Before you start to perform a schedule risk analysis, it’s first vital to understand Schedule Integrity so that you can adequately assess how ‘good’ your schedule is. If you want to feed your data into a schedule risk tool like Primavera Risk Analysis, for example, you will need to have a valid schedule otherwise it cannot do its analysis properly.
In this blog, we’ll briefly cover the key aspects of schedule integrity to help you set yourself up for successful schedule risk analysis.
Schedule integrity is all about making sure you have a good quality schedule from the start. But what is a good schedule?
This can sometimes be a tricky question to answer, especially in complex projects or large programmes as it will often depend on what your schedule contains.
However, there are certain things that should be considered:
Link between activities rather than constraint dates
Firstly, look at how you are linking your activities.
If you put set dates for each activity to start when they are actually dependant on another then you will give yourself a huge job as each time one activity slips you will have to manually go and change all the constraint dates on the others.
A better alternative is to link the actual activities. Then, if one slips, or even finishes early, any others that are dependent on this will move automatically, saving you time and a possible headache.
There is no harm in putting some constraints where things must be finished by a certain point or perhaps cannot start until a certain date. But generally, these should be used in conjunction with links.
Should I use leads and lags?
These are fine to use if they are fixed durations. However, if these can vary, then it’s best to put to have them as linked activities with a gap. This allows you to add uncertainty on them and model this.
Open ended tasks/Orphan tasks
Ideally you should not have more than two in your project plan: a start milestone and a finish milestone.
If you have more open-ended tasks it does beg the question: why are they important? If nothing else depends on them why are you doing them? Just consider this and try where possible to have all activities properly logic linked.
Auditing Your Schedule
Those are just a few of the most common scheduling dilemmas that can impact schedule integrity, but there are plenty more that can lead to unnecessary challenges and delays down the line if not picked up.
So how can you check if you have a good schedule?
Well you could do this manually, but this can be extremely time consuming and prone to human error. Alternatively, there are tools on the market to help with this task.
For example, if you are analysing schedule risk, as part of Primavera Risk Analysis, there is a dedicated Schedule Check tool. This allows you to go through a variety of checks to assess the integrity of your schedule. There are also tools such as Acumen FUSE® built for this purpose that support you in validating and analysing your schedule.
If you’d like to learn more about schedule integrity, schedule risk analysis or the full functionality of Primavera Risk Analysis, or Primavera P6, why not come along to one of our upcoming courses.
We also have a full suite of project management training courses covering everything from PRINCE2, Agile, and MSP to Acumen FUSE, Acumen Risk and Microsoft Project. We have courses available for project management professionals at every level, or we can build a bespoke programme just for your team.