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Wednesday, 30 March 2011 20:32

Are You Ready for the 14-Point Schedule Assessment of DCMA?

Written by  Mohamed Hegab, PhD, PE, PMP, MRICS
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Introduction

This Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is the Division of Department of Defense (DoD) factor that entirety direct with Defense suppliers to cater insure that DoD supplies and services are delivered on time and at planned cost agree all execution requirements. DCMA has duties before and after contract awards. After contract award, DCMA monitors contractors\' deliverables to insure that expenditure, project execution, and schedules are in compliance with the contract. DCMA prepared a number of metrics that examines the health of the schedule and assess its robustness and work as an early warning to management. These metrics are called the 14-point schedule assessment metrics. These metrics are used as a standard measure of all of its projects to analyze schedule. The metrics can be a starting point of discussion between the agency and the contractor regarding the project which will lead to more understanding of the contractor\'s approach in performing the project. DCMA has implemented a set of Tripwire metrics that are used by OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) as part of its metrics. DCMA provides its contractors with a spreadsheet to perform these metrics. Being involved in a project that uses these metrics, you have to either submit a schedule that meets these metrics as a contractor or review it as a construction manager. In both cases you have to make sure that your schedule is ready for the 14-point schedule assessment.

Why Do I need it

Being involved in a project that uses these metrics, you have to either submit a schedule that meets these metrics as a contractor or review it as a construction manager. In both cases you have to make sure that your schedule is ready for the 14-point schedule assessment. Understanding the requirement of the DCMA metrics and performing them can be a challenge specially that the metrics are required with each schedule update or revision. DCMA provides a spreadsheet to help contractors in preparing the required metrics. However, performing that task can be time consuming.

The 14-Point DCMA Schedule Assessment Checks

In the following section, an explanation of the metrics will be provided. A number of statistics has to be calculated before starting the check. These statistics are:

Total Tasks: They are all the tasks except tasks that represent summary, subproject, level of efforts, zero duration, or milestones

Complete Tasks: They are the tasks among the "Total Tasks" that has 100% completion and with an actual finish date before the status date.

Incomplete Tasks: They are the tasks among the "Total Tasks" that do not have 100% completion and with an actual finish date before the status date.

Baseline Count: They are the tasks among the "Total Tasks" that should have been completed before the status date in the original baseline schedule.

After identifying and calculating the previous statistics the following checks can be performed

  1. Logic Check
  2. Leads Check
  3. Lags Check
  4. Relationship Types Check
  5. Hard Constraints Check
  6. High Float Check
  7. Negative Float Check
  8. High Duration Check
  9. Invalid Dates Check
  10. Resources Check
  11. Missed Tasks Check
  12. Critical Path Test Check
  13. Critical Path Length Index (CPLI)
  14. Baseline Execution Index (BEI)

Logic Checks

The "logic check" is used to identify any activity that is missing a successor or predecessor or both. As a rule of thumb in schedule, all activities have to be tied with at least one predecessor and one successor. This check does not confirm the correctness of the tie which has to be verified manually by the user. The "logic check" is performed by identifying any task that is an "Incomplete Task", "Total Task", and missing a successor and/or a predecessor. The "logic check" value is calculated as the number of activities that are missing a logic divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "logic check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 5%.

Leads Checks

The "leads check" is used to check the existence of any leads in the schedule because using leads in the schedule may lead to disturbance of the critical path and resources. The "leads check" is performed by identifying any activity that its predecessor has a lead, an "Incomplete Task", and a "Total Task". The "leads check" value is calculated as the number of tasks that have a lead. For the "leads check" to be acceptable, its value should be zero.

Lags Checks

The "lags check" is used to check the existence of any lags in the schedule because using lags in the schedule may lead to disturbance of the critical path. The "lags check" is performed by identifying any task that its predecessor has a lag, an "Incomplete Task", and a "Total Task". The "lags check" value is calculated as the number of tasks that have a lag divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "lags check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 5%.

Relationship Type Checks

The "relationship type check" is used to check the type of the relationship between the task and its predecessor assuming that most activities are tied by Finish to Start (FS) relationship and much less percentage of task are linked by Finish to Finish (FF) or Start to Start (SS) relationships and rarely the Start to Finish (SF) relationship is used. The "relationship type check" is performed by identifying the relationship type of any task that has a predecessor, an "Incomplete Task", and a "Total Task". The "relationship type check" value is calculated as the number of tasks that has FS, FF or SS relationships. The "relationship type check" value is calculated as the number of tasks that have FS, FF or SS relationships divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "relationship type check" to be acceptable, the percentage of tasks with FS relationships should not be less than 90% and tasks with SF relationships its value should not exceed 0%.

Hard Constraints Checks

The "hard constraints check" is used to identify any activity that has a hard constraint (such as Must-Finish-On, Must-Start-On, Start-No-Later-Than, and Finish-No-Later-Than) because hard constraints do not allow the logic to drive the schedule. The "hard constraints check" is performed by identifying any task that is an "Incomplete Task", "Total Task", and has a hard constraint. The "hard constraints check" value is calculated as the number of activities that has hard constraint divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "hard constraints check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 5%.

