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Task constraints for scheduling in RiskyProject
Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:47 pm
I have schedule and it has a lot of “must finish on” constraints. I have read that to run Monte Carlo schedule risk analysis that it is best not to have these in the schedule. However, the planners say that they need them in their schedules as part of their reporting. Any advice.
Re: Task constraints for scheduling in RiskyProject
Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:49 pm
This is a fairly common issue that arises when companies start to implement quantitative schedule risk analysis as part of the project management processes. Typically, we see “Must Finish on” or other “hard” constraints – those constraints which fix start or finish times to a particular date – to meet delivery deadlines as part of contract agreements etc. But in many cases, these are overly optimistic given the inherent risk of the projects. In this case the constraints can be considered wishful thinking and wishful thinking is one of the biases that we try to overcome with the schedule risk analysis.
RiskyProject allows for hard constraints because we do have clients that do have true hard constraints abd are aware of how it impacts the results of their analysis. However, in this case, they have very specific analysis techniques that they use to ensure that these constraints do not bias their decisions. In cases where constraints have been put in place for reasons such as “if we don’t finish by then, we could lose our bonuses or the client could penalize us” etc, then these constraints will generate an analysis that provides an unrealistic confidence of delivering at specific dates.
Therefore we recommend that by default for schedule risk analysis, all tasks have a “Start as soon as possible” constraint and only in very specific cases should hard constraints be used. We recommend that hard constraints be replaced with deadlines. In addition, using soft constraints is considered best practice for all schedules; otherwise, during project execution the project will not update properly when you add actuals to your schedule.