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Ideas for Managing at the Milestone


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A few ideas about how to be successful managing the schedule for making a milestone

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Ideas for Managing at the Milestone

  1. 1. Quantitative Methods Part II Ideas for Managing at the Milestone John C Goodpasture Square Peg Consulting
  2. 2. Milestones are hazards for on-time schedules! <ul><li>Milestones are dependent on everyone joining at the event—success for all depends on the successes of each </li></ul><ul><li>Dependencies stretch things out—it’s a mathematical certainty </li></ul><ul><li>Stretching at the milestone is called ‘merge bias’ </li></ul><ul><li>Merge bias explains the tendency for the schedule to ‘shift right’ at the milestone </li></ul>
  3. 3. Milestones are dependent on everyone joining at the event <ul><li>Dependencies limit maneuver, limit agile responses, and take actionable options off the table </li></ul><ul><li>Dependencies require effort to go into coordination—effort that costs money and takes away from other value-add work </li></ul><ul><li>Milestone performance is dependent on the independent performance of each joining activity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If any activity is late, the milestone is late </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All the conditions for milestone success must be jointly achieved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If the milestone is on the critical path, then all the joining activities are near-critical </li></ul>Photo: Dwight Tracy Activity A1 Activity A2
  4. 4. Dependencies stretch things out—it’s a mathematical certainty <ul><li>A milestone is the intersection of joining schedules </li></ul><ul><li>Probability of making the milestone schedule is the probability that all joining schedules intersect on time </li></ul><ul><li>The intersection is ‘stretched’ by the need to accommodate all the joining activities </li></ul><ul><li>Consider 100 trials with 90% on time: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For 90 A1 opportunities on time, likely only 0.9 x 90 opportunities for A1 and A2 to be on time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are 9 + 9 + 1 opportunities to be late </li></ul></ul>Photo: Neal McQ
  5. 5. Example of schedule stretch <ul><li>When the intersecting activities are independent, then the probability of the intersection is the product of the intersecting probabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A1 intersects milestone with 90% probability on-time, 10% probability of being early or late, but adding similar A2 reduces performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Probability of A1 and A2 intersecting—making the milestone on-time—is 90% x 90% = 81% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Probability of late = 90x10 + 10x90 + 10x10 = 19% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower probability—81% vs 90%—translates to a likely longer schedule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer schedule is required to recover milestone probability to 90% </li></ul></ul>81% 100% 90% Intersecting activities stretch the opportunity to make the milestone A1 or A2 A1 & A2 Time Milestone Probability
  6. 6. Stretching at the milestone is called ‘merge bias’ <ul><li>Merging activities create a bias toward ‘Shift right’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To raise the probability from 81% back to 90%, the milestone must ‘shift right’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To counter the effects of merge bias: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk adjust all estimates with 3-point estimates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Take risk adjustments into account when building the schedule </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish time buffers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Buffers are ‘reserves’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Size the buffer to cover the likely ‘stretch’ </li></ul></ul></ul>Photo ShiYali
  7. 7. Read more about it! <ul><li>Quantitative Methods is a book about numbers and methods for applying them to practical situations in projects </li></ul><ul><li>There is a good tutorial on statistics, accounting, balanced scorecard, and value </li></ul><ul><li>The chapter on estimating is right out of my own experience </li></ul><ul><li>The presentation on earned value makes EV really workable in day-to-day situations. </li></ul><ul><li>If you do contracting, read the chapter on about doing risk management with contracts </li></ul><ul><li>And, best of all, you can buy it at any on-line retailer, and read excerpts on google/books </li></ul>
  8. 8. I hope you liked what you saw here <ul><li>I hope you enjoyed this presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>You can share it with your network </li></ul><ul><li>There is a lot more information in the book, at my company website, and at my BLOG. See the cover page for links </li></ul><ul><li>By the way, there is information on my other books and magazine articles at </li></ul><ul><li>You can contact me from my company website; the information is all there </li></ul>