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Benefits of the Interdependent CPM Schedule Model

June 3, 2016Michael Bograd
What is wrong with the Status Quo? Timely, Costly, Inefficient, Opaque.  All of these words describe the development of a baseline schedule. Additionally, they also resonate when discussing the update process and payment application of the project schedule. Traditionally, the development of the Project Critical Path Method Schedule (CPM) Baseline is binary. The general contractor (GC) develops a CPM schedule, and then the owner reviews the schedule and either approves or rejects the schedule.  Ultimately, the responsibility of the schedule lies with the general contractor, who will use information provided from the owner to develop the schedule.  The result of this scheduling effort is the Contractor’s best plan at the time of award on how the project should be built. The owner should receive a baseline narrative from the GC that describes how the project is going to be built and provide enough details that will assist in the approval of the schedule. Depending on the size of the project, contract type and available resources the potential time required to develop the schedule and subsequently review the schedule could take months, and in the process delay the start of work as well as potential payments.
But What Can We Do? Using the Interdependent CPM Scheduling (ICPM) model can effectively reduce the time that is required to develop and approve a baseline schedule as well as the time that is required to create an update.  Additionally, during the update process when the owner and the GC are both responsible for the submission of the schedule, potential impacts will be resolved sooner, payment applications approved faster, ultimately creating a better managed project.The ICPM methodology creates an environment that puts the responsibility of the CPM schedule on both the owner and the general contractor and makes the CPM schedule a third party entity. From day one it takes project managers, superintendents, stakeholders and owner’s representatives out from behind the curtains and forces both parties to work jointly to develop the baseline schedule.  This creates transparency in the project, gives the general contractor an opportunity to explain their means and methods, logistical plan, and overall project plan.  This in turn helps to alleviate the owner’s concerns of the schedule being used as a tool to mask delay as well as reducing the GC’s ability to use float suppressing tactics.Take a look at the two baseline scenarios in this graph. One is the traditional CPM schedule development method, which includes three weeks for the general contractor to develop, cost load and submit a baseline schedule.  This is followed by a two-week review from the owner, which may or may not result in an approved baseline.  A week is allocated in the instances of having to resubmit the baseline which leads to the final review of the baseline schedule, in total this is a seven-week process.
The second scenario is the Interdependent CPM Scheduling method.  In this scenario the owner and general contractor are collaborating on the development of the project schedule, identifying risks, mitigation plans, as well as creating the basis for the payment application. The overall amount of time for the ICPM is three-weeks, effectively eliminating a month from the baseline process.BlogTraditional Baseline Schedule Development vs. Interdependent CPM Baseline Schedule DevelopmentWill it Actually Work? Yes, it will! And Aegis has successfully implemented the ICPM on multiple projects, with exceptional results at the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center in Camp Williams, Utah.  This project was a joint-venture with Balfour Beatty, Big-D, and DPR.  Working collectively was the JV, The Army Corps of Engineers and Aegis, we were able to develop in a short period of time a rolling wave baseline, a detailed owner’s and subcontractor’s payment requisitions all while concurrently producing two-week schedule updates and payment applications. The ICPM was literally the only scheduling method that would work on a project of this size and pace, as it allowed for faster response times from both the owner and JV.

This method requires up-front commitments from the owner and the general contractor.  Multiple meeting will have to occur, whether in person or remotely to plan and develop the project schedule.  This collective effort will include pull-planning sessions, phasing schedules, and scheduling charrettes. The projects that have successfully implemented the Interdependent CPM Scheduling method had both the resources to co-locate both groups which allowed for the ease of collaboration as well as two willing participants that both wanted to see a useful tool being implemented more efficiently for the betterment of the project