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Updating the program

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A D
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Hi Guys,

One of the clauses of contract says "The network shall be updated monthly for actual progress and MINOR CHANGES IN ACTIVITY DURATIONS TO REFLECT CURRENT INFORMATION AND SUBMITTED TO THE EMPLOYER REPRESENTATIVE. All Logic and duration changes shall be reviewed with the Employer Representatives Assistant."

Even it is written in the contract, r v supposed to make these changes in the updated program?

Is there any documentation (Any Book) to support this?

I had made recovery programs, accelerated programs, further revisions and stuff like this, but never ever done these change in durations and logic directly.

Any suggestions please?????????

Cheers,

Ravi

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Zoltan Palffy
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Yes make the changes in the updated program?  But run a claim digegr report and or create a narrative telling them what changes you have made. List activities added ro deleted, List chnages to original durations and list any logic changes.

Is there any documentation (Any Book) to support this? yes this is in the contratc it says to tell then what you chnaged I have listed what you should do above

I had made recovery programs, accelerated programs, further revisions and stuff like this, but never ever done these change in durations and logic directly.

Impossible if you made a revcovery or accelerated program then you MUST have either changed the durations (Shorter) or made logic changes by doing things concurrently is relationship chages from FS to SS (with a lag)

Mohamed ibrahim
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Hello Guys,

I have a small question on MSP, How to reschedule and update the project to come out with Finish Variance?

I'm seeking your help

 

Best Regards 

M.I

R. Catalan
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Hi Raph

Your paper is of great interest to me. Pls send me a copy rrcatalan@hotmail.com

Thanks a lot.

Cheers
Armando Moriles
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Hi Nieman,

In my opinion, the NEC form of contract is very impressive. Sorry but that was totally out of this thread. Just an opinion.

Anyway, with regards to maintaining 2 programmes during project execution, I used to do that during my early years as a planning/scheduler engineer. And yes, you’r right it did work for the projects. But, I just had the following experiences if I may recall it right:

1. I was actually maintaining two programmes. I find it no longer an easy job as the project goes on drilling down from one activity to the other. It wasn’t really an easy job for me especially talking about thousands of activities;
2. The strategy was not really an approved management policy.
3. I got a lot of explaining to do especially during programme revisions. In what % are we accelerating the projects? Is it a huge difference? Is it still reconciled with the owner supplied milestones? Was everybody agreeable including the project director? Is it still in accordance with consortium programme? Is it in accordance with the cash outlay? etc...;

I know that my experience were not the same as yours, but at the end of the day, worst thing was that I found out that what I did, I was only giving everybody an opportunity to commit delay in their respective areas because everybody knows that they were not looking at the original programme and it is shorter than the ones in the contract. And then I found out that once I give people an opportunity to commit such delays or mistakes, there is always a good chance that they will commit that delay.

This times, I no longer do that. I just explain to the project management the critical path, sub-critical paths or near criticals, show the floats, explain the requried productivities, resources loading,etc. As part of the control function of planning/schedule engineer, I monitor all activities properly and identify which are not ideal or unusual and capture the events that effluenced the KPI.


Regards,

Arman
vikas agrawal
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Hi Raph,

At the face of it the concept of CWA is wonderful. However, I have doubts that how will various agencies (viz Client, Consultants, Main Contractor, Subcontractors, various suppliers and other agencies will collaborate with each other without a binding element ie a contract.

Pls send me a copy of your paper which I believe will clear many of my doubts.
Armando Moriles
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Hi Raph,

I’m very interested on your paper, pls send me a copy arman.moriles@leighton.com.ph

Thanks in advance. I’ll be checking out also your references.


Aman
Raphael M. Dua
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Andy
Well done. All that training is beginning to pay off.

The one thing that has amused (amazed!) me in this thread is the constant reference to the Earliest Dates.

That is the problem with all those Primavera (amd Microsoft Project)views on the world.

In order to create a baseline only the Earliest Dates get used because that is what the application does.

But in my world of EV, (yes Trevor I know!) you create the baseline by scheduling the tasks using Resources and we ALL know that when an application resource schedules, the early dates have NO significance.

The only dates we inform the client given all the other hoo ha that goes on (well put Andy) are those derived by the resource schedule. These are the baseline dates and in my experience most of the time we keep to these dates provided the resourceing is kept up.

Of course we do that because we have planned the tasks using resources so we don’t get no shows.

I am reliably informed by my US cousins that less than ten percent of projects in the US are Resource Scheduled, let alone managed, because it is the contractors responsibility to see the subbies provide the requisite resources.

Well no wonder the pear becames the project shape.

If you don’t plan fully and properly you will not get a decent schedule.

Also all this noise about contracts, well you can do away with the contract and make life a lot easier.

I have just successfully completed four major construction projects in New Zealand with a total value of approx $NZ1,1 billion. Commenced in May 2004 and completed July 2007.We finished on Time came in under busget and generally had a great time, which is why we do this job.

The reason, there was NO typical construction contract.

All we had was about half a page of A4 agreeing that we would ALL be responsible for the success of the project and we would operate in a Collaborative Working Arrangement.

