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Critical Path Drag

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Stephen Devaux
User offline. Last seen 30 weeks 2 days ago. Offline
Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 655
Hi, all. I didn’t know whether to post this in the Microsoft Project forum or in the Spider Project forum, so I decided to post it here instead. (You know, "general planning comments..." Actually, I’d have had to post it in BOTH those forums, as both those products can now compute drag, so this is more economical.)

Last week I was in Houston working with a client to get a project schedule compressed. My client needed it pulled in from the Feb 11 date that MSP was showing to some time in 2010.

I’ve done this sort of thing many times in the past, but always by computing drag myself, and manually. The effect is like being a conjurer, waving my cape and saying: "Beware of the bulldozer task, or it shall push thee into next year!"

On this occasion, and for the first time, I used the Sumatra Project Optimizer add-on to MSP, and showed the scheduler how to use it himself. The effect on the scheduler was amazing, as he saw how easy it was to see where the big opportunities were to pull in the schedule. Then HE felt in control of the decisions ("If we had a second person here, we’d gain 8 days, and if we tell the client they need to get this info back to us by the 15th, we’ll gain 5 more days, and we can gain 7 days by making this an SS3 relationship instead of doing it FS.")

In an hour, the decisions were made, the completion was scheduled for mid-December, and everyone in the room and on the conference call wanted to know where they could go to download it and run it on their other projects. After fifteen years of trying to get people to use drag computation to optimize their schedules, it was one of the most gratifying moments of my life!

Vladimir or Rafael or anyone else who has a tool that computes critical path drag -- have you used it to show a scheduler how to compress a real schedule that they’re working on? Because although I’ve done it before, it was always with a sample demo project. Seeing someone use it on a real project, and their reaction, was great! Vladimir, have you used Spider’s drag computation in your sales process to show how Spider does something that Primavera can’t do to help you shorten schedules?

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan