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The Progress Curve

Studying the actual progress curve against the early and late date curves in SmartPM is essential for effective project management. It empowers users to make informed decisions, proactively address issues, optimize resource utilization, and ensure successful project delivery.

In project management, both early date curve and late date curve are terms associated with project scheduling and represent different perspectives on project timelines. Let's define each:

  1. Early Date Planned Curve:

    The early date planned curve, often referred to as the early start/finish curve, is a graphical representation of the analysis's baseline schedule based on the earliest possible start and finish times for each task. It is derived from the forward pass calculation in the Critical Path Method (CPM). The forward pass calculates the earliest start and finish times for each activity in a project, considering dependencies and constraints.

    The early date curve represents the project timeline assuming that all tasks start as early as possible and progress as efficiently as planned. It helps project managers and teams understand the earliest completion date for the entire project and identifies the critical path, which is the sequence of tasks that determines the overall project duration.

  2. Late Date Planned Curve:

    The late date planned curve, also known as the late start/finish curve, is a graphical representation of the analysis's baseline schedule based on the latest possible start and finish times for each task. It is derived from the backward pass calculation in the Critical Path Method. The backward pass calculates the latest start and finish times for each activity, taking into account project constraints and the desired project completion date.

    The late date curve represents the project timeline under the assumption that tasks start as late as possible without delaying the project's overall completion. It helps in identifying the tasks that have float or slack, meaning they can be delayed without affecting the project's critical path or final delivery date.

  3. Actual Curve:

    The actual curve represents the real progress of tasks and activities in an analysis over time. It is a graphical representation of the actual start and finish times of tasks as they occur during the execution of the project. This curve is often compared to the planned schedules, such as the early date curve and the late date curve, to assess how well the project is adhering to its original timeline.

  4. Scheduled Completion Curve:

    The scheduled completion curve is a graphical representation of the analysis's current, most recent schedule based on the earliest possible start and finish times for each task. It is derived from the forward pass calculation in the Critical Path Method (CPM). The forward pass calculates the earliest start and finish times for each activity in a project, considering dependencies and constraints.

    The scheduled completion represents the most current analysis timeline assuming that all tasks start as early as possible and progress as efficiently as planned. It helps project managers and teams understand the earliest completion date for the entire project and identifies the critical path, which is the sequence of tasks that determines the overall project duration.

  5. Progress Target:

    The progress target area highlights the analysis's available "float" or "slack." This zone represents the amount of time that the entire project schedule can be delayed without impacting the overall project completion date and show the flexibility in the project schedule. It is a critical aspect of project management that allows for better risk management, resource optimization, and informed decision-making to ensure the successful and timely completion of the project.

  6. Predictive Completion Curve:

    The forecasted end date curve is a graphical representation of the expected completion dates for a project based on the current progress and performance. It is a dynamic curve that adjusts in real time as the project evolves. This curve takes into account the actual progress of tasks, any delays encountered, and the remaining work to be completed. This curve populates after an analysis is >50% actually complete.

 

Having the current schedule's early date curve fall between the baseline's early date curve and the late date curve is important for several reasons in project management. This scenario typically indicates that the project is progressing as planned or has some degree of flexibility. Here are key reasons why this alignment is significant:

  1. Optimal Progress:

    • If the current schedule's early date curve aligns with the baseline's early date curve, it suggests that tasks are being completed as initially planned. This alignment indicates optimal progress and adherence to the original project schedule.

  2. Flexibility Assessment:

    • The space between the baseline's early date curve and the late date curve represents the flexibility or float in the schedule. If the current schedule's early date curve is within this range, it indicates that the project has some room for adjustments without impacting the overall completion date and there is a buffer (float) available before encountering potential delays.
  3. Early Warning System:

    • Deviations between the current schedule's early date curve and the baseline's early date curve can serve as early warning signs. If the actual progress consistently lags behind the planned progress, it may signal the need for closer monitoring, resource adjustments, or corrective actions to bring the project back on track.
  4. Proactive Decision-Making:

    • The alignment of the current schedule's early date curve with the baseline's curves enables proactive decision-making. Project managers can identify potential risks, allocate resources effectively, and take corrective measures early in the project lifecycle to mitigate any emerging issues.

  5. Communication and Stakeholder Management:

    • When the current schedule aligns with the baseline's early date curve, project managers can communicate project status more confidently to stakeholders. It helps manage expectations and provides a transparent view of the project's progress.

    In summary, the alignment of the current schedule's early date curve with the baseline's early and late date curves is crucial for assessing progress, maintaining schedule confidence, and enabling proactive project management. It provides a valuable framework for decision-making and helps ensure that the project remains on track for successful completion.