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Programme Update

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Khalil Masoud
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In projects where alot of subcontractors are engaged, who prepares the update and how? does each subcontractor update his part "soft copy" and send it to the general Contractor or CM?? or the Geberal Contractor is responsible to submit a comprehensive update after recieving feedback from different subs???


James Barnes
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I work client side (at the moment). The projects we plan are maintenance turnarounds on chem process units, I mention this because the style of project will influence your approach. What we do is this;

- Client produces the schedule with input from contractors. This is fully detailed to the level of (roughly) one activity per manshift
- In some specialist cases, we may integrate a subcontractor’s plan, but usually we have written the schedule before they are onboard so it works the other way around.
- The client also establishes a progress gathering system. We use a system of "wallpapers". One large format sheet per type of scope item with the contractor -> contractor handovers and inspection activities marked on it. These are posted on site and the relevant folks stamp the boxes as they complete tasks. This is traceable, which is key here. Further, we produce progressing sheets (which derive from the scheduling software). These are filtered per supervisor and issued to the client’s supervisors and the contractor’s ones.
- During execution, the client’s schedulers gather progress from the wall charts, the contractors and the client’s supervisors. Getting this progress can be like pulling teeth, you need PM support to enforce this. The Client’s schedulers enter the progress data into the schedule (we do this daily, but our execution periods are short) and the output provides updated progress sheets for the supervisors aswell as reports for management.

I would not be happy to take progress only from the contractors. No offense, but I worked for contractors for a long time and we were a bunch of lying B’stards. Validated data either comes from the wallpapers or the client’s supervisors (or the scheduler’s own eyes, we first hand check critical items). Thus we normally only accept contractors’ reports up to 75% complete. The activity only gets an AF date when reported by a validated source (wallpapers or client’s super). I am also not comfortable with the notion of "automatic" or software based progressing. Mistakes find their way through as people tend to think that once the data is in a computer it must be correct and so it isn’t rechecked. Forcing the progerss across the scheduler’s desk may sound bureaucratic but I’m convinced it improves the quality of the data in the final reports. The worst thing, as a scheduler, is to be quizzed about a mistake in the data in your reports and not be able to explain the source. It takes one scheduler about 2 - 2.5 hours a day to update a 10k activity P3 plan in my experience, based on daily updates and around 5-800 activities with progress data to enter per day.

An easy way to produce a progress chart is to set up a view with ACT ID, ACT Description, % cmoplete, and blank columns for 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%, filter it for the correct activities (perhaps 3day lookahead or specific work area / discipline) then ask the supervisors to fill it in with a marker pen. As I said, you need PM support for this as the supers can often see this as "extra work"