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Construction Scheduling Games – Revisited & Updated

"Construction Scheduling Games – Revisited & Updated" by

  • Amanda Jo Amadon, PMP Emily Federico, PSP 
  • Stephen Pitaniello, P.E., CFCC
  • James G. Zack, Jr., CCM, CFCC, FAACE, FRICS, PMP 


1. Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to catalogue a large number of scheduling games the authors had encountered on projects and offer recommendations on ways to defend against such games.

2. Design / Methodology / Approach – The authors thought back on numerous schedule delay claim assignment they had worked on over the years to create the catalogue of games. After cataloguing the games, the authors brainstormed ways to defend against such games – both through the use of contractual language in the contract documents and scheduling specification as well as practical, non-contractual ways.

3. Findings & Value – Having actually implemented many of the defenses on live projects, the authors were able to determine which defensive means worked well and which were more problematical. The value is that the ideas put forth were not only theoretical but had proven effective or somewhat effective on actual projects.

4. Research Limitations / Implications – The only limitations are that (1) all the games and defenses were derived from “troubled projects” and may or may not be necessary on projects where no games are being played and (2) the authors found no way to estimate the cost implications to owners and contractors should a great many of the proposed ideas be incorporated into a set of contact documents. While it is acknowledged that implementation of many of these ideas will increase project controls costs on a project, we do not know by how much.

5. Practical Use / Implications – The paper has a good deal of practical use in that it associates recommended practices with each identified games and at the end offers a checklist of 57 practical items to be employed when reviewing schedule updates. Project managers who review the paper and implement some of the recommendations are likely to face a reduced number of scheduling games on their projects.

6. Originality /Value – While there are numerous books on scheduling around the globe most focus on either how to prepare and update a schedule (the technical side) or scheduling disputes (the legal side). This paper does neither. It identifies 19 relatively common scheduling games and offers 53 suggested defenses.

7. Conclusions – This paper is unique and based on a good deal of real life experience on projects. It gets to the heart of the matter in the form of “If you have encountered this scheduling game on previous projects, you should consider implementing the following contractual and/or practical defenses on future projects.”

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