Using Asta Powerproject for critical chain – Part 2

Managing Target Programmes with Asta Powerproject

This paper builds on some of the ideas about critical chain and using buffer tasks covered in Using Asta Powerproject for critical chain – Part 1.

Asta Development provides a complete range of project management software solutions for managing all types and sizes of construction and engineering projects. Asta Powerproject comes with all the features to support critical chain project management without the need for add-ons or additional products.

Contractors often have to manage a contract and target programme. Using buffer tasks we can attempt to manage both programmes as explained in the last paper.

Previously I stated that we can monitor progress by seeing how much of the buffer has been consumed. This is acceptable but does not tell us if we are consuming at an appropriate rate. By using a series of spreadsheet columns and formulae we can achieve this and better monitor project progress.

Good project management relies on forward planning, estimating durations based on scope, resource, equipment and material availability. Once a project starts, tasks are monitored in accordance with how they were planned and quality is monitored.

Often though, it is difficult to see the importance of timely completion of every task especially early in projects when the project completion date is far into the future. Also, committing contractors to a fixed schedule can be problematic. If other tasks are delayed this can be a double-edged sword as contractors who are delayed in starting on site or access to areas or scope are in a position to claim.

This method of buffer management takes the average of all tasks performed and allows variance whilst still providing a clear performance reference to use. It also allows a predictive date to be nominated based on current project performance.

To estimate the proposed buffer consumption from the date the buffer is applied, divide the total project duration up to the start of the buffer into the duration of the original buffer. The answer from this equation is the amount of buffer that can be consumed on a daily basis. If 100% of the buffer consumption percentage is being consumed on a daily basis then, theoretically, the entire buffer will be consumed by the end of the project. If 100% or less is being consumed, then the project is likely to complete closer to the target date rather than the margin allowed.

The starting point is a fully linked schedule with a buffer task at the end of each project which contains our buffer i.e. the difference between the target and contract finish dates.

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