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(PS-2975) A Practical Guide to Successful Program Scheduling

While practitioners recognize that there is a difference between program and project scheduling, all too often, program scheduling is treated the same as a large project. Multi-prime projects are much closer to programs when it comes to the scheduling needs and usage. A fully integrated program schedule, encompassing all projects’ scope, schedules, updated, and analyzed as a single schedule, is an extremely valuable and effective tool, but done poorly, will allow serious negative ramifications.

Claims avoidance is one of the primary drivers in the need to coordinate and manage the program, at least partially due contract limitations between each contractor and the owner. If one contractor is impacted by another contractor, the delayed contractor only has recourse against the owner, so coordination of projects can help the program succeed, or it can result in huge cost and time overruns. This effort also enables allocation of shared locations such as lay-down areas, parking, and overlapping construction zones so appropriate language can be included in contracts. Large programs often have large failure rates due to the inability to coordinate and control these risks. This paper demonstrates a practical approach to successful program scheduling.

The authors, working for an ENR Top 50 Program Management Firm ranked at #16 in June 2017, have experience in large program scheduling, with multiple prime contractors, and have developed a workable and efficient method of handling the program, following the AACE TCM Framework and recommended practices. This paper will provide detailed guidelines for setting up the project controls process, developing the program schedule, analyzing the integrated program schedule, identifying and mitigating performance risks in conjunction with the BIM models, and reporting to the program management team. This lessons-learned approach from a variety of successful industry programs enables efficient development and use of an integrated program schedule to meet the owner’s needs and goals.