When it comes to Construction Project Management, time management is the most important ingredient to project success, more than any other factor. For a while, the term Project Time Management held great promise of something more and better than the Planning & Scheduling discipline it was proposing to replace. After all, traditional Planning and Scheduling had been around since the mid-20th century, and it was surely time for a Project Management support system that was more robust, relevant, and helpful to those performing the work of the project.
But the hopes of a better tomorrow were gradually dashed as one Project Management “authority” after another merely slapped a fresh coat of Project Time Management paint on the old, beat-up Planning and Scheduling car. Under the paint, nothing was different.
Planning and Scheduling Ideology
Without getting into a lengthy discussion about what many refer to as Network Diagram Project Management, the Project Planning System (according to virtually all Dominant Project Management literature) divides neatly into two phases: Schedule Development and Schedule Maintenance/Usage. Quite often these two phases are imprecisely characterized as Project Planning and Control, as if (a) the word “Planning” alone covers both Planning and Scheduling, and (b) the word “Control” somehow captures the essence of what is done with the Project Schedule after it is developed!
Complying with the first half of the time-worn adage, “Plan your work, and work your plan,” both Planning and Scheduling are specialized functions that lead to the establishment of a Project Schedule, which is then locked down as the Baseline Schedule, pending Owner approval of the same. This first Project Planning Phase entails development of the Project Schedule. Much has been written about the Project Planning Process, Project Planning Techniques, and Project Planning Tools.
With the Project Schedule in place within weeks of Project commencement, for the entire remaining balance of the Project Life Cycle the role of “Planning and Scheduling” boils down to three primary functions/responsibilities:
Updating the Schedule: Posting progress, proposed/approved changes, and other minor important recordings. Other common terms to describe these functions include project tracking and project monitoring, and the ultimate work product is the Project Status Report.
- Analyzing the Schedule: Comparing what was planned with what was actually achieved, and then noting any variances. This entails Project Performance Measurement and Project Performance Evaluation.
Issuing Reports: Principally this amounts to (a) printing/distributing automated tabular reports from the scheduling software and (b) writing a narrative describing the number, extent, and significance of identified variances.
That’s it! That’s what has been the standard functions and responsibilities of Planners and Schedulers for over five decades. And now? With the advent of Project Time Management, what is different? According to the most recent Dominant Project Management literature … Nothing! It’s the Same Old-Same Old.
Cognitive’s Project Time Management Ideology
Cognitive Project Management takes a very different, and refreshing view.
It sees as a major shortcoming Dominant Project Management’s disregard for the central role of Project Execution in the achievement of effective Project Time Management. To this end, Cognitive Project Management’s Project Time Management model places the Field Superintendent and trade subcontractors at the very epicenter of Project Time Management.
- It introduces a host of new informational products and services intended to facilitate the achievement of the Project Execution Strategy.
It has renamed the outdated “Planning and Scheduling” discipline with the far more descriptive and motivating label, Project Facilitation.
Momentum Management is the name that Cognitive Project Management uses to describe its model of Project Time Management. Even in its name one can recognize a very different, more promising, mind set. Project Managers are called upon to focus forward, on achieving and sustaining project momentum. [Contrast this with Dominant Project Management’s fixation on the past … on what was planned and what did or did not occur]
Momentum Management includes an entire suite of Project Time Management products, services, and innovations.
- Tools: It replaces the single Project Baseline Schedule with a set of interrelated, yet separately functioning Project Time Management tools. It offers the Project Compass, Project Watch, Project Chart, Project ESP (Execution Strategic Plan), SCOREboard, Ramp Report, Temporal RADAR, and so much more.
- Methods: It includes the ground-breaking and game-changing Performance Intensity (an innovative miles-per-hour unit for measure that monitors and reflects true performance rates). It includes Momentum Checkpoints, that allow for short-term planning toward short-range goals. FlowRate Analysis gives the Project Executors real-time feedback on performance rates, acting much like the speedometer in a car.
- Practices: It recommends major changes in how the Project Executors engage, utilize, and maximize the value of incredibly more robust and meaningful Project Time Management information. Concepts like the Project Summit, Strategic Planning, Tactical Scheduling, Project Recalibration, and the like … are all innovations designed to improve the likelihood of a temporally-successful project outcome.
There is much more to Momentology, but this gives you an idea of how much more we can, and should, do in the area of Project Time Management than is being currently served up under that label.