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The DCMA 14 Point Assessment

Some schedules represent credible tasks logically and can be used for tracking progress, and some are art projects that may be pleasing to the eye but are primarily worthless.  Tired of dealing with vendors and programs trying to manage complex and expensive efforts using art projects, the US Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) developed and… Continue reading The DCMA 14 Point Assessment

Schedule Creation: Know The Difference Between A Picture And A Schedule

Schedule Creation/Validation Checklists Most commercially available scheduling tools support creating what are called “well-formed schedules” in the trade.  These are schedules that can predict project outcomes, monitor project progress, and recalculate task times based on status updates.  Because some organizations use schedules as pretty pictures rather than project management tools, these same commercial tools have… Continue reading Schedule Creation: Know The Difference Between A Picture And A Schedule

Basic Tips for Building a Schedule

Building a credible project schedule can be challenging, even for experienced professionals.  This essay explains a process I’ve refined and used with success for almost 30 years. Start with a well-defined project goal – There should be a clear written definition of the project that includes deliverables and success criteria before investing much time in… Continue reading Basic Tips for Building a Schedule

Risks vs. Opportunities & Three Point Estimating

I’m a long-time advocate of effective risk management.  I’ve done it, taught it, and written about it.  That said, formal risk management as described in PMI’s PMBOK® Guide has something that annoys me – conflation of risks (potential negative impact) and opportunities (potential positive impact) and suggesting both are equal fodder for risk management planning and management processes.  While I agree that risk and opportunities are related concepts, they tend to emerge and… Continue reading Risks vs. Opportunities & Three Point Estimating

Risk: Why Your Project Will Probably Be Late – and How Three Point Estimating Can Help

Abstract  Completing non-trivial projects on their originally promised date is such a rare occurrence that we often expect them to be late.  Although there are numerous valid reasons for exceeding schedule commitments, some of the most overlooked are structural risks associated with how the schedule was created and expectations were initially set.  This essay explores aspects of schedule creation… Continue reading Risk: Why Your Project Will Probably Be Late – and How Three Point Estimating Can Help

The Emptiness of Single Point Estimates

In freshman Physics, students learn not to report more precision in their answers than can be justified by the facts of the problem. Why are project managers still expected to report bogus completion dates that imply estimating precision that we don’t really have?  How long does it take you to go from your front door to… Continue reading The Emptiness of Single Point Estimates