SPONSORS

SPONSORS

A Brief History of Scheduling – Back to the Future

SECOND EDITION

By Patrick Weaver, FAICD, FCIOB, PMP

Director, Mosaic Project Services Pty Ltd

Melbourne, Australia
________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

The science of ‘scheduling’ as defined by Critical Path Analysis (CPA) celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007.  In 1956/57 Kelly and Walker started developing the algorithms that became the ‘Activity-on-Arrow’ or ADM scheduling methodology for DuPont. The program they developed was trialled on plant shutdowns in 1957 and their first paper on critical path scheduling was published in March 1959.  The PERT system was developed at around the same time but lagged CPM by 6 to 12 months (although the term ‘critical path’ was invented by the PERT team). Later the Precedence (PDM) methodology was developed by Dr. John Fondahl; his seminal paper was published in 1961 describing PDM as a ‘non-computer’ alternative to CPM.  Arguably, the evolution of modern project management is a direct consequence of the need to make effective use of the data generated by the schedulers in an attempt to manage and control the critical path.

The evolution of CPM scheduling closely tracked the development of computers.  The initial systems were complex mainframe behemoths, typically taking a new scheduler many months to learn to use.  These systems migrated to the ‘mini computers’ of the 1970s and 80s but remained expensive, encouraging the widespread use of manual scheduling techniques, with only the larger (or more sophisticated) organisations being able to afford a central scheduling office and the supporting computer systems.

The advent of the ‘micro computer’ (ie, personal computer, or PC) changed scheduling for ever. The evolution of PC based scheduling move project controls from an environment where a skilled cadre of schedulers operating expensive systems made sure the scheduling was ‘right’ (and the organisation ‘owned’ the data) to a situation where anyone could learn to drive a scheduling software package, schedules became ‘islands of data’ sitting on peoples’ desktops and the overall quality of scheduling plummeted.

Current trends back to ‘Enterprise’ systems supported by PMOs seem to be redressing the balance and offering the best of both worlds.  From the technology perspective, information is managed centrally, but is easily available on anyone’s desktop via web enabled and networked systems.  From the skills perspective PMOs are re-developing career paths for schedulers and supporting the development of scheduling standards within organisations.

This paper tracks the development of scheduling (with a particular focus on Micro Planner and Primavera) and looks at the way the evolving technology has changed the way projects are scheduled and managed.

More…

To read entire article, including footnotes and references (click here)

Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the myPrimavera Conference, Canberra, Australia, April 2006.  It has been since updated and posted on the Mosaic website at www.mosaicprojects.com.au. It is republished here with permission of the author.

About the Author

patrick weaverPatrick Weaverflag-australia       

Melbourne, Australia

Patrick Weaver, PMP, PMI-SP, FAICD, FCIOB, is the Managing Director of Mosaic Project Services Pty Ltd, an Australian project management consultancy specialising in project control systems and a PMI Registered Education Provider.  Patrick is also the business manager of Stakeholder Management Pty Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building, Australasia (FCIOB) and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD). He is a member of the PMI College of Scheduling, and the PMI Melbourne Chapter (Australia), as well a full member of AIPM, APM (UK) and the College of Performance Management.  Patrick has over 35 years experience in Project Management.  His career was initially focused on the planning and managing of construction, engineering and infrastructure projects in the UK and Australia. The last 25 years has seen his businesses and experience expand to include the successful delivery of project scheduling services and PMOs in a range of government, ICT and business environments; with a strong focus on project management training.  His consultancy work encompasses: developing and advising on project schedules, developing and presenting PM training courses, managing the development of internal project control systems for client organisations, and assisting with dispute resolution and claims management.  He is a qualified Arbitrator.  In the last few years, Patrick has sought to ‘give back’ to the industry he has participated in since leaving college through contributions to the development of the project management profession.  In addition to his committee roles he has presented papers at a wide range of project management conferences in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia, has an on-going role with the PMOZ conference in Australia and is part of the Australian delegation to ISO TC258.  Patrick can be contacted at [email protected] or at www.mosaicprojects.com.au.

To see other works published in the PM World Journal by Patrick Weaver, visit his author showcase at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/patrick-weaver/