How to check the quality of your project plan

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DCMA 14 Point Schedule Quality Assessment

The 14 Point Assessment, developed by the (US) Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), is becoming an established standard within the scheduling community across multiple industries. This analysis can be applied to determine the quality of planning. Through the use of metric analysis (looking at the likes of quality of logic; consistency of detail; appropriate use of activity constraints; use of leads/lags and the resultant impact on float), we can quantify the quality of a project schedule.

The DCMA 14 Point Assessment focuses on what are known as “Total Activities”. A total activity is defined as a non-complete activity that is not a summary, level of effort, nor milestone (i.e. is a normal activity either that is currently planned or in progress). By filtering out the likes of summary activities that are really just grouping representations of the true work defined in a ‘normal’ activity, the DCMA 14 Point Assessment provides a non-skewed perspective of the remaining work left in the schedule. Eliminating milestones has the added benefit of avoiding double dipping on results.

 

Metric Description
 1 Logic Total number of activities that are missing a predecessor, a successor or both. This number should not exceed 5%
 2 Leads Total number of activities that have negative lags in their predecessors. This number should be zero
3 Lags Total number of activities that have lags in their predecessors. This number should not exceed 5%
4 SS/FF Number of Start to Start or Finish to Finish relationships. The number should not exceed 10%
4 SF Number of Start to Finish relationships. The number should be zero
5 Hard Constraints Number of activities that have hard constraints (such as Must-Finish-On, Must-Start-On, Start-No-Later-Than, and Finish-No-Later-Than). The number should not exceed 5%
6 High Float Number of activities with float greater than 2 months. The number should not exceed 5%
7 Negative Float Number of activities that have a total float less than zero because negative float indicate delayed tasks that needs mitigation and/ or explanation. The number should be zero
8 High Duration Number of activities that have an original duration more than 2 months because high duration indicates the need to further breakdown to enhance the cost and task control. The number should not exceed 5%
9 Invalid Forecast Dates Activities with Planned Dates in the past. The number should be zero
9 Invalid Actual Dates Activities with Actual Dates in the future. The number should be zero
10 Resources Activities without Resources assigned
11 Missed Activities Activities that have slipped from their baseline dates.
12 Critical Path Test A test of the overall integrity of the network logic and, in particular, the critical path.
13 CPLI The critical path length index (CPLI) is a measure of the relative efficiency required to complete a milestone on time, or how close a critical path is to the project target completion date. The number should be more than 100%
14 BEI The baseline execution index (BEI) is an indication of the efficiency with which actual work has been accomplished when measured against the baseline. The number should be more than 95%

 

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