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Evolution of the project planning process

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Bernard Ertl
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I recently published an article on Refining the Project Planning Process. I welcome your comments (via e-mail or here in this forum).

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Estimating Software, Project Management Software

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Bernard Ertl
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Hi Danilo,

Fear not, there is no problem. I do not have any materials that I could forward to you as you requested. We do not maintain copies of our clients proprietary information.

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Estimating Software, Project Management Software
Bernard Ertl
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(deleted by moderator - duplicate post)
Danilo Ingan-eng
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Hi my planning friends, especially Bernard and Uesh.
I wonder why there is a hiatus after I posted. Please let me know if there is something wrong in what I said or done. Or is everbody busy?
Just wanting to be a better planner.
Danilo
Danilo Ingan-eng
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Hi Planning Friends,
I am sorry for the delayed response. I would like you to know in order to test my claim to isometric planning I need you to submit samples of “status of spools” files, whether fictional or factual, to be processed by the system. Though I already have tested it to work, it is the only way to convince you about the system. The answer or end result for your submitted files might be too large or too long for me to post in this forum then abbreviation shall be applied, so our other fellow planners can see. However I can email you the holistic result for best scrutiny. It is better if you can submit a long “status of spools”, impossible enough for a manual planning system to do. In this way, it is more challenging and we can calculate and compare the conventional way vs. my system in terms of work force needs.
You may submit your “status of spools” files to howd92292@yahoo.com.
Happy easter!
Bernard Ertl
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Umesh,

For the project referenced previously, we had a team of eight planners updating the schedules in the computer. Progress updates were recorded by field supervision and passed to the planning team 2-3 hours before the end of each shift. The planning team would then update progress, incorporate add-on work and generate shift schedules and progress reports for the next shift.

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Estimating Software, Project Management Software
Mary JoAnn
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Hello Bernhard,
That is a very interesting post.

Just as a matter of curosity, what was the manpower strength of you planning team that was responsible for collecting, monitoring, scheduling and reporting the information per shift?
Bernard Ertl
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Hi Danilo,

Thank you for the kind review.

Yes, we do offer estimating modules (for our eTaskMaker project planning software) that generate customized project plans for piping demolition, fabrication, installation and testing based upon isometric take-offs. The planner is still responsible for sequencing/scheduling each isometric/piping spools plan within the overall schedule.

I just re-read the other thread you started and it occurs to me that there are several issues involved:

1. Driving the execution schedule

A large piping job (at least in a turnaround project), will rarely proceed according to the initial schedule. There are many variables that will inevitably force the schedule off track:

- Material availability (or lack thereof)
- Equipment failure (welding equipment, cranes, tools, etc.)
- Rework for failed welds (limited resources divided between the scheduled and unplanned work)
- Isometric design errors
- Murphys Law
etc.

The key is to be able to have a system (software, procedures and personnel) that is flexible enough to accomodate necessary scheduling changes and track rework and manpower requirements so that management never loses control.

2. Maintaining a large, detailed schedule

It was posited in the other thread that it is difficult/useless to try tracking thousands of detailed tasks. I disagree.

We have been planning, scheduling and managing refinery and petrochemical plant turnarounds for many years and have always been able to stay on top of the piping schedules. We developed our own project management software specifically for refinery and petrochemical plant shutdowns / turnarounds. ATC Professional is capable of updating large, detailed schedules every shift and allowing managers to maintain control of large piping jobs.

Our largest piping schedule to date was assisting a client with a total refinery turnaround that had over $150MM of capital project tie-ins to be scheduled. Roughly half of the 750,000 manhour schedule was piping work. We had slightly over 49,000 tasks broken out into roughly 30 separate schedules (one for each plant unit). We updated the schedules completely a few hours before the end of each shift. Updated shift schedules and progress reports were always ready at shift change.

3. Effectively tracking progress for a large, detailed schedule

The other thread posited that in the absence of a detailed schedule, progress should be tracked by weld counts, diameters, volumes etc.

We have always measured progress in terms of effort (manhours earned against the plan). We developed a means to measure what we call Critical Mass to highlight areas of non-critical work (such as piping) where insufficient progress is trending towards an eventual extension of the Critical Path (due to manpower / space / equipment limitations). We can identify these trends early on while there is time to take corrective action.

I would be pleased to offer you my thoughts regarding your system. E-mail the details of your system to me (bernard at interplansystems dot com) and I will respond privately.

Cordially,
Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Estimating Software, Project Management Software
Danilo Ingan-eng
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Hi Bernard,

Post Script: (See Forum XXX) should mean "Status of Spools..." forum title found in this section.
Danilo Ingan-eng
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Hi Bernard,
Your white paper in planning is a good reading material. It gives the reader an overall or perspective view of the evolution of the planning profession. Computer science has made planning exciting as ever.
However I wonder if you have any software for “isometric spools planning” which is the essence of oil and gas construction industry or is there any in the market. I know even many of world class companies have none. Or is it because many planners believe it is impossible to do an isometric spools planning. (see forum xxx)

We are not businessmen but we are at lost of what to do to the system (which can do the isometric spools planning) that we have develop. It works, no doubt about it and so what now? Can you help?

Danilo Ingan-eng, UAP