The value of unified CPM scheduling and task management in construction

December 15, 2021 | 5 minute read
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The schedule is the beating heart of every construction project. Or the detailed map that guides the entire project team from start to finish.

Or the finely tuned engine with a thousand moving parts that…you get it. Whatever your preferred metaphor, getting the schedule right is the key to getting the project right.

So what’s the secret? No secret, really; it’s just a matter of close coordination. While that sounds easy, the reality is more complicated.

Having spent several years building and managing construction project schedules, I get how tough it can be to make sure everybody who needs it has access to the best information at the right time.

In most construction projects, the CPM schedule tends to be the responsibility of folks in the office.

That’s not to say that we didn’t include and get input from folks who were out in the field. But the level of detail that’s needed to run work in the field tends to be very different than what might live in the initial contract schedule.

Scheduling teams

Scheduling teams need to understand at a high level what’s happening on a project and what’s going to happen. But the folks out there in the field in many cases aren't really looking at the project through this lens.

They’re thinking about the 12 things they must do today and the 15 things they must do by Friday. So, I've got to create views and experiences that help both approaches, because they're interdependent.

See what’s possible with the Oracle Smart Construction Platform

Ideally, the project schedule should consider the summary of activities found in the scope of work of the contract, as well as the field level production details based on the guiderails in these summaries. But from a behavioral standpoint, what happens is that teams in the field tended to go out there and kind of do their own thing.

So, while we might all agree on what the framework of a contract schedule should contain, it was tough to get visibility into the changes that were happening day to day.

Things just weren’t fully in sync, and that can lead to trouble, or at least make things more complicated for both teams. We’re chasing information, and the information at times just moves faster than we can.

Learn how the Oracle Smart Construction Platform helps synchronize project teams with unified scheduling. Watch our webcast, "One schedule, many synchronized teams," on demand today.

A better approach to construction scheduling

Wearing my construction tech hat, I’ve talked to lots of folks who are trying to cope with these very challenges. When asked how they want to improve how they run their schedule, a couple of ideas came up over and over:

  • Connect my CPM contract and task management schedules.
  • Put the task work in the hands of my field teams.

Using technology to unify the CPM contract and task management schedules can accomplish both objectives. Such an approach brings all teams and data into a single environment, meaning the right information is available to those who need it.

Whether the CPM scheduling team needs to ensure updates are made, or the field team needs to know where to focus right now, everyone is on the same page and has the needed level of detail to perform their roles. And that’s what we built Oracle Primavera Cloud Service to deliver.

Image: The Digital Planning Board provides a comprehensive view of tasks aligned to schedule activities and timelines.

One schedule to rule them all

With construction scheduling software, you can:

  • Simplify CPM schedule development: Create quality CPM master schedule networks quickly with easy-to-use templates and best practice guides.
  • Define activities, durations, and relationships: Build a simplified activity network that outlines the major milestones and phases of a project.
  • Seamlessly share this information with teams to plan their work in the same solution.
  • Break CPM activities into team tasks: The digital planning board is purpose-built to support task management. View the finer details of activities in a fully collaborative and coordinated solution.
  • Get to work: Digital task assignments help job site staff see the next part of the plan and send live progress updates back into the solution.
  • Monitor performance: Measure the effectiveness of assignments completed in the field with standard PPC reporting. Inform the CPM network about incompatible dates or statuses in real time.

Image: Dashboards provide "at a glance" visibility into status, tasks, activities, and commitments across projects.

This approach helps drive a needed behavior change: A better schedule, ultimately, is one that people are touching more often.

Why? With all relevant project teams now essentially participating in managing in the schedule, it reflects the current reality. Better processes mean better conversations and better information sharing.

Getting this right can also mean not needing to hang around the job site for an extra hour to input all of the day’s updates, or sitting around the office waiting for that information to come in. Folks get to go home.

That’s the value of real synchronization—the kind that keeps projects moving forward smoothly and everyone united around the common goal of successful delivery.

The plan depends on the team. Make sure the team can depend on the plan.

Learn how the Oracle Smart Construction Platform helps synchronize project teams with unified scheduling. Watch our webcast “One Schedule, Many Synchronized Teams,” on demand today.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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Garrett Harley

Garrett Harley is director of engineering and construction strategy for Oracle Construction and Engineering.

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