Managing Schedule Risks

Many tools are used to identify potential risks and problems related to the schedule. These include the following:

  • Schedule review meetings
  • Critical path analysis
  • Near critical path analysis
  • Float analysis
  • Manpower curves
  • Earned value schedule productivity index

However, using such techniques without adopting a risk-based approach to management is inefficient. To improve the results of the schedule analysis, the project team must identify high risk activities (usually those with little, no, or negative float) and the resources essential to their completion. The project controls / planning manager must ensure that the schedule provides adequate detail related to these activities and that the schedule is loaded with the essential resources.

During biweekly or monthly schedule reviews and analyses, the project management team focuses on high-risk areas of the schedule (although not exclusively). A properly constructed schedule can be easily used to develop multiple “What-If Analysis” scenarios, such as, “what if we work two shifts on a particular work element” or “what if we accelerate delivery of a key piece of equipment.” This type of proactive analysis is expected of project management teams.

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