Why a Detailed Programme to Completion Ensures Project Success?

Written by LetsBuild

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This follows on very nicely from my last Blog about Cash Flow Management, but first a bit of qualification and explanation.

Because of my own interests and the project turnaround roles I took on, to me a Detailed Programme to Completion (DPC) was something compiled after discussion with all parties and showed what everyone should be doing, everywhere, at all times. It only used the software to show these very detailed Tasks from the point of view of manpower and got up-dated daily. With the benefit of hind-sight, perhaps these should have had another name; “Very DPC”???

For general purposes a DPC doesn’t need to anything like so detailed. It needs the contractual start and end dates then broad brush strokes for all the Tasks involved. For example, internal partition walls could just be a single Task rather than, for my “VDPC”, saying which walls goes up which day! One task, perhaps, instead of 40? Similarly, this DPC doesn’t need to be up-dated daily; weekly will do very nicely to make sure the project is remaining on programme.

Now, the Planner or Project Manager has done their bit and come up with the who does what, where and when. At this stage, for a “proper” DPC, the Quantity Surveyors or Estimators take over. The software used for the DPC, usually MS Project, has the facility for labour and material costs to be inserted into it. This what those “bean counters” get on with. Somewhere, lost in the mists of time, I’ve been lumbered with this bit but it really never was my cup of tea!

Once these guys have done their bit they can “Press Button B” and the software will tell them the total expenditure anticipated month by month, how much should be owed to them by the Client and how much they will owe the sub-contractors. Their next little job is to make sure that the cash is at hand to meet the payments and that each month actually will have more money coming in than going out!

Incidentally, and this is purely personal, there should be some cash in the Petty Cash tin! I got fooled once and never fell for it again! We ran short of some expensive emulsion. I dashed out to the Merchants, with who we had no credit account, and shelled out £120 from my own pocket for three tins of it. That was about a week’s wages at the time. Took me weeks to get my money back! Back to the subject ………

The project has its DPC and has started on site; the Site or Project Manager needs to have a good wander round on a weekly basis and check actual progress against the DPC. This ensures that if there is any slippage against the programme corrective action can be taken at an early date to get it back on programme!

The Project Quantity Surveyor has a different job.He has to have a monthly walkabout and make a decision about what percentage of each Task has been completed. From that he calculates what the Client owes that month and what he owes the Subbies. For example, the raised access floor total is £100,000 and is 60% complete: the Client owes £60k and the Subby is owed £55k. The Client has that £60k added to the monthly submission – (while the Subby tries it on and asks for £65k!).

So let’s get back to looking at why a DPC should ensure projectsuccess. The first thing is that it shows someone has given the project a serious coat of looking at and thinking about before it even started. “Project success” is usually defined as “completion on time, to standards and to budget”. Well, the weekly walkabout by the SM and/or PM should have ensured progress was maintained and that completion would be on time. This walkabout should also have included a “Desnag as you go” culture, so that is build standards taken care of! Finally the Quantity Surveyors have obtained payments on time and paid out to the Subbies, with “obtained” being a bigger sum of money than the “paid out” – to budget and showing a profit! That’s why cash management in construction is important.

So there it is! That is Why a Detailed Programme to Completion Ensures Project Success!

Sure, the production of a DPC costs money prior to the project start, but doesn’t that work out cheap compared to the LAD’s risked without one?