The first person to call a lawyer would cause the project to terminate.

The CWA is a very successful modus operandi in the UK. I presented a paper on how the projects worked (in a CWA environment in NZ),in Apri 2006 at the PMI COS conference in Florida, if any body would like copy let me know, but in the meantime check the following

References
{1} Latham, M. (1994) Constructing The Team, Final Report of the Government / Industry Review of Procurement and Contractual Arrangements In The UK Construction Industry HMSO, London, 1994,

{2}Egan, Sir John (1998) Rethinking Construction – Report from Construction Task Force – UK Government

{3}Rix Stewart (2004) “Target Outturn Cost and Payment Mechanism Workshop” by Collaborative Management Services in New Zealand

Raf


Andrew Dick
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Trevor,
Your last Paragraph,
     ‘Client displeasure arises from unrealistic expectations based on mis-interpretation of the earliest possible dates shown on the Baseline as promises rather than estimates. Is deception an appropriate response, likely to further the cause of cooperation, collaboration and honesty? Why not just tell the client what those dates really are so that all parties understand what they are agreeing to?’, strikes a chord with most of us I would say.

These Unrealistic expectations weather they be based on subversive information or mis-interpretation, are generally the root of all evil when the project plan is considered.

All too often you will find a customer who wants everything early, under budget, better than scoped or agreed, and to have all the ‘along the way’ changes included at the contractors cost. Then what you find is someone at the contractor side who thinks that if they ’Take one for the team’ on this project they will win some more business for the company.

Trouble is from what I’ve seen is that the prime suddenly thinks he can buy all of his project work at a great price and gives the contractor 10 times more work than they could ever hope to execute, the contactor (or someone within that organisation) not wanting to disappoint says ‘No worries’ and that is exactly where the deception starts.

Way to often I’ve had someone I work for say to me ‘Don’t worry Andy, we won’t worry about those dates or your schedule, as it is easier to say sorry than explain the problem up front’
And as a result of that attitude the sound you just heard was not only the deadlines whooshing by, but the dull thud was the ball being dropped on ‘cooperation, collaboration & honesty’

I try hard every day to get someone to listen to the dates the schedule is predicting, most of the time it doesn’t fall on deaf ears, but ears that have been surgically removed.

So in summing up, (& I heard everyone go ‘finally), the baseline is the original plan that I work too. It contains information that I use to inform Project Managers how they are performing against the best guess information we had at the time we agreed to take on the project work.

Personally I have never held anyone to a baseline, and estimate or an ETC on an activity.

Why????

Simply put – Sh!t Happens, and there’s not a damn thing you can do once the milk is out of the bottle and on the ground, except for mopping up.


Andy
Trevor Rabey
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"each programme which he submits for acceptance"

...does not say that there will be only an unchangable baseline. Does not preclude frequent (controlled) updates based on the best information available concerning what has happened so far and what remains.

Everyone involved relies and depends on everyone else. Everyone involved must face the obvious, that the future is inherently uncertain and that cooperation, collaboration and honesty are the basic requirements for any chance of exercising any control over it.

Contracts are a legal necessity but they contribute nothing to project management or teamwork, but rather are more of an obstacle.

Client displeasure arises from unrealistic expectations based on mis-interpretation of the earliest possible dates shown on the Baseline as promises rather than estimates. Is deception an appropriate response, likely to further the cause of cooperation, collaboration and honesty? Why not just tell the client what those dates really are so that all parties understand what they are agreeing to?
Richard Spedding
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Armando

That is just one form of contract (and possibly the best for planners as there is a very heavy reliance on the programme being correct and updated in line with each relevant event - or whatever the NEC calls it)

Many others give no such reliance.

The reason FIDIC says that the Employer’s team can rely on the agreed porogramme is that inevitably the design is not complete and the team takes the dates from the programme to inform when they have to issue information so as not to be delaying the contractor. (whether they take full cognisance of lead times on procurement is up to them)

The contractor’s planner, if he is wise, will not necessarily submit a programme which records the earliest start dates for all activities. If he does then the client will be beating him up every meeting asking why he is in delay. Far better on most forms of contract, and particularly D&B ones, to set the activities to ALAP - then you should be always early and good boys. This is not the programme you use to manage the job, but the one you report to the client with....

Whether there should be two programmes (or more) I leave up to you!
Armando Moriles
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Trevor,

It’s not really who gets the support from anybody or who’s right or wrong but how open we are towards improving ourselves. It is the value of the information that we could get in exchange for the time we spent and most of all the friendship we could establish compliments from the technology we have right now at the moment which are not available years before.

I suggest you try to have time studying the NEC forms of contract, maybe it would help.

NEC 3 Option C Form of Contract Core Clause 3 Sub-clause 31.2

The contractor shows on each programme which he submits for acceptance
>the starting date, access, Key Dates and Completion Date,
>planned Completion,
>the order and timing of the operations which the Contractor plans to do in order to provide the works,
>the order and timing of the work of the Employer and Others as last agreed with them by the Contractor or,if not so agreed, as stated in the Works Infomation,
>the dates when the Contractor plans to meet each condition stated for the Key Dates and to complete other work needed to allow the Employer and others to do their work,
>Provisions for
>>float,
>>rime risk allowances,
>>health and safety requirements and
>>the procedures set out in this contract.


