffer Management (CC/BM). The authors have claimed the effectiveness and popularity of this model among project managers and have also conducted a detailed study on the working of this model. The authors have mentioned that the main fundamental behind this particular technique is developing a schedule that is feasible in terms of the resources. However, the authors have their limitations in their study that has been discussed and mentioned in the report. Other than the limitations, the article can be considered as a reliable source of information related to project schedule management.
- Hu, N. Cui, E. Demeulemeester, and L. Bie. "Incorporation of activity sensitivity measures into buffer management to manage project schedule risk." European Journal of Operational Research249, no. 2 (2016): 717-727.
- Liu, S. H. E. N. Xue, and T. Wu. "Analysis of Common Project Schedule Management Methods." DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Scienceemass (2018).
- Ding. "Grasp the Pulse of Project Schedule Management." In Key Project Management Based on Effective Project Thinking, pp. 189-212. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2016.
- Miranda and V. N. Helia. "Project Schedule Evaluation Using Project Manegement Software: A Case Study in an Electric Steam Power Plant in Indonesia." In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, vol. 598, no. 1, p. 012075. IOP Publishing, 2019.