Lumpy or Leveled

Last month, I wrote about the need to be prepared, not in the sense of packing away staples, but in the career path kind of way. The idea of Lunge or Lead is about career predictability. Continuous training to improve your professional expertise enriches your career. This month, it might seem a bit technical, but it’s really important to understand some of the advanced capabilities of construction schedules.

The fundamental purpose of a schedule is to paint a picture, or communicate an idea-a plan.

When you group the work into tasks and establish the order, you’ve got the activities and logic defined. You understand the approximate time to complete a project if all goes to plan. IF something changes, the schedule should react and reforecast the completion date. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the more us humans are involved, the more things change.

Whether that human involvement an intense, short effort, or prolonged engagement, the project schedule tends to change.  When things change, the issue becomes, how much did it change, and how much should it affect the schedule? On bigger jobs, the change is…bigger, and the impacts are probably bigger too.

No resources = arithmetic, with resources = calculus.

This is where loading resources (the items that are required to accomplish a task) into the schedule, helps determine the answer to “how much?” or, actually, “what rate”?

Resource loaded schedules allow schedules to be modeled in ways similar to the way engineers model materials in statics. It allows us to analyze the project in numerous ways such as:

  • the number of craft needed,
  • determine minimum physical quantities top install per week, and even
  • control craft spacing to comply with COVID-19 guidelines: “If we can only have three electricians in the electrical room at time…?”

How does loading resources into the schedule get us to this type of analysis?

Leveling. It’s a bit of voodoo at first, but once you understand it, it spreads the activities out based upon the rate you’ve limited the resource to. The idea is it gives you an approach to complete the job at a consistent pace or smoothly ramp up/down. The alternative is a schedule that may require 5 operators one day, and 50 the next. Lumpy.

 if I think we can only install 1,500 ft of pipe per week, the leveling algorithm is going to look for the most efficient way to utilize that capacity, fitting tasks together like a puzzle. However, that puzzle solver considers the logic, the activity’s planned installation rate, and the priority you assign, typically total float, and spaces out the sequence.

From this, the two basic things to determine are,

  • “with our planned capacity, can we complete this in the timeframe desired?”, and
  • “if we can only produce at this capacity, when will we be complete?”

The way I just described this to my wife:

  • “Can you fit into the pants?”, and if not,
  • “How much muffins out the top?”

Do you want a leveled, realistic approach, or a lumpy, un-measurable tool? If you want a practical, predictable tool to execute your project, HITO can help.

Phone: (833) 448-6646
Chatham, IL