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CSM 8630

Assignment – 1

Arup Bhattacharya (arupb@clemson.edu)

1. Define Project Planning and Scheduling. Differentiate between the two terms.

Project Planning: Process of establishing total scope of work, define and refine the objectives to
complete the total scope and develop a course of action required to attain those defined objectives
to complete the project within the constrained time and budget.

Project Scheduling: It is the process of determining the timing and sequences of operations
required to complete the project. The assembly of these timing and sequences of operations give
the overall project duration.

Project planning covers all the aspects of a project like what actions are required, how those can
be done, where the location of the actions is, who can do it, how much resources are required
and when all of these should be done. The scheduling part, on the other hand, deals with only the
‘when’ aspect, i.e. the timing of all the needed operations. Project Planning defines the constraints
of the activities to be performed. Scheduling calculates the timing of the actions with all those
constraints involved.

2. Define a project. What makes planning and scheduling construction projects different than
general planning?

Project: A temporary and carefully planned endeavor undertaken to accomplish a unique product
or service within defined scope and resources.

General Planning can be defined as a tool that prepares an individual or an organization for
different aspects of the future. For example, a Chinese undergrad student who wishes to pursue
his graduate studies in the USA, has plan to write the GRE and TOEFL and has set up his
schedules according to the application deadlines. Also, he has his plans to cover for the expenses
of his education in the USA. This kind of plans are generally common (the same kind of
preparations for the exams, the similar ways of sending application document to the university
etc.) to all aspirants, though may vary slightly individually.
Whereas, construction project planning and scheduling is directing the efforts towards a unique
outcome, for every different project. Also, every time one has to plan and eventually schedule a
construction project, there are constraints, mainly money and time. No two projects are same.
Having said that, there are no formulated ‘templates’ that can be used for every project, unlike
the ‘general’ kind of preparation required to write the GRE.

3. Define a portfolio and a program in the context of project management. Give examples of
each.

Portfolio: An assemblage of different projects or programs and other works, managed by a single
entity to achieve effective management in order to meet strategic business goals. The projects
involved in a portfolio may not necessarily be interrelated.

Example: A small company which does projects in Steel Plants as well as in Power Plants. It also
has a segment that consults in stock market investing. The owner of the company wants to
achieve a total sales turnover of $2M by the end of FY2018 – 19 from $1.8M by end of FY 2017
– 18. In order to realize this goal, the Steel Plant project unit and Power Plant project unit prepare
to bid for new project, emphasize on completing the milestones from existing projects. The
investment consulting section also prepares for an expansion of its customer base. All these
involves different projects or programs, but also has some related segments. For example, the
engineering team designs for both the plants. These three works are not entirely interrelated, but
is managed by the same management in order to achieve the business target.

Program: A congregation of related projects, managed by a single entity in order to obtain


benefits and control that could not have been done if those projects were managed individually.

Example: A new township is being constructed in downtown Delhi, India. The construction of
buildings and roads are in the same package, executed by the same company. The HVAC system
and the MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing) is being executed by a different organization and
the interior design of the residential complex is being performed by some design firm (different
from the previous two). All these project packages are interrelated and directed towards the same
goal of completion of the township by the contract-stipulated time and budget. This program may
also consist the subsequent maintenance of the township facilities, which is another part of the
same program, but it is of continuous nature.
4. What is Project Management Plan? Give an example.

Project Management Plan: “Formal, approved document that defines how the project is
executed, monitored and controlled. It may be a summary or detailed and may consist of one or
more subsidiary management plans and other planning documents. The objective of a project
management plan is to define the approach to be used by the project team to deliver the intended
project management scope of the project.” (PMBOK – 2008)

Example: A new Rolling Mill is being set up at a Steel plant and Primetals has been awarded to
carry out the execution. Primetals’ project manager conducts meeting with the project team and
the key stakeholders of the project. These key stakeholders include the customer’s project
department, the customer’s consultant, the customer’s end user department etc. Now a document
is being created where the scope of work is clearly defined, the preliminary drawings and
documents required to frame the basic design is clearly understood and the major actions to be
taken in order to complete the project in a timely manner are chalked out. When the actions and
initial plan in this document are unanimously accepted and approved by the customer, the other
project stakeholders and the internal project management team, this document will serve as the
project management plan.

