5 Guidelines for Managing Schedule Information
Renewable Energy Businesses can improve the efficiency of schedule information management by following these five guidelines.
1. Only collect what will be managed and used
It is easy to collect more information than is needed. For example, one could add too much detail to a schedule work breakdown structure or to the management of labor, equipment, and materials resources in a schedule. To restrain this tendency, continually ask how the information will be used and who will be responsible for managing the information
2. Capture information once and use it multiple times
Various tools have been developed for managing schedule information. Unfortunately, these tools are often implemented on projects in information silos, without coordination and integration with other tools. This leads to duplication of data capture. For example, tracking worksheets are often used to monitor completion percentages. This information is then copied into schedule tools.
One alternative approaches could include integrating the tracking tools and the schedule tools so data is only entered once and then used in multiple applications. Another approach is refining the design of the schedule and the tracking tools to minimize overlap of functionality.
3. Standardize terminology across disciplines
Engineering, procurement, construction, and project management disciplines sometimes use different terminology for different activities or system components. This can lead to confusion if information is recorded using one terminology but is tracked in the schedule using a different terminology. Agreeing on standard terminology for information management will streamline information sharing.
4. Build in quality assurance and quality control
Create quality assurance processes to minimize information capture quality errors. For data entry, use dropdown lists, cross checks, sequences, and other devices to enforce or verify data integrity. Include quality control checks by a second person to verify information accuracy.
5. Plan the information life-cycle
Schedule information provides value over a finite lifespan. After it has been captured, transmitted, and analyzed it is ready to be stored or discarded. Develop a retention plan for project schedule information.
Following project completion, detailed schedule information is useful to inform lessons learned discussions and future estimating efforts. However, this detailed information will likely be replaced by continuously improved results on future projects. Consequently, it may only need to be retained for up to a year.
Summary schedule information is useful to track trends in project schedule performance. Therefore, summary schedule information could be retained for multiple years.
Follow these five guidelines, to improve the efficiency of information management on a project.