Construction CPM Conference 2016 is but a memory. We learned a lot from this confluence of practitioners, both from specific knowledge shared in sessions but also from analyzing the metadata of who chose to attend, present or exhibit. Thirteen sessions devoted to exploring the element of systemic (Monte Carlo) risk of a CPM logic network. Ten exhibitors promoting new or existing features to calculate and analyze risk. Many attendees checking off use of these included or add-on features during the registration survey. On the flip side, the number of sessions on cost and earned value (EVM) was down. 4D, BIM, lean, linear, short-term and productivity based scheduling sessions (and check-offs) continue to grow but at a slower pace than risk.
We do have an influence on what software firms develop and market. While construction is but a sliver of the larger market most focused upon, our concerns are still heard – often they may be lead to a product feature useful to that larger market. At the AACE Northeast Total Cost Symposium, Oracle presented an update on its flagship product which indicated inclusion of integrated Monte Carlo risk is coming. (Of course per SEC rules they do not provide projected dates – but mere mention of a to-be-added feature is big news.) Other now-being-deployed improvements to the P6 line were impressive and the new 16.1 release should be reviewed by all Primavera users. (The jump from 8.x to 15.x and now 16.x was explained for the first time to this user as going from sequential release numbering to year of release numbering – thus 16.1 is first release of 2016. This makes understanding the numbering and timing of upgrades a lot easier.)
This blog has previously suggested an owner is better served by requiring use of risk analysis. If the primary purpose of requiring a CPM is to provide further assurance that a contractor CAN complete on time, then asking the contractor to “shoot to where the duck is flying and not where it sits in the sky” is a must. Some of my own CPMs prepared for projects had an 80% probability of finishing by the calculated completion date, many only the industry average of 22%, some had below a 1% chance of finishing on time, all depending upon the complexity of the construction and resultant logic plan. Most required several weeks contingency for a 50% probability of timely completion, some several months. To get to an 80% assurance required but a few weeks more – but then set the targeted contingency needed. Now that the more software products are including this feature in base price, and cost of add-ons is dropping for others, only a foolish owner (or incompetent design engineer) should fail to require such.
Interest by Planning/Scheduling professionals, and the contractors and owners who hire us to bring projects in on time, continues to grow. The newly formed Project Management College of Scheduling (not affiliated with PMI) which we hosted as a separate track at Construction CPM Conference 2015 is now launching its own independent event in Chicago this May 2016 – see www.PMCOS.org for more information. AACE International will have its Annual Meeting in Toronto this June 2016 – see www.aacei.org/am/2016/welcome.shtml. Several User Meetings are offered by vendors of specific products into the Fall of 2016.
Our own Construction CPM Conference will be held at the Swan Resort at Disney World Florida this coming January 10-13, 2017. (This is a change of date based upon requests of our “members.”) We will have our Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening, classes and continued entertainment on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and some will stay to enjoy a mini vacation through MLK Monday. See www.ConstructionCPM.com for more details.
Some readers may wonder why risk is such a big deal, and perhaps how an otherwise good CPM should have such a low probability of completion by the calculated end date. See our prior blog “You Can’t Always Get What You Want ...” PROBABILITY OF COMPLETION ON TIME of September 2009 or our more recent presentation to the Florida Bar, “Evidence Issues in Forensic Use of CPM Scheduling” at www.fplotnick.com/EDUC/16sLFC-1/16sLFC-1.html.