Atlanta 2017 Abstracts


Opening Keynote, Monday, 8‐9:30am


Two Things You Would Rather Not Know about the Schedule

Speaker: Jesus de la Garza


This talk will provide an overview of some of  the challenges faced while interpreting results from the application of  traditional Critical Path Method (CPM) schedules.  It will focus on two distinct concepts: (1) resource-constrained scheduling and (2) single-duration activity estimates.  These concepts are mainstream elements called for, explicitly or implicitly, in the great majority of scheduling specifications.


The talk will show why the critical path (or lack thereof) cannot be trusted without performing additional checks and balances, and it will demonstrate and explain, albeit theoretically, why many projects overrun the baseline schedule.  The talk will suggest mitigating strategies for each of the challenges and turn the Keynote’s title around to:  Two things I am glad I now know about traditional CPM.  In many ways, the talk will “burst the CPM bubble.” However, it will do it proactively because ignorance is never an excuse. Knowledge is power, indeed, but its usage comes with immense responsibility.


Scheduling 101, Monday, 10‐11:15am

Project Management Under Restricted Labor Conditions

Speaker: George McLaughlin


Planning and managing large and complex projects is a daunting managerial challenge, and failures are common.  Once the project has been developed to full funding [such as FEL 3 (IPA), FEP 3 (CII), Design/Procurement (CMAA)], direct labor overruns are a common (and the largest) risk.  Many impacts and restrictions can amplify and exacerbate the risk of labor overruns leading to serious schedule and cost overruns.  Forecasts of craft labor shortages in the US Gulf Coast for 2017–2018 represent an example of such restrictions.  Project site access, climate conditions and other restrictions are common limitations in the execution of large and complex projects.


This presentation addresses high-level approaches and tools to plan and manage direct
labor during execution.  This presentation starts with planning, through execution, controlling and closeout.  Typical restrictions (supply, access, skill shortages and other issues) will be used to present/demonstrate managerial solutions and alternate execution strategies.  Selection and use of labor productivity Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) will be specified. 


This presentation will address industry resources as well as diagnostic techniques and corrective strategies/options.  Attendees will receive practical planning and management processes, tools and techniques that can be applied to their project work.  George will emphasize planning and scheduling suggestions, implications and recommendations throughout.

Risk 101, Monday, 10‐11:15am

Risk Management on Megaprojects

Speaker: Tarek Bahgat


Megaprojects are large-scale, complex ventures that typically cost a billion dollars or more, take many years to develop and build, involve multiple public and private stakeholders, are transformational and have major impacts locally, regionally and sometimes nationally. This session will discuss the implementation of risk management qualitative and quantitative processes on an iconic megaproject. We will discuss how Risk Management was integrated in the Governance of the Project and how technology facilitated the decision-making process based on the risk outputs. 

Scheduling 102a, Monday, 1‐2:15pm

Scheduling with the US Army Corps of Engineers

Speaker: Jeff Huneycutt


The US Army Corps of Engineers manages simple to complex construction projects worldwide.  Part of the challenge is to assure that projects are finished on time.  Being a Government agency, the Corps of Engineers does not always have the latitude to explore different software options for schedule management.


This presentation will discuss software requirements, regulations and pamphlets used in the schedule management of projects by the largest construction manager in the world.

Scheduling 102b, Monday, 1‐2:15pm

Scheduling Projects in the Third Millennium

Speaker: Adel Francis

Generally, the utilization of traditional scheduling methods represents a complex and lengthy task for most project managers. The existing project management software often requires a significant preparation period, and the quality of graphical output is questionable. In this presentation, we propose a new decision approach based on a chronographic representation of the schedule which could simulate the real conditions of the project and, as such, could be considered a flexible new tool for project planning. This planning model is design to be comprehensive enough to encompass the reality of the projects and to be auto-adaptive. We will show the benefits of the chronographic modelling coupled with knowledge-based scheduling to produce a more effective tool, especially for an inexperienced project manager.


Scheduling 103a, Monday, 2:45‐4pm


Phantom Float in Commercial Scheduling Software

Speakers: Diana Franco Duran, Jesus de la Garza


Although the Critical Path Method (CPM) is a useful technique to plan and control projects, it neglects the resource project allocations and constraints. This shortcoming may lead project managers to make decisions based on unlikely schedules since the activities’ completion time could be affected by limited resource availability.  In fact, oftentimes resource demands exceed the maximum number of resources available. At present, project management software such as Primavera P6 fixes the resource supply-demand problem by performing Resource-Constrained Scheduling (RCS). Nevertheless, when performing RCS in P6, the results show incorrect total float values and a broken critical path.  This happens because P6 creates Phantom Float when RCS is performed.  In short, CPM+RCS calculations suggest that activities have float while, in reality, this float does not exist – hence the term Phantom Float. Some years ago, the Resource-Constrained Critical Path Method (RCPM) was introduced to develop more realistic schedules that eliminate Phantom Float.  During RCS, this algorithm adds resource links among activities which compete for the same scarce resources. This presentation will discuss the presence of Phantom Float and how to deal with it.

