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Schedule Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Project Schedules

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Schedule Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Project Schedules

Schedule Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Project Schedules – dated December 2015

The Schedule Assessment Guide is a companion document to the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and expands on the scheduling concepts introduced in the Cost Guide. An effective methodology for developing, managing, and evaluating capital program cost estimates includes the concept of scheduling the necessary work to a timeline, as discussed in the Cost Guide. The success of a program depends in part on having an integrated and reliable master schedule that defines when and how long work will occur and how each activity is related to the others. The schedule is an essential basis for managing tradeoffs between cost, schedule, and scope.

The Schedule Guide provides ten best practices to help managers and auditors ensure that the program schedule is reliable. The reliability of the schedule determines the credibility of the program’s forecasted dates for decision making.

The ten best practices include: 1) Capturing all activities, 2) Sequencing all activities, 3) Assigning resources to all activities, 4) Establishing the duration of all activities, 5) Verifying that the schedule can be traced horizontally and vertically, 6) Confirming that the critical path is valid, 7) Ensuring reasonable total float, 8) Conducting a schedule risk analysis, 9) Updating the schedule using actual progress and logic, and 10) Maintaining a baseline schedule.

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