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Project Management Basic Principles for newbie

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I work for sub contractor(electrical systems - cctv, pabx, fire alarms, networking). I m quite new to this career and have range of questions. I hope the experts here wouldnt be bored by my limited intelligence

1)How important is my tender program? Need it be detailed? Or shall I construct a detailed program later so as to insert in the sub contract agreement. if so is there any other data I need to insert to support the programme, such as productivity, assumptions, pending information restricting proper programming etc.?

2)I assume that the contract program is a detailed version of the tender program provided all the milestones in the tender program are honored. Suppose this contract program gets a late approval, and some activities have already slipped, which program do I compare with? Will I be at a risk if I absorb this changes and show a realistic program? in short is it necessary delays are compared with the contract program or the latest program submitted(maybe agreed or not agreed).

3)one another questions which mystifies me is, is it a proper method to show, shop drawing submission approval, material procurement data etc. as activities which are linked to the site activities. Or is it better to show these indirect activities only for internal purposes and hide them from submissions?

4)what is the best way to tackle the time aspect of a change order? should I add these as activities in the updated program as and when it occurs to show the disruption it creates?

5)Lastly suppose I m in middle of a project and delays had already occurred partly by the client, partly by the main contractor and partly by our company, how do I properly separate each delay and show the consequences of the delay due to each party in a simple way?

I have used P3 and am comfortable with it. I have had a look at Expedition but I think it’s a bit too much for me. Any help would be appreciated.


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I work on the opposite side of the table, as a Prject Controls Eng for a major EPC Contractor (SIte Management Company). Brief Answers to questionsa are -

1. Schedule
Yes, this is important. If its wrong, its your neck on the block. But, as for how detailed, thats a hard one to call. It depends who your working for and what the scope is. Small scope, probably warrants a detailed Level 2 schedule as there wont be much to show. A Large scope (Say a petrochem plant and a 2 year duration, you could get away with a Level One as long as it is split somehow, System, Area etc. As for other stuff like productivity and assumptions, youd have to look at the contract or seek further advice from within your company. Interfaces with the Client are usually issued for bidding purposes. If they slip, you slip and everyone knows it. So maybe some milestones in your detailed schedule indicating release of GAs etc.

2. Normally, and I use this word loosely, every bid has a certain period of validity, say 60 to 90 days depending upon the indusrty. If the client is changing the design and therefore scope / dates as a result, you will be able to re-schedule your work accordingly to take the slippage into account before it becomes set in stone. Alternatively, your company can raise a Variation Order for the Extension of Time (EOT) incured as a result of the clients slippage and have the additional time approved that way. Again, you could submit a formal claim for EOT against the constractor for their impact on your work in terms of money and cost. In short, yiou can resubmit your detailed plan if it goes outside its validity period, or try to claim the lost time back through a VO or Claim. However, you may just have to crash the schedule to try and win the time back through clever use of resources - which sometimes occurs.

3. Planning of deliverables such as drawing stages can be very usefull as it shows your bosses exactly where hold ups are occuring. Same goes for procurement. If the contractor is not siging of materials requisitions on spec issues, having the activities in the plan will create a Critical Path through that particular area and you can then use it demonstrate a What If scenario if they dont release on time whatever they are holding up. Always good pracctice.

4. Including Change Orders (Or more correctly Variation Orders - changes to the actual contract scope and cost) can be included in the plan to highlight slippage against your original Clause 14 schedule for defense purposes should things get nasty (Very rare). Also, again, its good info to have up your sleeve when in progress meetings as you will have dates and durations in your mind when asked what the impact of so and so is.

5. Not sure, but you "could" - and this is a big could - code the activities impacted by change using Activity Codes in P3 or Test Fields in MS Project: i.e. Civils GAs -> VO-11 +3d / VO12+4W etc. Only a thought, but something simple and effective and easily understandable by anyone.

If you have any other Questions, or my answers dont make sense, e-mail me @

Hope this helps some and good luck with your planning !

Dave W :¬)