High Float Checks

The "high float check" is used to identify any activity that has a total float more than 44 working days (2 month) because high float may result from logically inaccurate or missing relationship.  The "high float check" is performed by identifying any task that is an "Incomplete Task", "Total Task", and has a total float exceeding 44 working days. The "high float check" value is calculated as the number of activities that has high float (more than 44 working days) divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "high float check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 5%.

Negative Float Checks

The "negative float check" is used to identify any activity that has a total float less than zero because negative float indicate delayed tasks that needs mitigation and/ or explanation. The "negative float check" is performed by identifying any task that is an "Incomplete Task", "Total Task", and has a total float less than zero. The "negative float check" value is calculated as the number of activities that has negative float (less than zero) divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "negative float check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 0%.

High Duration Checks

The "high duration check" is used to identify any activity that has an original duration more than 44 working days (2 month) because high duration may indicate the need to further breakdown to enhance the cost and task control. The "high duration check" is performed by identifying any task that is an "Incomplete Task", "Total Task", and has an original duration exceeding 44 working days. The "high duration check" value is calculated as the number of activities that has high duration (more than 44 working days) divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "high duration check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 5%.

Invalid Dates Checks

The "invalid dates check" is used to identify any activity that had a scheduled start/finish before the statused date and an actual start/finish date after the statused date because you cannot predict the actual completion date in the future. The "invalid dates check" is performed by identifying any task that is a "Total Task", and has a scheduled start/finish before the statused date and an actual start/finish date after the statused date. The "invalid dates check" value is calculated as the number of activities that has invalid dates (an actual start/finish date after the statused date while the scheduled start/finish was before the statused date). For the "invalid dates check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 0%.

Resources Checks

The "resources check" is used to identify any activity that does not have recourses or cost. The "resources check" is performed by identifying any task that is an "Incomplete Task", "Total Task", and does not have recourses or cost. The "resources check" value is calculated as the number of activities that does not have recourses or cost divided by the number of incomplete tasks. For the "resources check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 0%.

Missed Task Checks

The "missed task check" is used to identify any activity that had a scheduled finish date before the statused date but did not finish or finished after the baseline finish date because it shows how the updated schedule is in compliance with the baseline schedule. The "missed task check" is performed by identifying any task that is a "Total Task", and has a scheduled finish before the statused date and an actual finish or forecasted finish date after the baseline scheduled date. The "missed task check" value is calculated as the number of activities that are missed task (has a scheduled finish before the statused date and an actual finish or forecasted finish date after the baseline scheduled date)cost divided by the baseline count. For the "missed task check" to be acceptable, its value should not exceed 5%.

Critical Path Test

The "critical path test" is used to assess the integrity of the schedule specially the critical path. It is one of the two Trip Wires that are required by the OSD (office of Secretary of defense). The "critical path test" is performed by adding an intentional delay (600 working days) to the remaining duration of a critical task and check if the project completion date is delayed by a proportional duration (600 working days). By adding such delay, any missing predecessor or successor will lead to mismatch between the project overall delay and the intentional one.The "critical path test" will be passed if there is a matching between the project completion delay and the intentional added duration.

Critical Path Length Index (CPLI)

The critical path length index (CPLI) is used to assess if the project finish date will be real or not. It is one of the two Trip Wires that are required by the OSD (office of Secretary of defense). The CPLI is calculated by adding the length of the critical path to the total float of the latest activity and divide the summation by the length of the critical path. For the CPLI to be acceptable, its value should be more than 100%

Baseline Execution Index (BEI)

The baseline execution index (BEI) is used to assess the number of completed activities to date with respect to the planned to be completed in the baseline. It is one of the two Trip Wires that are required by the OSD (office of Secretary of defense). The BEI is calculated by summation of completed tasks(any task that is a "Total Task", and has an actual finish date before the statused date) and dividing it by the baseline count (any task that is a "Total Task", and has an forecasted finish date before the statused date). For the BEI to be acceptable, its value should not get below95%.

Schedule Cracker and The 14-Point DCMA Checks

Schedule Cracker(c) (http://www.schedulecracker.com/) is an enterprise class Business Intelligence tool for Project Management right at your desktop. Providing deep analysis and visualization of a project CPM schedule through interactive dashboards and a library of over 200 analytical metrics. Leveraging the latest technology and standards for software development to fully comply with the DCMA, GAO, and EVM ANSI 748 standards. Schedule Cracker patent pending procedures analyze and compare project schedules for alerts, trends the project’s performance over multiple schedule revisions, forecasts future performance, and performs full earned value analysis.

The previously mentioned process takes a quite bit of time. It needs a lot of processing of data. For every iteration to reach the compliance of the check point, the whole process has to be repeated. Schedule Cracker software makes the process of calculating the 14-point DCMA schedule assessment a piece of mind.

 

Read 20129 times Last modified on Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:45

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