IT project management specialists and Project Management Office (PMO) managers see project schedules that differ in quality. A PMP licensed project manager (PM) may have 10 years of experience managing tasks, however that isn’t really an indicator of the PM’s capability to build up an excellent schedule.

Evaluating a project schedule can be subjective unless there is a set of unbiased requirements to follow. Well-structured PMO companies may have project schedule quality guidelines, but unless there’s a schedule testimonial, the schedule might still have substantial flaws that influence sensible project shipping. (Keep in mind: The project schedule is a forecasted model of future events, so you really want the design to reflect truth as much as possible.).

The Defense Agreement Management Company (DCMA) offers a 14-point assessment that can be applied to assess project schedule quality. The DCMS is a Department of Defense (DoD) department that works with suppliers to manage time, cost, and performance for the U.S. federal government.


Pre-assessment metrics

You need to calculate these metrics prior to using the quality checks.

  1. Total Task is a count of the lowest level tasks, omitting summary, subproject, zero standard duration, and turning point task.
  2. Complete Task is a count of Total tasks with an Actual Complete date.
  3. Incomplete Tasks is a count of Complete Tasks without an Actual Complete date.
  4. Baseline Count is a count of all the Complete Tasks that ought to have completed on or prior to the project status date.
  5. BEI Baseline Count is a count of all the Overall tasks that should have completed on or prior to the project status date and all the tasks that are missing out on a standard beginning and surface date.
  6. Relationship Count is a count of all the Finish-Start (FS), Start-to-Start (SS), Start-Finish (SF), and Finish-to-Finish (FF) dependences in the schedule.


The 14 quality checks

  1. Logic Check evaluates if any tasks are missing out on a follower or a predecessor in the schedule. Logically, all activities need to contend least one predecessor or follower tasks otherwise you risk producing an orphaned task. A quality schedule should not have more than 5 % of its tasks missing logic. The logic check formula is (# of tasks missing Logic)/ (# of Insufficient tasks) * 100.
  2. Leads Check try to find negative lags (i.e., leads) in the schedule. A quality schedule should have no leads, as they can affect a project’s vital path.
  3. Lags Check ensures the use of lags is minimized in the project schedule, as lags can influence the critical path. A quality schedule would have fewer than 5 % of the tasks with lags. The lag check formula is (# of Tasks with Lag)/ (Insufficient Tasks).
  4. Telationship Types Check confirms 90 % of the tasks have Complete to Beginning relationships. Utilizing Complete to Beginning relationships provides a sensible flow to the schedule.
  5. Hard Constraint Check is any activity that has a Need to Finish On, Should Start On, Start No Later Than, or Complete No Later Than restriction. You commonly see these constraints in the “pick-a-date” project management. You preferably want your schedule to be a dynamic schedule that flows easily when the project is updated. The tough constraints check identifies any Insufficient task that has a hard restraint. A quality schedule will certainly not have more than 5 % of its tasks with hard restrictions.
  6. High Float Check recognizes all tasks with a total float of more than 44 working days. A task with such a high float normally shows a predecessor or a follower was missing out on. The formula is (# of High Float tasks)/ (# of Incomplete Tasks). The portion must not surpass 5 %.
  7. Negative Float Check recognizes any tasks that have a float less than absolutely no. This check helps determine any tasks that could hinder the completion of other tasks in the schedule. There should be no tasks with negative float.
  8. High Duration Check recognizes any task that has a standard duration greater than 44 days. As skilled PMs, we understand such tasks should be broken down into even more discrete tasks. The formula is (# of High Duration tasks)/ (# of Insufficient Tasks) and must not exceed 5 %.
  9. Invalid Dates Check determines any total task that has actually a set up beginning or surface date prior to the project status date and a real beginning or finish date after the project status date. Forecasted start and surface dates ought to constantly appear after the project status date. The schedule likewise can’t consist of an actual start or finish date in the future. There ought to be absolutely no tasks that fall under this classification in a quality schedule.
  10. Resources Check determines all the tasks that do not have resources (people or expenses) appointed. A quality schedule has all resources appointed to tasks in the schedule.
  11. Missed Tasks Check is made use of to recognize any task that was arranged to finish by the project status date and completed after the standard surface date. The reality is tasks will have late tasks, however you want to guarantee your current schedule re-aligns to the baseline schedule. The formula is (# of tasks with forecasted finish before the status date and actual or forecasted finish after standard schedule date)/ (standard count).
  12. Critical Path Test Check evaluates the integrity of the schedule network utilizing the vital path. A deliberate hold-up of 600 days is entered into the staying duration of an essential path test. The expected result is the project is postponed by 600 days because you added a delay directly on the essential path. The schedule passes the test if the project finish date matches the included period date surface date.
  13. Critical Path Length Index (CPLI) identifies if the project finish date is sensible offered the forecasted finish date. The crucial path length index is determined using the formula (Important Path Length + Total Float)/ (Vital Path Length). The value ought to be greater than 1.0 to pass the test.
  14. Baseline Execution Index (BEI) resembles Earned Value’s Schedule Efficiency Index as it compares the number of completed activities to date to the variety of tasks planned to be finished by the project status date. The BEI is computed # of Full Tasks/ BEI Standard Count and must be greater than 1.0.



You can use these quality checks as a framework to evaluate and examine project schedules. The requirements can also assist you evaluate how well a supplier can develop and execute a meaningful schedule. These DCMA requirements serve as a beneficial schedule quality gauge that removes subjective evaluations.

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