Will Hurricane Sandy lead to a resurgence in time-centric scheduling?
Let me explain what I mean.
In past posts I've mentioned the shift from the 1950s-60s-70s “need for speed” in scheduling a project to the 80s-90s-00s “accountability” and “need for best productivity.”
The Gantt or bar-chart schedules of the 40s and 50s, developed to speed the turnaround of a chemical process plant (such as at Du Pont) or military R&D project (such as for the Polaris Missile System,) was found to be too slow to react to changing conditions, leading to missed opportunities when progress was better than expected and greater negative impact than need be when things did not go as well as planned.
New mathematical processes, including CPM and PERT, were developed to react quicker – up to 40% quicker than older manual rescheduling methods – and produce better and faster scheduling direction to project leaders.
These new processes were modified as required to permit the rote calculation to be performed by the new tool, the computer. And so CPM was developed for Du Pont and PERT for the Navy. Computers improved and grew more powerful; CPM and PERT software was again modified to best use this new power, and the tool developed to meet the “need for speed” accelerated projects from the fields of construction to our NASA program “to place a man on the moon by the end of the decade.”
Acceleration when one could and quick mitigation of delays when one must were the basis for our Planning and Scheduling industry.
The devastation caused by Sandy, especially in the NYC region, will once again create a need for scheduling for best speed.
Returning the subways, tunnels, substations and other infrastructure of the Big Apple, as well as industries, businesses and homes along the New Jersey to Maryland coast are projects that all “need to be finished yesterday.” Real (and not make-work “Stimulus”) jobs will be created to fill real needs.
The purpose of the jobs will be to rebuild the infrastructure and civilization compromised by Sandy, and not merely to maintain (WPA style) employment. Our industry may demand – and this time get – the scheduling tools we need, and not be told to use tools designed for the factory floor of a repetitive process.
So I say demand of your scheduling software vendor the original 1956 “interruptible duration” algorithm designed for our “need for speed.” If your spec requires enterprise scheduling for reporting purposes, do so, but also run real “CPM” scheduling to accelerate your project.
Your Construction CPM Conference, set for January 27-30 in New Orleans, continues to grow in size as other groups join with us to make this event (sandwiched between 1st Weekend Mardi Gras and Super Bowl Weekend) into a fantastic education and entertainment venue.
Courses from Oracle University in P6, in ASTA, and separate User Meetings of PMA Netpoint, Synchro and Acumen precede the conference, as well as parades that pass our hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We expect over 300 attendees to attend our nearly 100 sessions spread over three full days. More information is athttp://www.constructioncpm.com/.