ICS-White Paper: Schedule Acceleration Using Free Float and Multi-Path Analysis


Pages: 33
Illustrations: 29
Bookmarked: Yes
Glossary Items: 22
Product Number: WPA-MF-28
Digital Format: Static PDF

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As part of his or her routine duties, a Project Facilitator (old name: Planner/Scheduler) may be asked to recommend ways to accelerate a project. The objective would of course be to discover how to differently utilize project resources such that one or more Project Execution Commitments are achieved earlier than they would have been without the different course of action.

Initially, An Expose on Free Float

At first, this White Paper was intended to offer an in-depth treatment of the Critical Path Method concept of Free Float, which Cognitive Project Management contends is poorly understood (and thus, under-utilized) throughout Dominant Project Management. But while thinking about a clever way to present a coherent and useful discussion on Free Float, it was quickly realized that a real-life example might be quite effective.

However, not too long into the writing exercise it became apparent that we had developed a sound foundation for a paper on schedule acceleration. And so, this ICS-White Paper has these two distinct themes:

  • A Better Understanding of Free Float; and,
  • A Better Understanding of the Dynamics Behind Schedule Acceleration

Comparison of Schedule Acceleration Options

If you consult readily-available Project Management literature as to what it recommends for achieving schedule acceleration, you will surely discover a range of options, but no clear consensual winner.  That is, every author has his or her favorite approach.

In this ICS-White Paper, we will carefully compare six different ways to perform a Schedule Acceleration exercise. Five of these approaches are taken from mainstream Project Management literature. But the sixth approach, Multi-Path Analysis, is the brainchild of Cognitive Project Management (and , thus, is best explained here, within an ICS-White Paper).

The six distinct Schedule Acceleration options reviewed in this ICS-White Paper are:

  • Least Total Float Path Basis
  • Longest Path Basis
  • Largest Duration Basis
  • Most Immediate Successor Basis
  • Nearest Milestone Basis
  • Multi-Path Analysis Basis

Activity Multi-Path Residency

This ICS-White Paper also introduces another cutting-edge concept from the good work being done at ICS-Research, Multi-Path Residency. This concept recognizes that most activities within a network-based schedule reside simultaneously on more than one Activity Path. And since each Activity Path can have more than one Total Float value, then each Activity can have as many different Total Float values as distinct Activity Paths upon which it resides.

It is simply not possible to overstate the significance of this revelation. Project Facilitators, as well as the Project Team members that they support, need to understand that each Activity in a schedule possesses an inherent level of vulnerability, resiliency, and flexibility with respect to its placement(s) on one or more Activity Paths.