Try also NEC 3 Flow Charts.


Great Day!!!

Arman
James Barnes
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Trevor,

I hear what you say, but still disagree with you in principle.


The baseline (original agreed BL or revised through issuance of EOT) is what progress should be judged against during a project.

This doesn’t mean that the activities on your 3day lookahead *must* be the same as if you were 100% on the baseline, because you’re likely not 100% on the baseline anyway, but judging the progress to date based upon what was agreed (whether contractually enforcible or not) is the only way I can see to maintain some steerage on the plan.

That said, I do agree that the contractual dates are just that, the dates in the contract. Thus deviating from the BL is not necessarily (infact not even likely to be) a breach of the contract conditions. It can, however, be used later to forensically pick apart the reasons for any resultant delay but that’s not the point during the execution itself and doesn’t mean the BL is not relevant.

In the end if a project is about working out who is in default from the start, then the project is bound to fail. Measuring progress against BL is a technique to maintain an eye on goals while surfing that huge wave that is a project during execution. The point of it is to ensure the timely completion of the project, meeting that or those all important contract milestone(s) thus avoiding a contract breach. Buy in from all involved parties to the BL is a management technique to try and get those parties to actually follow the plan rather than just wandering off and doing their own thing.

I’d be interested in advice from the more legally minded of you as to the enforcibility of a Baseline set at tender and included in the contract documents but contractual enforcibility is not why I judge the progress against BL, maintaining steerage towards the planned completion is.
Trevor Rabey
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I can see that my proposal gets about zero support from anywhere.Perhaps I should be more clear about it.

"Measuring performance against a program you aren’t even working to any more is irrelevant"
By this I don’t mean that the work being done on the site is being made up ad-hoc day-by-day without any plan, just that the plan that is being worked to is the current plan, not the Baseline. If the Baseline was very complete and perfectly modeled on Day 1, and everything has proceeded pretty much as planned, then the current plan will not be very different but it will still be different to some degree, and the more time elapsed since Day 1 the more different it is likely to be.

I have not said contract dates don’t matter, but have attempted to distinguish between those which are and those which are not contract dates. Apart from separable portions and intermediate milestones as stated explicitly in the contract, there should only be one contract date that matters (contractually) and that is the overall project finish date. If there are separable portions and intermediate milestones there should not be very many of them. But just because thousands of dates appear on baseline or current program does not mean that they are all individual contract promises. They are not.
In Australia and other places there is no such thing as "penalties" in contracts. Courts will not enforce them. There is LDs, which is agreed compensation for agreed damages, but they can only be attached to the overall contract finish date and/or a few separable portions and intermediate milestones.
Show me a contract that states that every date in a Baseline program with thousands of Tasks is a promise.
A D
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Thanks Guys for such a fruitful (Juicy) discussion - drilling pipeline from Germany to Australia,

Well anyway, basic question for me to start this thread was about putting the realistic dates in the updated program.

There was no argument initially weather to follow BL or not. It shud and no doubt @ it.

For me the conclusion is to put the realistic dates in BL without touching the BL dates.

Hope this is what u guys wanna say

:-)
Andrew Dick
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Actually I’ve been in the club for a number of years it’s just company I work for now is looking for membership and I’m filling out their forms so to speak.

I’m in Brisbane (Brisvegas) Queensland Aus, sounds like you’d need a big hole driller to get here for a drink, so I’ll have one for you and maybe a few other tomorrow night.

Take care

Andy
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Andrew
Welcome to the club. What you are currently doing seems very familiar. We should dig through the earth (shortest path!?) to have a drink.
Cheers
Dieter
Andrew Dick
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I would say that the information on updating given by James & Deiter, is just what I’m attempting to do at the moment.

With all of our new project schedules (the ones that are brand new and have not had the fortune of being mitigated at this stage), we are going to set an initial performance measurement baseline (PMB). This baseline will be our initial contract baseline and will not change unless we receive customer approval. During the progression of the project I intend to create other period reporting baselines and compare them with the PMB, and themselves using the Claim Digger initially, which will give us a nice little historical report, and form the foundations of any investigations that I may need to do on the program.

I also have the great fortune of using the timesheet module of P5, and have to apply resources to the activity for their timesheet bookings, on a rolling basis with a forward window of (hopefully) 2 weeks in the infant system, and eventually a month or two in advance of the activity starting when we get good at it.

Given the many different ways Primavera can be set up to calculate all the data, I’m sure I’m going to be in for a wild ride, to accurately track & control the budgets and actuals, given that the budget (Baseline) should remain unchanged unless approved by the customer, and that a simple budget increase on an activity can be included in the system calculations if your not careful.

Then when we get to doing status on the program that (as we all know) opens a can of different smelling worms, normally an unpleasant odour, but nonetheless one that we must tolerate.

I’m even going to try and set up a stringent set of Earned Value Techniques (EVT’s), for the team leaders to use in calculating the status of their assigned activities.

