Thursday, March 20, 2008

Taking Corrective Action on Variances

Corrective action is a crucial output from schedule control. It involves implementing a pre-determined plan of action to bring expected future schedule performance in line with the schedule baseline.

Once a significant variance from the plan occurs, the next step is to determine whether corrective action is needed. At this stage, the project team should ask:
  • Has the schedule baseline changed?
  • Have milestones or critical activities been missed?
  • Will implementing corrective action expose risks?
Once you have determined that corrective action is required, there are a number of possible actions to take.
  • Renegotiate project requirements - When achieving the desired outcome appears to be impossible, you can talk to the client about renegotiating the project requirements.
  • Reallocate resources - Another option is to reallocate resources from a future activity. This allows for recovery of the current problem and provides time to repair future problems before they arise.
  • Narrow the project's scope. - Certain variances are best addressed by narrowing the project's scope. In this case, you need to determine which activities can be compromised without jeopardizing the project, then cut back on those activities, or eliminate them if possible.
  • Add resources. - Other variances may call for additional resources. Here, your goal is to look for opportunities to add resources that will positively affect the critical path and help bring the project back on track.
  • Subcontract work out - Another possibility is to subcontract work out to companies that can perform the activities at a lower cost. Subcontracting allows the project team to concentrate its efforts on other, more critical, areas.
  • Partial delivery - Another option is to talk with the customer about the possibility of making partial delivery. This may be the only way to satisfy the customer's critical requirement and keep the customer happy.
When a problem arises, you need to determine its cause. You must then review your schedule management plan and determine whether corrective action is necessary. If so, you need to meet with the project team and key stakeholders to determine the best option and follow up with the client. In this way, you can arrive at viable, workable options that are acceptable to all.

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