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GAO schedule assessment guide - best practices for project schedules really?


Reference guide for best

Reference guide for best scheduling practices

Almost all best practices of scheduling explained well in this guide. 

Please note I am making

Please note I am making reference to GAO Schedule Assesment Guide 2015, PP Guild makes reference to an older version dated 2012 [REAFFIRMED by the 26 people ... - Really? ]

PP Guild - "This module is based predominantly around the Recommended Practices (RP) of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering  (AACE) and the Best Practices for Project Schedules from the US Government Accountability Office’s (GAO)".

Appendix VI  - Experts Who Helped Develop This Guide - "This second list names those who generously donated their time to review this guide in its various stages and who provided feedback".

The list is big, very big, over 150 individuals, but the quality of the review is poor.  The last named belongs to the United States Capitol Police, weird. 

The list is similar to the 2015 version, a version I find to be worse. 


A few years ago I was

A few years ago I was involved in a job where because of unforeseen underground conditions a building had to be replaced with another building whose design was radically different.  Almost everything changed; no longer spread footings but pile foundations, wall materials and layout changed, structural design changed, links to site work activities changed, the construction sequence of the project as a whole changed.  Keeping hundreds of the no longer valid activities would be insanely ridiculous.

When modeling consumable

When modeling consumable resources keeping deleted activities loaded with consumable resources and making them 0 duration activities can lead to wrong models.  So much is missing that it is safer [best practice] to delete these activities.

I had prior personal

I had prior personal experience with GAO, enough to know they are not as respectable as some people claim.  I was bidding as a subcontractor for a Federal job where P6 was brand name specified something that is unlawful under federal laws unless on a case by case basis a waiver is requested and approved, perhaps after a dubious review process.  I was ruled out of this bid as I use software different to P6.   When I issued a claim GAO simply called me without standing and never took action as to enforce their own dummy requirements.  GAO is a government agency that responds to political interests, their action/inaction affects many outside government agencies.  Reasoning with GAO is a waste of time.

I suggest its advocates just prove my arguments are wrong using valid reasoning instead of making superfluous arguments.

I suggest start with the very first reason why GAO is wrong – “If the activity is no longer valid, its duration should be zeroed out and the activity marked as complete”.

Keeping deleted activities as well as leaving the original logic in place is not best practice:

  • Keeping deleted activities can be confusing and misleading. Changed conditions might require hundreds of activities to be deleted and can create chaos if not deleted on revised schedule.
  • Keeping deleted activities can distort cost loading if you if you miss to delete some cost assignments.
  • Keeping deleted activities can lead to wrong schedule logic when there are still some active links to activities that no longer exists, mere change in activity duration do not tackle this issue.
  • If you keep "deleted" activities project statistics such as number of activities and other ratios will become meaningless. 

One exception to this rule should be good enough to make it not reliable.  I provided not only one but several/many reasons why this rule is not best practice, in any case worst practice.  

Hmmmmm.......   @Rafael, this

Hmmmmm.......   @Rafael, this represented the consensus of over 1000 of many of the most widely known and respected names in the business and while I don't think any of us agree 100% with everything that has been written, there was enough consensus that we were all willing to endorse it.  


This was REAFFIRMED by the 26 people who reviewed the Guild's Compendium and Reference document prior to it being published-


My best and most sincere advice is the GAO will be updating this again probably next year and I will be happy to invite you to contribute to the updates, understanding that you are going to have to make a strong case to get 1000 top global professionals to agree with what you are advocating.  Just because "You say so" is not sufficient reason for others to adopt what you advocate.  Also just because one software package can do something does not mean they all can or that any specific feature is important enough to be required or even recommended.



Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia 

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