Managing Risk Of Delay – Schedule Preparation and Maintenance (Part 4)

This post is the fourth in a series of discussions regarding various aspects of time management.  More specifically, we have titled the series MANAGING RISK OF DELAY, since we focus heavily on the managerial aspects of program / project management.  This post addresses some ideas regarding preparation and maintenance of the time management baseline.  Some might refer to this baseline and As-Planned Schedule or Approved Programme.

When the subject of time management in larger and more complex projects is discussed, a common observation is that the industry lacks adequate structure and standards.  The notion can be expressed as frustration with the lack of some grand rules or laws that somehow reduce managerial challenges to simple procedures for widespread adherence.

Perhaps I will queue up the subject with a LinkedIn discussion skillfully initiated by L.H. Chin.  Mr. Chin is the source of frequent thoughtful discussions regarding contract-related risks and challenges in planning and managing large and complex projects.  Mr. Chin poses this challenge [Contract Risks Management Group – Construction Industry]

L.H. ChinTime Management – The new must do requirement if contractors are to survive delays consequences in the 21st century on complex projects.

I have just got my copy of the CIOB’s “Guide To Good Practice In The Management Of Time In Complex Projects” yesterday and spent the whole today studying it. I must say it is a very good read as it gave a lot of revelations of what a lot of internationals are supposed to do but do not.

This could be due to the site team being in the dark either by design or ignorance on adherence to some very simple rules/techniques. As reported by CIOB most complex projects are in delay as the site team carries out time management intuitively instead of subscribing to a more scientific approach.

After reading the good practice guide mentioned above I observed that the scientific approaches as advocated are actually very simple common sense set of rules that can and must be hard wired into the implementation systems of the companies in question.

In fact I am wondering why it has not been done sooner on the basis of the many management gurus out there and astonished that it had to take CIOB to make the required revelations in the form of a good practice guide.

As Mr. Chen asserts, there is widespread questioning of the availability of simple structure for time management.  In the publication referred to by Mr. Chen, Mr. Pickavance (and all) presents structure for planning and managing time in larger and complex projects.  This publication is cited in this blog’s Resource Center.

In the Preface [page xxi], Mr. Pickavance frames symptoms of the issue.  He states:

It was apparent that standard forms of contract did not encourage time management (typically, there were pages and pages of clauses dealing with cost but, if any at all, there would be just one clause dealing with time and that not linked to the extension-of-time provisions).  Not only that, but, in some forms, effective time management was actually inhibited.  Accordingly, in 2003, in conjunction with Fenwick Elliott, solicitors, I drafted a series of contract supplements for use with the 1998 series of JCT contracts to facilitate their use in the management of time.

Notwithstanding the obvious advantages, the industry did not take this message to heart.  On the whole, contract-drafting bodies ignored both the SCL Protocol and the ‘Change Management Supplements’, as they were called, and unfortunately ‘the Protocol’, as it became known, was used more often as a stick with which to beat the opposition in disputes, rather than to manage time proactively and avoid disputes in the first place.

M&M has not evaluated the “Change Management Supplements” referred to by Mr. Pickavance.  However, based on Mr. Pickavance description, these documents seem to present a suitable authoritative starting point.

In the broader industry and certainly in the US, examples and guidelines for time management structure have been available to decades.  While I will (no doubt) fail to recognize many examples and sources, I will cite a few.  (Please comment with your favorite or my most outrageous omission.)

Clearly, one of the most prominent authorities and proponents of Critical Path Method [CPM] scheduling is James J. O’Brien.  Mr. O’Brien, or Jim as we know him, has authored (with Fredric L. Plotnick) an excellent book (including CD) on this topic related to large and complex projects.  Mr. O’Brien’s publication, CPM in Construction Management is cited in this blog’s Resource Center.  In the appendix, the authors provide a sample CPM specification.  This sample is intended as a starting point for the user’s specification.

Clearly, one of the most prominent authorities and thinkers regarding CPM scheduling and delay liability (and claims) is Jon M. Wickwire.  Mr. Wickwire (and others) has authored an excellent book on this topic.  Mr. Wickwire’s publication, Construction Scheduling: Preparation, Liability, and Claims is cited in this blog’s Resource Center.  In the appendices, the authors provide sample scheduling specifications.  The samples can be adapted to the user’s application.

There are more sources and (no doubt) readers will offer good examples.  Sources for quality material on this subject include AACE, CII and PMI.  Consequently, those embarking on time management challenges have the benefit of many sources of advice and work products.  The challenge seems to be, get some good examples, then adapt and adopt.

Time-Management Strategy is the higher level challenge.  The Time-Management Strategy must be integrated with claims management strategy.  More specifically, the time-related issues must be harmonized and synchronized with the claims strategy.  The specific strategy, process and procedures are driven by the project specifics.

When M&M undertakes an assignment involving program/project development, planning and/or management, we refer to many of these resources as best practice in this discipline.

Good luck and let us all attempt to approach the issue of Time-Management strategy with all the factors in an integrated manner relative to other related aspects of program and project execution planning.

It is important to note that McLaughlin and McLaughlin [M&M] is not a law firm and is not intending to provide legal advice.  M&M is a consulting firm providing (among other services) non-legal expertise in dispute resolution and litigation support.  The Resource Center is for the convenience of blog visitors and M&M does not offer this for commercial purposes.  For further information on M&M services, please see