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(CSC-1066) Leveraging the Power of Schedule Margin

Primary Author: Mr Charles I Budd EVP Budd Management Systems
Co-author(s): Dr Charlene Spoede Budd Baylor University

Audience Focus: Intermediate
Application Type: Experience-Based
Venue: 2012 AACE International Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, USA

Abstract: Late project completion and ensuing cost overruns are a continuing problem. The use of time buffers (schedule margin or schedule reserve) in project schedules to address project risk has become a more common practice and has resulted in some improvement. However, research has indicated that the use of schedule margin alone does not eliminate late project delivery and cost overruns. Several suggestions for further improvement have encouraged the use of simulations based on task distribution assumptions, but the sensitivity of chosen simulation results to actual distributions and actual parameters of those distributions cannot currently be validated. This paper is based on experience and research in the realized value of using schedule margin in combination with changes in management expectations and task completion behavior as reflected in psychological and behavioral research. This combination of project management methods has a proven track record of success, but has enjoyed little exposure in the body of mainstream project management and cost estimation theory. This paper addresses this information void and the changes required to implement this new methodology.