Monday, January 28, 2013

Use Gantt To Establish Baseline Plans For Your Next Project

Use Gantt To Establish Baseline Plans For Your Next Project

Not maintaining any Gantt charts for its project indirectly led to a construction company's failure and untimely demise. It had incurred extensive charges in penalties and eventually had to close down its construction which had run nearly 15 months behind schedule.

In my previous article, I stressed that Gantt charts can be very useful in improving time management. Gantt charts are not a panacea, however. On the other hand, failing to follow the results of Gantt charts can lead to lost money and even bankruptcy. One major firm went under recently because it failed to maintain a Gantt chart to track the progress of a substantial contract.

Penalty Charges

The contract failed to reflect a time schedule plan for a project explaining the various procedures involved in the construction of the apartment block. Some alterations were introduced by the client which were a deviation from the original plan. In the absence of the time schedule plan, a revised plan could not be produced specifying as to how the alteration would affect the timely completion of the project. This culminated in a delay in handing over by good 15 months from the original date agreed upon, leading to avoidable penalty.

The company was required to show the following in order to contest imposition of penalty charges:
1-The hand over date as agreed to in the initial contract as per the original specification could have easily been met.
2-The customers proposals for additional tasks to be undertaken midway through the construction process, entailed requirement of additional man hours to be put in, which resulted in the end date getting extended.

They only possessed a couple of spreadsheets assigning duties performed: for each amendment there was another spreadsheet. The spreadsheets did not reflect the contrasts from the initial plan or the effect on the final date due to the amendments demonstrated.

How Would Gantt Charts Have Helped

A Gantt Chart would have acted as a baseline plan for monitoring the progress, had it been created at the contract stage. The extra tasks required to be done by the company could have been added and the duration of the existing tasks could have been changed as and when the customer asked for changes in the specifications: the slippage in the handover date could have been clearly shown by this. The customer could have been then asked to agree to a revised end date and sign the amendment to the contract.

Without project management tools to document its position, the firm could not document the reason for the delays were not its performance. However not having these tools in place for complex projects is itself a performance issue.

During the supervision of time-constrained projects for customers, it is necessary to employ metrics such as Gantt charts and other appropriate tools to keep on top of how the project is progressing, measure the impact of any changes to the project, and keep all parties informed about how changes will affect the project.