5. What is Project Control? Why is it important?

Project control: It is the system to measure the project progress and take corrective actions in
case of deviations from what was planned.

It is very common for some aspects of the project to deviate from the baseline (what was planned).
The deviation may be overspending, lag in some particular activities or something else. It is
important to know where the project stands when compared to the baseline, at any phase of the
project, so that corrective measures can be taken to negotiate with the deviation. It may not be
negative deviation always, when a project has positive deviation in any aspect, it can be
concluded that the performance was better than expected.

6. Think of a construction project that you participated or observed. Write down the steps
involved in its planning and its scheduling.

I have been involved in the project of revamping a Roll Grinding Machine in a Steel Plant in India.
Steps involved in Planning:

 Understanding the Scope of Work


 Understanding the technical documentation and drawings
 Surveying the area of construction
 Conducting meeting with customer and their consultants to discuss any ambiguity in
scope
 Determining the actions to be taken
 Creating the timeline for actions
 Choosing personnel responsible for actions
 Selecting the sub-vendors
 Selecting of equipment required
 Planning for expenditure and raising invoices

Steps involved in Scheduling:

 Determining the actions to be taken


 Deciding the timeline for each action to be taken
 Selecting the personnel responsible for one or a group of jobs
 Allocating resources for every action

7. List the benefits of CPM scheduling in Construction projects from the contractor’s
perspective.

The contractors need CPM Schedules to:


a) Calculate the project completion date: As every construction project is bound by a
contract and the contractor is obliged to finish the terms listed in a contract within the
contract specified timeline, it is very important for contractors to make sure that his
schedule is meeting the dates.
b) Calculate the beginning and ending of specific jobs: In projects, there might be several
activities requiring special attention. A specific job might need some special equipment
that has to ordered several months before the actual requirement time. The schedule is
the document where every special activity is marked and the contractor can make prior
arrangements for those activities.
c) Coordinate among the sub-vendors and mitigate conflicts: The principal contractor
acts as a liaison among different subcontractors. From the CPM schedule, the principal
contractor can determine the overlaps. For example, a crawler crane may be required by
M/S X first and then it might be required for somebody else at a different location. The
principal contractor can coordinate between the two parties about the usage of the crane.
d) Predict and calculate cash flow: The ultimate goal of executing a project is to earn
values in terms of money. The timing of every activity has impact on the cash flow. The
contractor must know his expenditure and keep track of milestones to be completed in
order to raise the invoices.
e) Improve work efficiency: Schedules can help to determine the proper distribution of
workers and equipment and efficient materials management to achieve savings in terms
of time and money.
f) Schedule serves as an effective project control tool: To calculate project progress, the
actual budget and schedule is compared with the baseline schedule and budget. It is
important to have a sound schedule in order to achieve proper project control.
g) Evaluate the effects of changes: In construction projects, change orders are extremely
common. The change may be a request to add some new scopes, delete some scopes or
even substitution of certain activities. The schedule provides the opportunity to evaluate
the impact of the change in the schedule and it is important for the contractor to inform the
owner about such changes which may have substantial impact on the budget of the
project.
h) Prove delay claims: As construction projects deals with too many variables, delays in
construction projects are extremely common. It is the contractor’s responsibility to prove
that the reasons for the delay are not attributable to them. IN most cases, a CPM schedule
is sufficient to prove the delay claims.
8. List the benefits of CPM scheduling in Construction projects from the owner’s perspective.

The project owner needs CPM schedules to:


a) Know about the expected project finish date: In order to provide the contractor a project
finish date the owner must make CPM schedules and make sure that the dates are
reasonable and feasible. This schedule is also required to perform feasibility studies and
to plan for finance.
b) Ensure contractor’s proper planning for project finish: When selecting the
subcontractor, the owner must make sure that the dates provided by the contractor are
realistic and achievable.
c) Predict and calculate the cash flow: The owner is obliged to make timely progressive
payments to the contractor. In order to plan this effectively the owner must know about the
dates of milestones completed by the contractor. Failure to pay in a timely manner can
result in unnecessary project delay.
d) Serve as an effective project monitoring tool: The CPM schedule is used to compare
with present schedules to determine the project progress and take corrective actions in
order to make sure that the project timeline is not hampered.
e) Evaluate the change effects: Change orders are very common for construction projects.
Owners may desire for changes when the project is already underway. It is very important
to evaluate the effects of the change orders on the timeline and the cash flow prior to
finalizing a change order. This way, the owner can also evaluate that the contractor’s
proposal to carry out change orders are reasonable.
f) Verify delay claims: Owners use the CPM schedule to check, verify and approve or
dispute the delay claims by the contractor. It is also a possibility to use the CPM schedule
to raise a delay claim against the contractor by the owner.

