Understanding Project Time Management:
The Critical Path Method of Managing Project Execution Strategy
ICS-Compendium Dominant Series: Volume 2
As has been stated numerous times throughout this website, there is more to Project Time Management than just Planning and Scheduling. The point of this book is to explore the full range of concepts, terms, processes, strategies, and so forth that a Project Team can use to achieve maximum benefit from the passage of time beneath its feet.
The Spectrum of Project Time Management
This book examines the entire spectrum of Project Time Management, as espoused by Dominant Project Management. [Note: If one wishes to contrast this perspective with the different approach recommended by Cognitive Project Management, then read Volume 6, Momentum Management (part of the Cognitive Project Management Series).]
This book excels above other texts on the same topic because it dares to venture beyond the role and duties of the Project Scheduler. Typically, Project Time Management is viewed as just a new name for an age-old discipline, Planning & Scheduling. As a result, what most authorities consider to be the essence of Project Time Management is the same three categories of effort that planners and schedulers have been tasked with for decades: Schedule Development, Schedule Maintenance, and Schedule Analysis.
Conspicuous by its omission is any mention of the use of Project Schedule information by the Project Execution Team (the superintendent and his subcontractors). This book provides a rich and meaty discussion of how the Project Execution Team can tap into the vast reservoir of vital information that the Project Schedule holds, and apply it for the betterment of the project.
So the Project Schedule (Project Execution Strategy) has been carefully designed and developed and it is being meticulously maintained on a regular basis. Now what?
The truth is that the typical Project Planning System holds a wealth of important information, far more that most texts on Project Time Management unveil. Those texts tend to discuss a popular, but limited, set of performance variables: most notably Total Float and Earned Value.
And so the typical project is inundated with CPM reports that present a list of activities sorted by their “order of criticality,” with the word “criticality” defined by whether the activities reside on the project’s Critical Path, or not. As for Earned Value, this set of metrics is also based on highly theoretical and questionable “Earliest Dates” that, by their very definition, are most unlikely to be achieved. This book exposes the truth about the Critical Path Myth (the “method” of our madness), and cautions the reader to accept all CPM data with a huge grain of salt.
But this is not to say that the Project Schedule does not contain invaluable information, only that we have been nibbling on the bitter rind, while not realizing there is great juice to squeeze from the CPM fruit.
This book promises to open the reader’s eyes to a great vista of informational opportunities that has rarely, if ever, been discussed to this extent in any other books on Project Time Management. And, as with every other book in the ICS-Compendium, it uses the same terminology and adopts the same definitions as explained in the ICS-Dictionary.