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(CDR-2291) Contemporaneous Understanding of Criticality: Definitions and Application in Forensic Schedule Analysis

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Primary Author: Patrick M. Kelly, PE PSP
Audience Focus: Intermediate
Application Type: Practice
Venue: 2016 AACE International Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON, Canada

Abstract: Contemporaneous understanding of criticality is the project management team’s perception or judgment of the work or issues driving the project’s predicted completion date, as determined by a critical path derived from an adequately developed and maintained series of CPM schedules, and taking into account the limits of their knowledge at the time. Though not usually defined as its own concept, contemporaneous understanding of criticality already exists in good scheduling practice and in case law surrounding Forensic Schedule Analysis. Grasping contemporaneous understanding of criticality as a concept, and incorporating it into one’s delay analysis, has the potential to differentiate a good analysis from a bad one. This paper will provide a definition of contemporaneous understanding of criticality, discuss the context for contemporaneous understanding of criticality in existing scheduling practices and case law, and describe how the existence or non-existence of a valid contemporaneous understanding of criticality will necessarily drive the analyst’s selection of a method and performance of a delay analysis.