So I guess we’ll just see if I still have my hair in a few weeks as all this kicks off for real on a new project next week.

What Am I Doing??????????? AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Trevor
No pity. The only area I know where contractual dates don’t count is IT. There you find a new BL each month to show that you progress absolutely according to plan, even if you are two years late. All other areas of business, I know, have penalties if you don’t meet the contractual dates as documented in the BL.
Forecasts of a scheduling software would be a different topic. But the idea behind is: I you continue like this, you will end there. The calculation will be influenced by the parameters for etc (estimate to complete).
Regards
Dieter
James Barnes
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Trevor,

I have to say I agree with Deiter on this; reporting the progress against the baseline is essential. Updating the plan each reporting period and then reporting that you’re on schedule ... because you just updated it ... is something I saw done once. It was not pretty.

If the actual progress deviates from the baseline enough that for all practical purposes the main completion miletones cannot be met following the current plan then a recovery plan needs to be set, which demonstrates a different way to meet the project goals (most commonly by nitroducing additional resources). The baseline still exists and is what any litigation will normally use to judge final performance against. In the event that no practical recovery plan is available and it is simply imopssible to achieve major completion milestones, then EOT needs to be agreed and a new baseline set. Again, the original baseline will still exist, as it will depend on the reasons for the EOT (cause of delay) as to the final settlement of the consequences of it. The EOT system itself ensures that this is not taken lightly, otherwise a new baseline will be set each reporting period.

If, on the other hand, the approach (work order, logic etc)that has been taken on the job differs extensively from the original plan (which is what I think you may mean by; "Measuring performance against a program you aren’t even working to any more is irrelevant") then I would agree, a new plan should be developed, but very hard questions should also be asked about why the original plan was abandoned in the first place. (they say the first casualty of war is the plan, afterall ;) )

As for why sign up to a bad contract in the first place, well, that’s contracting for you.
Trevor Rabey
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Why would you sign up to a bad contract in the first place?
A commitment is not the same thing as a contractual promise by a long shot. No damage is inflicted on the client, so there is no compensation or remedy, even if all of the dates are missed, provided that the only real promise, to deliver the finished project, is kept.

Dieter, that’s my point. No need to pity me for my "mis-understanding". Measuring performance against a program you aren’t even working to any more is irrelevant, dysfunctional and pointless. Performance "indicators" such as CPI and SPI are all about the past, and are irrelevant to some extent for that reason, and further irrelevant because they provide no useful information or guidance about what can or should be done to control the project. They also don’t predict anything except themselves because all of the prediction that is possible is in the most current plan/program.
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Armando and Trevor

With a big interest I followed your discussion.
Armando, I fully agree with your posts - so no need for me, to write.
Trevor, may be there is a misunderstanding: Of course you work according your updated plan, but you will be measured against the BL’s central and agreed dates.
Regards and thank you both
Dieter
Armando Moriles
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Trevor,

I am not really sure if I’m expressing myself correctly, but with no offense, this is how it goes for me and you may not agree with it:

1. It is your programme. Not the client nor its authorized representative. Those are dates that you committed, a contractual document and therefore binding;
2. Your programme has several paths, and one if it is your critical path which has zero total and free floats. You have to manage it in such a way that your near critical path(s) won’t turn critical by consuming its floats. Your performance will be measured against your baseline programme;
3. Once you signed the contract, whether it is good or bad, you already have to live with it;
4. Dates will change, correct, but you’ve got to cover those change(s) to your advantage. That’s is why in other contracts, they encourage the contractor(s) to include their change management system into the proposal.;


In my opinion, contractual repercussion(s) is greatly affected by your relationships with the client and its representative. Then sometimes, it depends also on how cruel the client is but lucky enough if the client is so naive that doesn’t know also what committment is even allowing you to breach because he’s having trouble also paying the bills.

Best regards,

Arman
Trevor Rabey
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The dates shown are not the intended dates. They are only the earliest possible dates, based on everything known when the plan is made, and they will change and everyone knows it. But they are incorrectly mis-interpreted by the client’s lawyers to be "promised" dates, because lawyers crave more certainty than ever is possible. Let the client, at his risk, rely on his own mis-interpretation to the extent of mobilising for a specific date months in advance, conveniently ignoring all experience, all improvements to the planning during the course of the project and the certainty that reality will occur at least somewhat different from the long range projections. Sure, then claim/sue. Or the client can rely on the most current advice which acquires more certainty as the events get closer, which would be a lot more sensible.
Armando Moriles
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Hi Trevor,

The contractual significance would I think depends how good or bad your baseline programme is and coupled with how good or bad you manage your baseline programme as well. But it is indeed a contractual document.

The employer’s personnel shall be entitled to rely upon the programme when planning their activities. Such that if for example your programme calendar is 5 days a week, meaning you just can’t simply say you’ll work on a 6 day basis because the employer’s personnel is only good for 5 days otherwise you’ll pay for their expenses in excess. Employer’s personnel will be mobilized in accordance to your programme, meaning if you intend to start commissioning works on certain date, the employer will also mob its personnel on that date. You’ll be accountable for their expenses if you can’t start on that date...etc.

