Program Master Schedule, Working Backwards

At GraphicSchedule we like to think through projects in reverse, because it focuses attention on how to achieve the desired end result. Rather than asking “what work can start after this activity finishes?” (traditional waterfall planning), try working backwards from the goal date and ask “what work must be done in order to start this activity on time?” (similar to pull planning). Be sure to insert float in your working backwards schedule as contingency time for changes or delays. If the overall timeline takes too long – or shows that you’re already late – work with your team to optimize durations or perform more tasks concurrently. This example was created in GraphicSchedule using simple Excel formulas, with durations measured in months for conceptual planning purposes.

 

Highway Paving Linear Schedule

This linear schedule illustrates how repairs and resurfacing of a major interstate highway can be completed within lane closures, to keep traffic moving through the work zone. The overall construction sequence is dictated by the use of a planing (milling) machine that grinds down the existing roadway surface, and a paving machine that lays down new hot mix asphalt (HMA). As soon as these key activities are done in the eastbound lanes, crews and equipment move over to the westbound lanes to continue their work. Colored block shapes indicate the duration of each lane closure, and the map and roadway sections were clipped from the engineering drawings to provide helpful visual aids for discussing the work.

Design-Build Work Package Summary

Design-build projects are often split into packages so that critical portions of the work can proceed while the design of other project elements is still being finalized. On this bar chart each package has its own row, advancing through the preliminary and final design reviews to Released for Construction (RFC) status. A red line has been added to show the longest path through construction. This one-page format also makes it easy to check planned vs. actual design progress across all packages- simply draw a vertical line down the page on any given date, then mark it up with current status of each design review to see if they’re on track.