Sciforma uses two distinct modes to manage Critical Chain projects: Planning mode and Tracking mode. To track progress on a project, the Tracking mode must be set to on. Switching to Tracking mode does the following:
Sets the project's Schedule Direction field to “Forward”.
Lock sall buffers (as can be seen in the Buffer Lock Task field), making them available for use as needed by task schedule overruns.
Sets the Pin Date field on tasks that would move when changing from “ALAP” to “ASAP” mode. Setting a Pin Date prevents a task from moving in the schedule due to differences between scheduling it as late as possible and as soon as possible.
Sets the Schedule Type field for all tasks to “ASAP” (as soon as possible).
Note that users can freely switch back and forth between Tracking mode and Planning mode as needed. Unless specific changes are made to the schedule, merely switching from one mode to the other does not affect the schedule.
Tracking a Critical Chain project consists of:
Starting the project on time, not early or late
Encouraging resources to finish early as though they are participating in a relay race
Updating the schedule with actuals
Adjusting Pin Dates when predecessor tasks finish early
Managing the buffers
The project’s baseline is used to measure how performance deviates from the plan. Your performance measurement would only be meaningful if you had an accurate baseline. A project’s baseline is defined as the original scope, cost, and schedule. The project’s baseline must be completely defined and documented before project execution and the control activities begin.
Once the project execution begins, the project’s baseline is put under change control to help in evaluating any further changes and their impact on the project. No meaningful measurements can be made if the scope, cost, and schedule are not under strict change control. If any change is approved, then the new baseline is redefined (with the change incorporated into it) as the original plan. It is a good idea to keep records that show how the plan has progressed and changed over time.
Frequent requests for changes to the project requirements may indicate that the initial requirement analysis was incomplete or there was a lack of meaningful communication with users and customers early in the project initiation phase.
Sciforma supports the capture of fourteen independent baselines in the project so that a history of significant project changes can be captured.
In order for Sciforma to compare current data with data saved within a specific baseline, users will have to select a Current Baseline.
Budgeting a Critical Chain Project management (CCPM) project is not straightforward as budgeting a Critical Path project because you begin a Critical Chain project by admitting to yourself, your team, and your managers that scheduling a project is not a perfect science. Still, you may be required to submit a budget based on your schedule either for a bid or for internal controls and reporting.
Consider that your final Critical Chain plan is based on the estimates that have about a 50% chance of success for any given task. You probably don’t want to submit a budget that has this same chance of being wrong. You need to adjust the effort and cost items of this plan to obtain a budget with an adequate safety margin and Sciforma has the tools to make this easy. A Save Critical Chain Baseline command enables you to specify the margin parameters, increase task durations accordingly (causing a corresponding increase in cost and effort and a rescheduling of the project based on these increased durations). Sciforma saves this entire profile in the baseline you specify then restores the entire project back to its original state.
Whatever method is used to prepare and display the Gantt chart, progress assessment is simply a matter of checking that all the tasks (or portions of tasks) lying to the left of the date cursor have been completed. Doing so highlights all of the tasks that are running late. Gantt bars can be used to plot progress. For this purpose, a date cursor can be added, which is a vertical line placed on the Gantt chart at the review date.
In Sciforma, the review date is called the As Of Date.
You may choose not to use “today” as the base date for the calculation of the plan. It may, for example, be more convenient to base the calculations on next Monday or the day after tomorrow. It would be unusual if this base date were more than a few days in the future because too many things could change between now and then.
The As Of Date is not the same as the Completed date which is the date up to which tasks have been completed.
After the initial scheduling is done and the baseline is saved, the project can start. For the project to be used in other workspaces, the project must first be published. After a project is published, its data becomes available for displaying in reports and other workspaces, and resources are able to submit timesheets with the actual effort for work they performed on that project.
If this is the first time for you to publish your project, this newly created published version will be added in the selector. The Project Published version is read only.