It seemed to me that you are not convinced that the FIDIC form of contract is a good one as I prefer not to comments whether it is indeed ok or not. But I think a bus company timetable is very irrelevant except if you sign a contract with them regarding your travel schedules.

Regards,

Arman
Trevor Rabey
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It is entirely feasible to make a case that the "correct" interpretation is exactly the opposite of yours, that the primary purpose and use of a programme is as a management tool and the contractual significance, if any, is incidental, and in any case usually mis-interpreted.

"what programmes really are"?
"not just simply management tools"?
"vital part of the whole contract documents"?

They are almost entirely management tools, possibly the most important and useful tools that the contractor has, if he knows how and is ever allowed to use them.
They always were. They were never intended to have a contractual significance. That role and (mis-)interpretation is a recent invention, and the direct cause of a lot of trouble.
Sure, the project will be executed in accordance with the program, but it won’t be the one that is handed over on day 1 - 28, usually called the Baseline. It will be the one that is current at the time, developed and released as and when required in a controlled way, which has the benefit of all of the information available at the time and with all of the possible improvements, corrections and amendments available. This is an absolute necessity if the contractor is to meet the main obligation under the contract, which is to deliver the whole project.

The FIDIC and all of the other standard forms are classic compromise. Far from achieving a stated aim of clarity and certainty, they are diluted, incomplete and/or unambiguous, eg.
"The Employer’s Personnel shall be entitled to rely upon the programme when planning their activities."
"rely"? On what and for what, and in what way and to what extent?
What "activities"?
Which programme? The long ago superseded (baseline) one from day 1-28 or the current one?

The bus company publishes a timetable, which is helpful, but you can’t sue them for not arriving at every stop as scheduled (even if you are not there to meet it).
Armando Moriles
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Hi guys, it is indeed very nice having the these opportunities to such levels of discussions...Great Day!

Programmes/Schedules are not just simply management tools rather it is a vital part of the whole contract documents.

I find it much better if we take a glance at certain forms of contracts to further our understandings of what programmes really are:

1. FIDIC Form of Contract
Sub-clause 8.3 - Programme

>The contractor shall submit a detailed time programme to the Engineer within 28 days after receiving the notice under Sub-clause 8.1 (Commencement of Works)...Each programme shall include:
>>the order in which the Contractor intends to carry out the Works, including the anticipated timing of each stage of design (if any), Contractor’s Documents, procurement, manufacture of Plant, delivery to Site, construction , erection and testing;...Unless the Engineer, within 21 days after receiving a programe, gives notice to the Contractor stating the extent to which it does not comply with the Contract, the Contractor shall proceed in accordance with the programme subject to his other obligations under the Contract.The Employer’s Personnel shall be entitled to rely upon the programme when planning their activities.

In a project, you as a contrctor may not be alone, others maybe dependent on you. Be careful in executing an activity not in accordance with your programme because the repercussions might be serious. It is a good ground for contract for termination. If you work ahead or delayed, it may not concide with the other programmes. For instance you intentionally failed to drill a hole in the slab needed for the mechanical contractor because you did not follow your on programme, it is a breach, a ground for contract termination.So do it as you programmed as you could always claim for any delay against anybody. If you believe that you could not execute your programme because of whatever reason, refer back to the contract and you will be required to serve notification first prior to the execution.



Regards,

Arman
Trevor Rabey
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It is worth reflecting on what is being presented and how that is being interpreted when a contractor drops the selected (sanitized) version of his plan that he has deigned to show the client on day -1 of the project as a baseline. And when that is "agreed", who is agreeing to what, exactly?
Contractor’s Baseline Gantt Chart invariably shows the earliest possible start and finish date for each Task, given the scope definition, assumptions, approximations and modeling that has been done up to that point (ie, it’s imperfect and can/should be improved asap). The earliest possible start and finish date is not the "promised latest date" or the even necessarily the scheduled date or the intended date.
So the contractor presents one version/estimate of how the overall project target finish can be achieved, and the client, with his lawyers encouragement, latches onto it and interprets every detail as a promise, and infers a degree of certainty that was never there and was never the intended meaning. If there is "agreement" then the parties are agreeing to different things. The client then gets to flog the contractor at every opportunity over any departure while not having to be the one that actually performs the management and takes all the risk.
Richard Spedding
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I think there is some misconception about!

Programmes/schedules are management tools. They are used to inform decisions taken on how to go forward with the project.

The programme is a demonstration of one way to complete a project in the time alotted under the contract
at one particular point in time. Hopefully from the contractor’s point of view it is the most economical way of carrying out the works. There are many other ways of reaching the same result, by increasing resources / working hours etc, however these will probably lead to additional costs.

A departure from the programme is NOT a breach of contract, whether it is on the critical path or not. No organisation can or will guarantee to start or complete a particular activity on a particular day three weeks away, let alone three months or three years ahead.

The reason a baseline / contract programme is produced and agreed at the outset is to give the client team a way of seeing whether the project will be completed on time. It should then be updated on a regular basis to show how progress towards completion is being achieved by the contractor.

