Scoring Model for Scheduling


Developing a Scoring Model using the GAO’s Schedule Assessment Best Practices

Stephen J.C. Paterson

HuaHin, Thailand



In today’s economic environment, with Clients and supporting contracting companies tightening their purse strings to developing Oil and Gas projects, there is a definite requirement to enhance the quality of project schedules. It is the author’s opinion that the tools are available but schedule quality continues to dwindle. By adopting the GAO’s Schedule Assessment Guide as a basis, this paper develops a scoring template along with appropriate wording for inclusion in contractual documents, raising awareness to Project Management of the quality required. A scoring template was developed using multiple iterations of Multi-Attribute Decision Making methodology, and a case study performed to determine the quality of an old Oil & Gas project schedule. The result is being benchmarked against two schedule quality software packages. A recommendation on the contractual wording, and cognizance to minimize delays by accepting schedules “subject to” implementation of corrections/improvements are a way ahead to getting schedule definition where it needs to be.

Keywords: Scoring model, planning and scheduling, GAO Schedule Assessment Guide, project management, multi attribute decision making


In the current Oil and Gas (O&G) economic climate, the multi-national Oil giants are holding back development of new facilities, and those being sanctioned as viable need to be managed effectively and efficiently. These viable projects require a ‘Best in class’ schedule increasing their chances of success.

Research is based on the author’s real-life experience dealing with numerous O&G projects, where analysis shows that the quality of the schedules being presented to clients is far from satisfactory, but accepted due to tight client imposed deadlines. Analysis demonstrates that current schedule development practices need to be reinforced by moving O&G scheduling practices towards the GAO’s Scheduling Best Practices [1] and to do so a scoring model needs to be developed to assist fellow practitioners.

The O&G industry recognizes that even with the tools and technology available to project planners and schedulers nowadays the quality of the resultant schedules produced fall well short of minimum requirements.

When it comes to cost and schedule, very few projects meet stakeholder’s expectations. This paper proposes a scoring model to compliment the GAO’s Scheduling Best Practices providing recommendations to management as to what changes need to be made to the Project Planning and Scheduling sections of the contractual documents.

Specifically, this paper wants to put forward a scoring model methodology that can be utilized by fellow professionals to:

  1. Incorporate into Contracting documents.
  2. Quickly assess the quality of a contractor’s schedule being presented for review.
  3. Provide the relevant contractors with a score card that can be used to enhance any subsequent submission(s).


The GAO’s Schedule Assessment Guide was developed by the US Government to address the numerous projects that were over-running in both schedule and cost, projects that were funded by public money. They solicited assistance from a team, both Owner’s and Contractor’s, of scheduling experts worldwide to develop the guide, 108 whom provided contributions and 148 who reviewed the guide and provided valuable feedback to complete the final product. Its purpose, is that it be used in conjunction with the Cost guide, as “A cost estimate cannot be considered credible if it does not account for the cost effects of schedule slippage”. The document raises awareness that a well-prepared schedule is a fundamental management tool and provides readers with several chapters and Appendix’s with valuable checklists, auditor questions, and measures for assessing schedule quality. However, there is no scoring mechanism to determine the quality of schedules as presented by contractors to their respective clients.

Presently, crude oil is one of the most essential resources in everyday life, with the O&G industry being one, if not the most, powerful branches in the world economy, yet contractors providing services to the multi-nationals fall short in providing quality schedules to compliment the industry’s status. Thus, this paper will use a real project (identified as “Project X”) coming from the O&G sector as a “case study” to test the scoring model.

This subject will commence by identifying the appropriate MADM method, applying the available criteria to it, removing any ambiguous criteria, and developing a scoring template to be applied to a previous O&G project called ‘Project X’ to determine the quality of the schedule as presented. The result will then be benchmarked against results from two commercially available schedule analysis software packages ‘Deltek Acumen’ and ‘XER Schedule Toolkit’.


To read entire paper, click here


About the Author

Stephen J.C. Paterson

HuaHin, Thailand



Stephen Paterson
is an Oil and Gas professional with 35+ years of experience in project controls and construction management. Born in the Highlands of Scotland, he served an apprenticeship and gained a Higher National Certificate in Civil Engineering in the UK, before embarking on the adventure of expat living, working worldwide; Middle East, North & South America, Russia, Middle East, Far East, South East Asia, China and Australia. He just completed his last assignment in February of 2017, and currently, furthering his education by way of a distance learning mentoring course, under the tutorage of Dr Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m Senior Technical Advisor, PT Mitrata Citragraha, to attain Guild of Project Controls certification.

Stephen lives in HuaHin, Thailand and can be contacted at [email protected]