Scheduling 103b, Monday, 2:45‐4pm


Anatomy of a Murder:  How to Spot a DOA Schedule and Resurrect


Speaker: Bruce Stephan


There are many people in our industry that believe scheduling is a dark art practiced by wizards who use the unfathomable tools of the trade to magically produce results favorable to their client, even though the opposing side uses the same input and tools to get a conflicting result favorable to their client. The goal of this presentation is to use the collected wisdom of prior schedule sages coupled with some modern tools to convince our industry that scheduling is indeed a science.


We will use several accepted scholarly publications to establish 20 traits of a reliable schedule.  We will demonstrate a tool that uses these traits to give an objective score to a schedule, and provides a roadmap to correcting the deficiencies.  We will show how graphic planning method (GPM) de-mystifies the schedule software black box to bring light to drive out the dark art practitioners.  And, we will explain how it is not the schedule that is the culprit but, instead, the interpretation of facts that yields such widely divergent results.


Scheduling 104, Tuesday, 8‐15‐9:30am


Modelling the Un-Modellable

Speaker: Miklos Hajdu


The Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) is undoubtedly the prevailing scheduling technique of our time.  Its popularity is due to its flexibility in modeling complex organizational and technological logic with the help of the four precedence relationships (SS, FS, FF and SF). These relationships have been serving professionals since the beginning of the development of PDM, and the last five decades have brought no significant changes to this field.  Yet, there are many real-life problems that are hard or impossible to model with the use of traditional precedence relationships.


This paper collects some real-life problems that cannot be modeled using the traditional precedence relationships, defines new types of relationships that can be used for solving the afore mentioned problems and finally discusses those, so far missing, algorithms that can be used for time analysis when the newly developed precedence relations are used.  These new (or lesser known) precedence relationships are (a) the maximal precedence relationships, (b) the point-to-point relationships, (c) the continuous relationships, (d) the relationships with AND/OR logical switches and (e) the bi-directional precedence relationships.  Applications of these new developments for modeling so far un-modellable construction problems are presented together with suggested new algorithm.

Claims 101, Tuesday, 8‐15‐9:30am

The Importance of Good Project Documentation and Managing Change on Construction Projects

Speakers: Clark Thiel, Rich Sieracki

Clark and Rich will discuss appropriate methods for project documentation and change management.  Methodologies and lessons learned will be illustrated through examples based on the speakers’ experience.  From this presentation, the audience will: (1) learn about the importance of good and well organized project documentation, including information about key project documents, tips on how to retain documents in an organized manner, and documentation mistakes and how to avoid them; (2) understand different types of change and how to manage the process of change; and (3) gain a better understanding of different types of construction damages and some of the frequently observed issues that result in overstatement of construction claims.


Scheduling 105, Tuesday, 10‐11:15am   

Time-Based Activity Costing for Aircraft Cabin Solutions

Speaker: Kirk Rainer 

Programs involving the design and manufacturing of aircraft cabins commonly involve and incur far higher overhead costs than direct costs, the planning and allocation of indirect or support resources is a multiplier of direct-resources’ costs.  Yet, without necessarily quantifying the overhead costs, let alone allocating these costs to programs, program or project management is limited when measuring, reporting and controlling progress and performance, the total cost of business.  Time-Based Activity Costing, or formally “Time-Driven Activity Based Costing” (TDABC) aims to remedy these limits using a pre-established and periodically updated total cost(s) rate assigned to each and every resource. With the total cost rate and two estimates of a resource allocation:

1.  Percent of resource applied to the activity and overall, the program

2.  Duration or the resource applied to the activity the program or project is no                  longer limited to managing strictly direct costs but, in support of both                            operational and strategic management, is able to measure, report and                            increasingly control total costs, both overhead and direct.


A commercial aircraft cabins’ engineering and manufacturing business is the inspiration; it serves as an ideal environment in which to consider and potentially apply TDABC due to the current omission of overhead in developing costs and the relatively high percentage of non-direct costs incurred in such programs.  The calculation, capture and collection of overhead via a total cost rate for each and every applied resource is the first step toward realizing total costs of business.  Others steps must follow to ensure that these costs are indeed allocated to all elements within the work breakdown structure and a baseline is established – fundamental to performance measurement and central to pre-program (contract bid), program and closure lessons learned.  

Claims 102, Tuesday, 10‐11:15am


The Role of Case Law in Forensic Schedule Analysis

Panel Discussion: Frank Giunta, Andy Ness, Stu Ockman, Bruce Stephan

Case law can provide a lot of guidance as to how a judge might rule given a certain set of facts elicited at trial.  But, how much of a factor should existing case law play in forming expert opinion on the merits of a claim, if any?  Join us in discussing the role of case law in identifying controlling delays, establishing entitlement and calculating damages in schedule-related claims.