The contractor can at these regular reviews also explain what has been achieved, and explain why some activities are late, or early, and the steps he is taking to bring the delays under control, or why they are the clients responsibility if that is the case.



Trevor Rabey
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Since no construction project that I have ever seen has followed the Baseline, critical and otherwise, all contractors are in breach then, even for the slightest departure?
What is the remedy for the breach?
Usually a remedy for a breach is money damages or specific performance and/or termination. Let’s not kid ourselves - never happens because you can’t turn back the clock.
So no remedy worth puruing, therefore no breach.
Although it is tempting to regard the baseline and every detail expressed in it as a contractual promise beyond whatever the contract states explicitly, it is not consistent with fixed price contracting in which the risk is all transferred to the contractor, the promise is for a single or a very few identifiable deliverable(s), ie the project, with everything to do with getting there being up to the contractor to manage. Departure from the baseline is a necessity for that management. The client is entitled to know how the project is progressing and being managed but would be acting against his own interests to insist on rigid adherence to the baseline.
Armando Moriles
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Hi guys,

I learned more in participating to discussions than just reading them all. So I would like to share my ideas with this topic...

Trevor’s questions are great, and I may add up to Dieter’s efforts to explain the value of a baseline.


1. Is every detail, or even one detail, of the agreed baseline any sort of contractual promise?
>YES, because each belongs to a path.
2. Since those are explicitly stated in the contract there is no need for them to be stated in the Baseline.
>YES, it is needed because the contract does not
genetate the path it is only in the programme.
3. Is departure from the Baseline a breach?
>If the departure is agreed by all parties, it no NO
breach because it only means that another Baseline is
generated. If no agreement to depart from the
baseline, YES, it is a breach for not following what
has been agreed. But client won’t bother if the
contractor would execute activities in advance. But,
if the contractor fails to execute what belongs to the
critical path, it is a risk that he has to take
because LD will be measured from the critical path.

4. Does the start date for a task on a baseline programme imply a promise or an obligation to do it on that date?
>If the activity is part of the critical path,
absolutely YES. But the contractor could either start
early & finish early. Any delay is a legitimate basis
for LD charge(s). If the contractor ofcourse could not
execute the path not of his fault, it is also a
legitimate basis for claim charges against the client.


I hope some planning with QS expertise guys would react to this matter.

Great day Dieter & Trevor!!!

Arman


Dieter Wambach
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Hi Trevor
Maybe I expressed wrong about the value of a baseline. When you sign a contract, you sign for dates as well: mechanical completion Sep. 1, 2009, construction from to..., ready for technical approval by local authorities e.t.c. I assume you won’t sign for "welder John Smith will finalize tube xrz4711 App 14 2008 at 9:45 am" and analogue for every tube.
When project is ongoing, you realize uups: mechanical completion will be two weeks late and there is no chance to speed up due to delivery situation. And now?
1. In secret modify the BL, go to next monthly meeting and show that everything is ok? or
2. Show the difference between BL and current plan and explain the reasons and your way to keep project’s end date, or prepare a claim because the delay is due to customer’s mistake - what can easily be show by a not modified BL.
Maybe you already have another job assignment, then you can select no.1, otherwise customer or management will blame you the date of mc and you will have lost being trustworthy. Be sure, managers and customers have the key dates in mind and there is a German saying that "lies have short legs".
Regards
Dieter
Trevor Rabey
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So at the beginning of a project there is an agreed Baseline. There is a contractual requirement to arrive at one, but is every detail, or even one detail, of the agreed Baseline any sort of contractual promise? Since those are explicitly stated in the contract there is no need for them to be stated in the Baseline. Is departure from the Baseline a breach? If that were so every construction contractor would be in breach.
Does the start date for a Task on a baseline program imply a promise or an obligation to do it on that date? If the baseline shows 10000 bricks being laid 4 months from now and when we get there they can’t be laid on that date, whatever the reason, there is no breach of contract. Sure the bricks are part of a deliverable, but when they get laid is for the contractor to manage. Breach only occurs if the entire building isn’t delivered to the agreed standard by the contract finish date etc. Even if there is a breach, there is no remedy for it unless there is quantifiable damage. Hard to argue that departure from some or many of the details in a Baseline, for the good reason of managing the project, is a cause of any damage.
Dieter Wambach
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Your advocats will be delighted!
A D
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Yup Dieter,

and I do believe, acceptance of a baseline schedule legally constitutes an amendment to the basic contract.

It is possible to wave contractual requirements just by allowing items in the Baseline Schedule that contradict what is specified in other documents.
Dieter Wambach
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Trevor
But you have a contract with a scope of work, a schedule, a list of deliverables and a price.
What would you do, if your customer regularly would change the Price? In addition: Each meeting of steering committee a new BL - they will be confused and won’t believe one of your words.
So a change of BL requires an agreement because it’s part of the contract and basis of our work.
Regards
Dieter
Trevor Rabey
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Raf, Sometimes I wonder whether EVPM really does measure "performance", and, if it does, who the performance measurement is for and in what way it is useful to them.

