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Construction Scheduling Principles and Practices

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Anyone involved in the management of projects will find this text useful; however, it is written specifically for managers in the construction industry and for students preparing for management positions.

 Therefore, the examples are construction related. However, this text would be extremely helpful to anyone in a project management position in manufacturing, engineering, computer and software design, technology, military, or business management.

 This is a comprehensive textbook that can be the sole reference for learning the basics of project management scheduling. This is due to the fact that it contains not only the necessary information to learn scheduling and project management principles but also information to help learn the project management software that has become the standard in the industry:

 Microsoft Project, Primavera Project Planner (P3), SureTrak, and P6 Project Manager and Contractor. Students need help learning the software as well as learning the basics of scheduling. It is not sufficient to teach the basics of scheduling and then expect students to have success with the software by opening the door to the computer lab and assuming they will learn it.

 It is also not sufficient to teach the software without first knowing the basics of scheduling and project management. Project management software is more difficult to learn than word processing, spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentations; people need help with practical, essential, and concise information to help them to become proficient users. 

When students graduate, they may work for an owner who requires the use of P6 or Contractor, while another owner may require the use of SureTrak, and another, P3 or Microsoft Project. Project managers of the future need help in learning to effectively use all four programs. 

This is a complete text including practice problems and exercises to help learn and apply the principles of project management. The construction industry is becoming more sophisticated and professional. There is a critical need for professionals who can successfully plan, organize, direct, and control construction operations for the successful completion of quality projects on time, within budget, in a safe work environment, and without any claims. Projects are becoming more complex, and owners want them done more quickly and at less cost. There is a lot of pressure to learn how to become more proficient at doing this.

 There is a greater need today than ever before to do a better job at preplanning projects to insure greater success for all parties involved. This book helps managers learn techniques that will help them to accomplish this. The text contains comprehensive and practical information on the subject of scheduling everything from checklists, bar charts, graphic schedules, linear scheduling techniques, to practical and advanced uses of the Critical Path Method (CPM). It provides a complete, well-organized, and concise coverage of the fundamentals of scheduling without unnecessary details and information that has little to no practical application.

 As concepts are explained, there is practical information on how to use those concepts to effectively manage the project. The text thoroughly explores CPM concepts of how a project is broken down into activities, different methods of developing the network logic diagram, the use of lags, and how to review and analyze the network so that it is an accurate portrayal of how the project team is really expecting to complete the work. The text discusses how durations are determined and the importance of teamwork throughout the management cycle. There is a complete and concise coverage of calculation of the dates and determining the critical activities. 

This book discusses the different types of float, including total, free, independent, and shared float, in detail and how to use the different types of float to better manage the project. The text then shows examples of the types of reports that could be used to communicate the construction process to all shareholders in the project in a concise and deliberate manner. Resource-loading techniques to help plan and schedule critical resources are explained. 

How to update the schedule and evaluate the future activities to determine what to change and how to do it so that the project can be finished on time are explored. The software instructions are tied to the concepts learned earlier in the book and help the reader to learn how to get over the typical obstacles in using the software so they can become a more effective manager. The techniques discussed have been learned from project managers in a variety of projects from throughout the nation and from students the author has taught for over 25 years in a four-year construction management curriculum at a major university. 

The author has consulted with and provided in-house training to over 200 construction companies and trained literally thousands of managers on these principles and techniques. The last four chapters in the book contain practical instructions on how to use Microsoft Project, Primavera Project Planner (P3), SureTrak, and P6 Project Manager and Contractor. The software instructions are project driven, rather than software driven. The instructions are based on how managers use the software, rather than explaining every detail on every screen, in the order the screens appear. These chapters contain examples and assignments that teach how to use the software to effectively communicate the schedule to the total management team. 

They are basically self-instructional tutorials that take students over the rough spots in the software and become a valuable aid to learn how to better manage with the assistance of the software. It is the author’s sincere hope that the ideas and information contained in this book will help project managers gain better control of their projects and thus their life. 

It is the author’s desire that through the application of these ideas and techniques the manager will have more time to spend with family and loved ones rather than living at the project site. As managers of major projects we must learn and apply methods to improve the management of our projects without spending excessive hours each week doing so. It is time we learn to manage and control the project rather than allowing it to manage and control us. This book contains ideas to help us to work smarterso that we can play harder. 

The second edition contains clearer explanations of some of the many concepts covered. As students have used the first edition, they have provided feedback on areas that were difficult to understand and those have been clarified or expanded. The chapter on Microsoft Project has been updated to explain how to use the features of version 2007, which is the latest version. The chapter on P3e/c has been significantly revised to help the reader successfully use the Project Manager component of P6 as well as to provide help on using Contractor (the junior or stand-alone version of Primavera’s project management solutions). 

Appreciation is expressed especially to my wife Sylvia for her continuing love, support, and patience, along with our six children: Jayson and Chris (both current project managers, for their valuable advice and reviews), Jennifer (who edited the entire original manuscript), Alisa, Jalyn, and Jarica, also for their support and patience .