We did it!!! 

Our first annual Construction CPM Conference has now concluded. We have all returned home with new knowledge and new contacts. We all look forward to our second annual Construction CPM Conference, same Swan Resort, Walt Disney World FL location, January 21-25, 2012. 

What did we learn? We had ten different software solutions for CPM analysis represented. Attendees went home knowing the basic (and in some cases advanced feature) use of three or more products. We all now know that there are viable choices to meet our needs. But we also have been able to see how the market leaders have expanded beyond basic functionality to provide additional benefits to those users who want more than the basics.  

We had tracks on the theory of CPM and on the practice citing examples from airports to railways to tall buildings and more. And we had tracks on theory and software solutions in the fields of EVM, Cost, BIM, and Document Control.  

We had a mock trial that highlighted that the software is only a tool for a purpose, that different software may best support different purposes, and that different software may yield differing results which may be suitable for planning a project, executing a project, and for determining the true cause for a project being delayed.  

We discussed (for some rehashing and for others learning for the first time) how the rules of CPM logic may be taken from the model into the real world. In CPM, an activity (no matter the words of the title) is finished when the next activity has started. In the real world, an activity is not truly finished until the next activity has started – citing the example of the crew who digs and stones a trench must staff the pumps to keep that trench dry until the pipe crew arrives the next morning.  

We learned that we are the planners and schedulers for the projects that our fellow citizens rely upon, and that we must make the software serve us and not fall into the trap of serving the software. And perhaps we re-learned that we construction professionals are the true leaders and innovators in the field of project management.