Sometimes I wonder if EV and the objectives of effective, flexible planning are mutually contradictory and/or exclusive.

Does EV preclude adaptive and flexible planning?

EV depends on the existence of a very complete and accurate model of the project at the earliest stage of a project so that the model can become the Baseline before execution.
But even then, it won’t be perfect and there will be changes, hopefully small ones.
There has to be the option to make changes if, as and when needed, as new information becomes available, and the quicker the better. Obviously, being adaptive and flexible has to consist of something with more structure to it than just making it up ad-hoc as you go along.

Isn’t newer information better than older information?
Changes made to the plan during the course of the project might include anything and everything not yet done (scope, durations, resource assignments, costs, predecessors) and have the benefit of any new information as well as observation of actual progress up to the Status Date every time the progress is assessed and updated. When changes are made to the plan the current plan becomes the target rather than the Baseline but, unless the current plan becomes the new Baseline, performance is still being measured against a version of the project plan Baseline which has been superseded. OK, you can’t re-baseline every 10 minutes but also there seems little point in being shackled to measuring performance against a Baseline 10 months old, and not much credibility attached to the EV scores. But Baselines are changed only reluctantly and infrequently. There would be a temptation to ignore the EV numbers and ignore the original Baseline and get on with planning and executing the remaining portion of the project. So a client might be attaching great importance to EV output while the contractor couldn’t care less.
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Raviraj
As Adrew wrote "...because as we are all well aware, the minute someone starts a job, it’s all guess work from there, until we close the doors at the end of the project...". So it’s not a poor planning in the sense of a bad job, which might happen as well, it’s real life. So the actual schedule is subject to change, when we stay on the ball, showing all differences between BL and actual schedule.
The BL is a part of the contract, so it should never be touched - otherwise you’ll make yourself unreliable. If there is a change of scope, maybe due to a claim, an additional BL will be established - in addition to the old one. This should be signed by the customer as well.
(I understand BL in same sense as Primavera: a frozen copy of the project.)
Regards
Dieter
A D
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Thanks Dieter / Andrew / Vikas and Raf,

Thanks for ur valuable comments / suggestions,

In a nut shell, my question was; can we use the dates in the updated program changing the logic what we had used in the baseline program?

These change in dates in updated can be on account of:
- Expected late delivery of items / material say cladding material,
- Expected Non-availability of technicians for say next 12 days
- Expected Non-availability of key resources which are supposed to demobilise from other project.
- Major change in plot co-ordinates affecting the future construction works
- Expected approval of some items by client, not on the early start dates but before the late start date
- Strike at some country port and leading to late deliveries

These delays can be at any level of the program, may be at level 3 or level 4.

It might be because of POOR EXECUTION and NOT poor planning. Or it might b bcoz of over-committment by the top management, say instead of saying 6 day cycle time for each floor, committing a 4 day cycle time.

All changes are normally in all projects are discussed in the weekly progress and planning meetings and normally WELL DOCUMENTED.

From the overall discussion, (Especially from Anoon and DIETER) it seems that changes can be incorporated into the updated program but NOT TOUCHING THE BASELINE PROGRAM.

Is this correct?
Andrew Dick
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Changes to the program and the activity duration are an unfortunate natural occurrence.
The amount of changes and their relevant impact will normally be a result of a few things;
Some of those that I have encountered in my time include;
•     Poor estimating of Scope Time and Cost
•     Poor understanding of the type of resource that should be used
•     Poor understanding of the quantity of resources required
•     Assignment of resources that do not have the required skills

In a nutshell, poor planning.

Other things that are currently affecting this process include;
•     Using P5 timesheet module, at the same time trying to establish historical data for later review
•     The need to use the tool (P5) as a predictive resource analysis tool when it can’t level using roles only, and assigning real people to activities can only be achieved a maximum of 2 weeks in advance (with only 20% accuracy – Due to the speed at which priorities change as a result the dates that management have committed us too without doing any planning upfront)


Unfortunately in the job which I currently inhabit, the management are very quick to write cheques that are very hard to cash. What I mean is that in order to satisfy the customer, decisions are made that inevitably place undue strain on the resources at our disposal.

The other issue is the lack of a standard engineering process which is followed.

I will borrow a quote which I saw on this site the other day which wraps it up quite nicely, it seems that there is never enough time to plan but always enough time to do it twice.

What this has meant is a review of the way in which baselines are set and subsequently controlled. Instead of taking the baseline to the inth degree and locking it in at the activity level, and controlling any change there, we are trying to control the baseline at a higher level of the WBS. What this means for us is that we will have the flexibility to make minor changes to the resources, durations and logic of the activities so long as the WBS they belong to is maintained within its original baseline data.

It thus becomes important to establish at which level of the WBS to set the control points.
I’m hopeful of getting a baseline down as low as level 4, which for us is the next level below Preliminary or Detailed design. To go any lower (we have another 2 levels) would be too much to control.

Wed have introduced (very recently) an issues log where things get raised that may affect the project, the next step is to introduce the business development team to planning.

Can you imagine a world where as a planner we actually get more than a spreadsheet from BD when we kick off a project…………………..Then I woke Up!!!!!


