In this video, Jim discusses the history of planning and scheduling related to construction projects, and describes the complexity that necessitated the use of computers.
- If you read the title to this video, you might be wondering why have a section on history when we're supposed to be talking about planning and scheduling. My answer is that I just find it fascinating that the real history of planning and scheduling systems isn't that old. I guess that makes some sense, right? The Egyptians and the Romans probably were not that concerned with cost control, and time was not the same concern then as it is today. But the idea of managing these things didn't really evolve as a science until after the industrial revolution.
One of the people that we credit with a major development in the science of planning and scheduling is Henry Gantt, who developed the bar chart back in 1917, as a tool for production control in manufacturing centers. Why did I put this in here? Because that's why we call these bar chart schedules Gantt charts. I think that's interesting. Another interesting fact. The very first computer ever installed in a business, which happened to be only the third computer ever made, the UNIVAC 1 back in the 1950s, it was specifically used to solve challenges to planning, estimating, and scheduling.
That early use was back in 1959, where they used it to help schedule shutdown activities at a Dupont plant. They say that the result of using an actual computerized scheduling system was a 25% savings for Dupont. That's a big savings, and that wasn't that long ago. Again, besides being fascinating, why is this important? Well I think it's important to understand that the science of planning and scheduling construction projects is not that old. It actually really didn't take off until the 1980s, when we really started to see software being developed to help us schedule construction projects using the personal computers that we tend to see today.
I know in the late 1980s I was just using a spreadsheet program to create bar chart schedules to show the order and the duration of the activities on my street improvement projects. That's as sophisticated as we got because that's all we could do given the resources that we had. But as new software was developed to make things easier, our industry started adopting new methods that led to the way that we do things now. Again, why does all this matter? Let's go back to my history lesson that we talked about just a few minutes ago.
As Dupont was able to make planning and scheduling a more precise and accurate activity, they saw significant savings. As we continue to grow and evolve in the construction industry, that should be our goal as well. Let's continue and spend just a few minutes on the different types of schedules that have been used in construction.
This course identifies the steps needed to develop a proper plan, and demonstrates how that plan is transformed into a construction schedule. Throughout the course, instructor Jim Rogers shares examples of his own successes and failures in the areas of construction planning and scheduling, so as to lend real-world context to the concepts he covers.
- Types of schedules
- Planning versus scheduling
- Work breakdown structure
- Developing a schedule
- Creating a network model
- Assigning durations, costs, and resources
- Identifying the critical path
- Letting the software do the calculations
- Checking and updating the schedule
- Scheduling's impact on productivity