11 mayo 2010

Fuzzy project schedule ... but realistic

Risk Management is one of the main process of the Project Management discipline and consists of a number of activities, Risk Planning, Risk Identification, Risk Analysis, Risk Response and Risk Monitoring amongst others.

In a usual or deterministic schedule, each activity starts and finishes on specifics dates, for instance, design activity starts on 3rd June and finishes 30 of June.
What happens in the real world? The contractors might have monthly contracts and they might be available on 1st June and the design can start earlier than schedule or, the project manager only get resources starting on Mondays so that means the team will start either on 31st May or 7th June. With regards to the design completion, other stuff might happen that makes it to be completed earlier or later than scheduled.

What all that means is that whenever project milestones are set to a specific date it means that the project manager states that date as the most likely to happen and it will happen, in reality, some days before or after that date. Actually, it is more realistic to plan in terms of optimistic, pessimistic and most likely date of every milestone and calculating those in terms of the risks related to each one.

When risk management is applied to project schedule preparation, the usual deterministic schedule becomes fuzzy but more realistic at the same time.

One interesting side effects of this fuzzy project schedule is that the critical path happens to be multiple and depending on which risks finally occurs. The activities to watch are not the ones on the critical path any more but those that are most often in the critical path and that is detected running simulations of the occurrence of the various risks identified.

This post consists of a few takeaways from the presentation of Wesley Gillette at the PMI Global Congress – EMEA in Milano on 10th May … awesome presenter, by the way.
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