We all know that change is how the world works; a project plan is only as good as the day before the project starts, because as we are all well aware, the minute someone starts a job, it’s all guess work from there, until we close the doors at the end of the project and the SPI = 1.
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Raphael
Thank you for the link.
If you don’t plan in detail, who will do it then - the workers? How will you trace the project. It depends on the project, how detailed the schedule has to be. In general you don’t show all activities to the customer.
Regards
Dieter
vikas agrawal
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Hi,

In my experience minor changes to the current program are inevitable if the real scenario is to be projected. Minor changes are allowed provided the project end date or any major Milestone date is not affected. However, such changes have to brought up in the next meeting to get documented.
Raphael M. Dua
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Dieter

You are correct about minor things that go on in contracted construction programmes, but an experienced Planner and schedulers try to keep changes to a minimum, by not going into great detail. But getting the right level, as all things takes experience and how you are able to communicate with your client and his superintendents.
The URL for the Aus standard is

http://www.standards.org.au/

This will take you to their front page. Go to the search box and type in 4817:2006 click go
This will take you to their commercial page. You need to click on Proceed to get there.
You can view the first eight pages of the standard by clicking view

Hope this helps
Raf
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Raviraj
That’s exactly what I meant.

Hi Raphael
As during a project’s life you get new information, your schedule does live as well - estimations for durations, assigned resources, and other items change. This will not lead to a modification of contract.
Then as I understand it, minor changes are those which have no impact onto the project’s scope, which are under Project Manager’s responsibility. Other changes lead to claims or to modifications of, or amendments to the contract. (Please be aware: I’m no native English speaker nor an advocat).
Can you be so kind as to give an address (URL) for zhe "Australian Standard AS4817:2006", please.
Regards
Dieter
Raphael M. Dua
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Raviraj

I hit send too soon
You are confusing two things in your post. Durations and computed dates are two different things.
Calculated schedule dates quite often move and in your example of the work being delayed for two weeks means that our Schedule variance will be impacted, but not the duration of a task
Hope that helps

Raf
Raphael M. Dua
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Raviraj

Having carried out the progressing of a project the durations in the past have no bearing on the future. The contract said that minor changes would be tolerated, which means that they are ’Future changes". If you changed any of the remaining durations you will with out doubt change the calculations of all the paths that the changed duration effects.
Unless the specific path has plenty of Total Float, a minor change will use up the equivalent amount of float. However if the minor duration change is on a critical activity, then the project end date will be delayed by the amount of time the changed duration has increased.

So you will cause the estimate to complete to move past the Budget at Completion

Of course there is nothing to prevent a minor duration change being a reduction in time, but in my experience durations almost always increase.

I would be very careful about changing durations once you have baselined and above document every change you make, so you can remember why the end date has now moved out to the right.

Raf
A D
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Thanks Raphel,

The baseline wont be changed, its about minor changes to durations in the updated program and not to the baseline

Integrity of the baseline will be maintained.

But if u know that some portion of the work is not going to happen for next say 10 days, then those new dates (rather than those dates coming from program) need to be reflected in the updated program and so, somebody can check the variances. Also, it helps in giving a TRUE two/four week Look Ahead program to the site team.

This is what I understood from Dieter’s and Annon’s reply

Is this correct?
Raphael M. Dua
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Raviraj

I wonder what the writer of the contract (a lawyer no doubt) meant by Minor Changes to Durations.
I always run my projects using the Earned value regime, so once the Baseline has been signed off, there can be NO changes to durations. The EV process basically makes you consider your duration estimates and you must stick to them. You cannot willy nilly change a duration because something unforeseen or was badly planned has occurred.
The EV rules permit change but it requires formal Baseline Change Request mechanisms to be in place.
If you constantly change durations no matter how minor, how will you know the variances between what you promised to do (ie The Baseline)The Budget at Completion, with the Estimate at Completion.
Read the Australian Standard AS4817:2006 for more on EV
A D
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Thanks Dieter, Thanks Anoon
Dieter Wambach
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Hi Raviraj
I totally agree with Anoon. Only approved changes of scope may lead to a new (approved) baseline - with a revision number.
Other baselines are just to please or to secure you.
Regards
Dieter
Anoon Iimos
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Ravi,

I believe that revision numbers will only apply on your Target or Baseline Program, which needs approval before implementation. While your Current or Actual Program will be reported periodically making it dynamic and changeable depending on the actual conditions and your company’s strategy. This is done in comparison with your approved Target or Baseline no matter how many times you made revisions (as long as it was approved).
A D
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Hi Anoon,

After such a long time.

But, then what do u say,

Issue a program with new dates without having a revision no. with no change in baseline giving a realistic view.

Is this what u say?

:-)

Raviraj
Anoon Iimos
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that’s the comparison between your Baseline/Target and your Current/Actual program which will give you a realistic view. Meaning, the Current or the Actual Program is always changeable and dynamic, but never do the changes in your Baseline or Target.
Karim Mounir
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Hi Ravi,

IMO, the only way to modify the original programme (its logic and durations) is when u issue a revised one.

Regards,
Karim