The current issue of Defense Acquisition Research Journal has an article "Better Schedule Performance Assessments Derived from Integrated Master Plan-Referenced Schedule Metrics."David Bichman outlines the benefits of measuring progress Baseline Execution Index (A measurement used to indicate the efficiency of actual work that has been completed measured against the baseline) and Critical Path Length Index (a measure of the relative efficiency to complete a milestone on time).
- You need a map to tell the outcome,
- IMP/IMS and Deliverables Based Planning,
- What does an IMP/IMS look like? The Grammar of "Done,"
- What does a Master Schedule Look Like?,
These speak to the structure of a program based on Program Events, Significant Accomplishment, and Accomplishment criteria.
The Critical Success Factor here is to define what DONE looks like in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers. This means:
- Tangible evidence of physical progress to plan at the level where management can impact the outcome. This is typically at the Work Package level. Tasks inside the Work Package belong to the people actually performing the work. Let them manage this work, arrange it in the way they see fit, and control the staff assignments of their team.
- Arrange the Work Package nose to tail, meaning that the Work Package produces an outcome - a single outcome - that is complete by its pre-defined definition of complete. This outcome moves the project to the next step in its increasing maturity. The complete Work Package outcome does not mean the project is complete. This outcome is one step along the way for the project being done.
- Adjust all measures of performance - cost, schedule, and technical performance - for risk using a probabilistic model of this risk.
- Measure the physical percent complete at intervals that allow corrective action to take place. This interval should answer the question how long are you willing to wait before you find out you are late? Assess progress to plan at a shorter interval than that to make sure you have time to correct the cost, schedule, and technical performance in time to Stay GREEN.
- If you can't correct in time, define the actions needed to Get Back To GREEN and place those actions in the Integrated Master Schedule.