Article Date: 12/13/2013

Experts Explain Why the Recently Approved Recommended Practice for Schedule Design is Needed

By Steve Rizer


AACE International’s Technical Board recently approved a recommended practice called “61R-10, Schedule Design -- As Applied in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction,” but why does the industry need such a set of guidelines? In an interview with ConstructionPro Week, 61R-10 co-authors Christopher Carson and Patrick Kelly provided an interesting answer to this question.


“As consultants at ARCADIS, as well as at previous companies, we’ve observed that schedules are often developed without full understanding of the scope of work and all of the data really necessary for appropriate development,” Carson and Kelly jointly stated. “Some schedulers start their schedule development by simply sitting down at their computer terminal and creating the list of activities without having collected the necessary data and inputs that will make the schedule a successful tool for executing and monitoring the project.”


Carson and Kelly then explained that as they began to compile a list of the steps a scheduler should take prior to actually entering data into their schedule software, “we realized that we were describing a process that was separate and distinct from ‘schedule development,’ and so we called this process ‘schedule design.’ We owe a debt to many planning and scheduling professionals who had laid out pieces of this process in other published work; however, we focused our efforts on defining a complete schedule-design process in hopes of improving the quality of construction CPM [Critical Path Method] schedules altogether. The schedule-design process helps organize and acquire the necessary information for schedule development.”


Although there have been many documents published by the industry regarding schedule development, similar authoritative documents on schedule design have been scant, Carson and Kelly said. “For example, one of the best-known project-management industry associations, PMI (Project Management Institute), publishes the PMBOK, which addresses time management in Chapter 6, suggesting that there is a necessary ‘schedule management plan’ (SMP) that is a subsidiary plan to the project-management plan providing guidance to organizing and managing a project. However, after this reference, there is no further information regarding this SMP. Schedule design provides or serves as the schedule-management plan.”


Additional information about 61R-10 can be accessed at



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