Due to the rising complexities of scheduling work and the need to verify various schedule models using some of the common Schedule Quality checks, such as the DCMA (Defense Contract Management Association) 14-point evaluation gives a set of inspection recommendations. Sometimes, Project Controls professionals find it difficult to complete such straightforward checks. I do not disseminate the notion that DCMA checks are the end of the world; rather, schedule quality assessment is a comprehensive process that depends on scheduling skills and a solid understanding of the full sequence of project operations.
I would like to highlight that uploading company files (XERs) on external cloud websites can be harmful from a cybersecurity perspective as it can expose sensitive information to potential threats. These threats could come from cybercriminals who may try to access the files through hacking or phishing attacks. Additionally, external cloud storage providers may not have the same level of security measures and protocols as the company's own internal systems. This could lead to data breaches or leaks, which can have serious consequences for the company, including loss of reputation, financial loss, and legal repercussions. Therefore, it is important to follow cybersecurity policies and guidelines to protect company data and prevent unauthorized access, so prefer a standalone tool or PMIS system.
I am sharing with you with this free downloadable Schedule Checker tool which you can use for any schedule only prepared in Primavera native file format *.XER. It is recommended to use it only on Windows Operating system for successful execution of macros and ActiveX Controls embedded within this Excel file.
Once you Click on Download, Excel Online layout will open.
Click on the "Download" button located at the top-right side corner.
Once you download the Excel file, do not open it right away instead do the following process.
Right click on the downloaded Excel file, you will see below window. Make sure you check on “Unlock” and then “Apply”.
After unblocking, open this Excel file, click on Enable Macros on the bar by clicking on “Enable Editing”
PART A – Performing Schedule Integrity Checks
STEP 1 – After Enabling the editing command, you will see below application window. Before proceeding further, please clear off any previously conducted analysis by clicking on “Clear All”
STEP 2 – Now, its time to Load the native Primavera XER file in the tab. Click on the “Load XER”
STEP 3 – Select the desired XER file and click “Open”
STEP 4 – Search the project XER file and select the required project file.
STEP 5 – Once the file is selected, now it ready for analysis and generate required outputs. Click on “Schedule Diagnostics” tab
It will show all the properties of schedule Log normally shown in Primavera Log file but here it is presented in table formats which is easy to grasp.
STEP 6 - Further, provide the acceptable limits for the values of “Total Float” and “Activity Duration” and then Click on “Generate”
A sample output of Schedule Quality metrics will appear in a new sheet as shown below. This sheet can be cut and saved as new file. All the Schedule integrity values crossing standard defined thresholds are highlighted in “RED”. To clear errors highlighted in RED, one has to access the schedule activities which is done in next step.
STEP 7 - Check the section in the same sheet with required categories of schedule integrity check. You will see the activity lists by category of schedule error and their activity IDs. Go back to Primavera, search those IDs and correct the relevant errors.
Further, you can filter out the desired category by clicking on the “Metrics” tab
Here, your schedule Integrity part is done, Let’s start with exploring Calendar settings.
PART B – Schedule Calendar Assessment
STEP 1 – After performing Schedule Diagnostics, go back main page and click on “Calendar” tab
STEP 2 – You will see various calendars stored in Primavera native file and ready to verify. Select the calendar name and click on “Show”
You will see a detailed Calendar layout including working and non-working days. This is readily available for print-out and placed in the baseline narrative or schedule brief document.
PART C – Automated P6 to Excel Layout Generation
Once you finish Calendar assessment, next we will convert the Primavera Schedule layout to Excel for preparing Daily or Weekly Progress Measurement Sheet (PMS). This output will give you exact WBS structure and Activity list in Excel similar with Primavera layout. You can cut, copy and paste it in a new file for the purpose of progress reporting.
STEP 1 – Go back to the main sheet and Click on “Gantt Chart” tab.
STEP 2 – Accept the parameters and automatically Excel layout will appear in a new sheet.
Once you finish this analysis, click on the “Clear All” tab and then close the file.
Also, before sharing this file to your network, ensure to "Clear All" the previous analysis.
Nevertheless, this schedule assessment tool performs some of the schedule checks on Critical Path Method (CPM) network parameters and activity attributes, it is a scratch on the surface and deprives exhaustive verification required for validating any project schedule. In addition to this, it needs to remember that Schedule Quality requirements vary for baselines schedule approval or utilizing it for any further Forensic schedule analysis or as an input for Quantitative Schedule Risk Assessment.
Not only this schedule checker tool but any tool that depends on DCMA checks cannot assure the successful delivery of project as I found many schedules in full compliance with such checks, yet they contained absolutely bad activity lists, incorrect naming, a wrong WBS structure, etc.
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DCMA Earned Value Management Systems Center https://www.dcma.mil/HQ/EVMS/
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect or represent the official policy, position or recommendation of any individual or organization. Any written or verbal recommendation has a general nature and should not be used for any decision making without further assessment for specific project and organization requirements.