Scheduling 106, Tuesday, 1‐2:15pm

Scheduling: Art, Science or Profession

Speaker: Rodney Dawson

The theme of the Project Management College of Scheduling 2017 Annual Conference, “The Science of Scheduling”, was chosen in part to provoke debate from its practitioners as to where Scheduling stands with respect to being an art, science or profession. The author formed the opinion that Scheduling is more weighted towards the professions with certain components of science and fewer elements of art. This paper describes how the author came to this opinion based on an examination of the comparative characteristics of the arts, sciences and professions and assessing the degree to which each applied to Scheduling.

Claims 103, Tuesday, 1‐2:15pm

The Intersection of Law and Scheduling


Speaker:  Andy Ness

Coming Soon


Scheduling 107, Tuesday, 2:45‐4pm

Managing Projects as Investments:  Critical Path Drag and Drag

Cost, the Missing Metric

Speaker: Steve Devaux


This presentation focuses on new and quantified value-based enhancements to traditional critical path scheduling.  By focusing on projects as investments and on the impact of time on that investment, these new techniques and metrics offer the ability to target the BEST ways to (1) justify needed resources (2) compress or recover the schedule and (3) increase a project’s value.


Eighteen years after its introduction in Devaux’s first Total Project Control book, critical path drag has “caught on” and is now calculated by several software packages, including Asta Powerproject, Spider Project, and the Boyle Project Filter. This presentation will show the benefits of this new CPM metric and how to calculate it “manually” in smaller network schedules.

Claims 104, Tuesday, 2:45‐4pm

Scheduling Practices Around the Globe:  What’s Different


Speaker: Frank Giunta


Thanks to our professional organizations and advanced legal system, we all know the proper and acceptable methods used for schedule and delay analysis.  But do we?  What happens when cultural standards and custom and practice around the world differ from what we see as the “industry norm” or best practice?  This presentation will examine schedule and delay practices around the world that differ, some slightly some materially, from what we have come to perceive as the industry norm.  The presentation will identify these differences and solicit discussion on how to convert the still unconverted.


Scheduling 108a, Wednesday, 8‐15‐9:30am

Scheduling Best Practices for Avoiding Delay Claims

Speaker: Raquel Shohet


This session addresses Claims and Risk Awareness, specifically as it relates to scheduling and management best practices.  The discussion will focus on how to mitigate claims when construction change is inevitable.  Learn about the principle causes of disputes and how to avoid claims; especially, as they relate to the project schedule function.  Topics of the session will include (1) claims, risk and fact awareness, (2) the function of a (good) schedule and (3) claims avoidance techniques.


Scheduling 108b, Wednesday, 8‐15‐9:30am

Owning the Schedule

Speaker: Dennis Lane


Enterprises that contract out all or much of their project and/or capital work frequently leave it to their contractors to maintain the master schedule.  There are good reasons, however, for the owner not only to approve the schedule but to maintain it.  These include:  control of the baseline, direct insight into progress of the work, direct control over alignment between completed work and invoices, maintaining dependencies of related projects, and projecting demands on resources.  In our experience, you get what you inspect, not what you expect.



Scheduling 109a, Wednesday, 10‐11:15am

Schedule Health:  Killing Project Predictability

Speaker: Darryl Townsend


It seems that, recently, more and more schedules are poorly built, neglecting what would be considered “best practices” and causing confidence in meeting schedule dates to drop off significantly.  There are some key elements defeating or overriding the intelligence our current software produces, turning the CPM schedule into nothing more than a cartoon; nothing resembling CPM at all.  To let our scheduling tools work properly, we must get back to basics and build good, logically-driven schedules for the Project Managers and project teams to have confidence that what the CPM schedule tells us provides accurate predictions of the work ahead.


In this presentation, the author, an experienced P6 scheduler and risk analysis consultant will review and discuss these key elements driving Project Managers away from the project schedule and creating their own.  Using Primavera P6, Acumen Fuse and Acumen Risk Metrics for examples, these issues can be identified quickly to help develop a proper, healthy schedule and restore confidence in the project schedule dates and logic.


Scheduling 109b, Wednesday, 10‐11:15am

What We Need for Schedule Integrity and Control

Speaker: Ed Mahler

This session describes the visibility features and fields needed to understand the schedule and the role custom fields can play to highlight what needs attention. Examples will show how the fields are used in real world project situations to both ensure schedule integrity and to see and recover from schedule slippage. These schedule visibility features are not built into scheduling tools but should be.  For now, they should be achievable by the user with a state of the art scheduling tool. 

Closing Session, Wednesday, 11:30am‐12:00pm


Stu Ockman and Gwen Barger