9. Do all construction projects have the same need for CPM scheduling? Why or why not?

No, all construction projects do not have the same need for project scheduling.

The need for CPM scheduling varies with a number of factors and generally, the CPM schedules
are very important for large and complex projects. For example, a community home builder, who
has built hundreds of similar homes, may not need the CPM scheduling, but a company building
a Petrochemical Refinery definitely needs a detailed CPM schedule.
10. What characteristics must a scheduler of a building project have? Can the same person
be a scheduler for an industrial project? Why or why not?

A scheduler of a building project must have –

1. Computer software knowledge.


2. Knowledge of the principles of scheduling and project control.
3. Knowledge of specific technical details of building projects.

No, the same person cannot be an effective scheduler for an industrial project as he does not
have specific technical knowledge pertaining to industrial projects. The engineering complexities
of an industrial project are not necessarily same as of building project and without a sound
technical knowledge of a particular field a scheduler can not prepare an efficient schedule.

12. Summarize and discuss an article on a CPM Scheduling topic.

Article: CPM Benefits in Estimating, Bidding Reported in Survey.

Author: Bruce Buckley

Source: ENR: Engineering News-Record. 12/25/2017, p15-15.

Link:
http://web.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.clemson.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=2a1313c6-
c7b6-4c68-9c87-367c4afe34f9%40sessionmgr101&bdata=#db=a9h&AN=126862620

Summary: The article contemplates the benefits of Critical Path Method Scheduling in estimating
and bidding, based on a survey of ENR top 400 contractors. There were 101 respondents to the
2017 survey and all of them use CPM. Only 3% of the surveyed participants thought that CPM
scheduling is not a valid management tool. There ware past surveys in 1970, 1987, 2003 and the
reports of those surveys suggests that improvement in planning, scheduling and project control
can be achieved with the use of CPM. Significantly, large contractors have reported this
improvement and smaller contractors have reported disadvantages of using CPM.

Discussion: The author explained the responses of the participant contractors with the use of a
graph which portrays the responses pertaining to improved planning, improved scheduling,
improved project control and improved estimating/bidding with respect to the results of the
surveys conducted in 1970, 1987, 2003 and 2017. It can be observed that in every sector there
has been reported improvements from the first time of the survey till the very recent survey. It is
noteworthy that Among respondents, 55% of the respondents reported that CPM improved
estimating and bidding, up from 15% in 1970, 22% in 1987 and 37% in 2003.

Jesus de la Garza, the Vecellio professor of construction engineering and management at Virginia
Tech, who conducted the survey in 2017, noted the enhanced awareness of the contractors to
relate the level of detail from work breakdown structure with the cost breakdown structure to use
the earned value management practices while project execution. Prof. Garza also notes that more
accurate and precise bid can be placed by “bidding the schedule of work”.

Another important finding by the survey is that nearly 50% (almost double than that of reported in
2003 survey) of the participants observed no major drawback of CPM scheduling. In earlier
surveys, a lot of the respondents reported not using CPM method as a concern. In 1987, nearly
2/3rd reported of not using it which came down to nearly 1/4th in 2003 and in latest survey it was
only 1/10th.

Even though there are a few disadvantages of using CPM scheduling, according to Andrea
Rutledge, president and CEO of the Construction Management Association of America, the
advantages are much more impactful than the limitations. She thinks that as CPM is a gateway
of improved project control, it in turn affects the estimating and bidding process.

It is also reported that in the survey, when participants were asked about using other planning
techniques, nearly half responded using pull planning method to coordinate work and track
productions. Also, there is a surge in the usage of 4D scheduling.