In summer 2010, I went on mission to Tours one week to carry out the schedule of the construction phase of the first tramway line of the city, for SYSTRA.
I worked with the project coordinator, who knew its project under the end of the fingers. It had in head indeed the whole scope of the project, in terms of work to be realized. We worked together and carried out 80% of the schedule of the project in one week, which is a performance in terms of times. It was MS PROJECT schedule coupled to a time-location diagram carried out with TILOS of 1,500 tasks.
I used the prototype software “WBS Matrix” in order to structure in 3D the project. We thus listed the Zones, the Products and the Activities then crossed we them within this tool, to deduce from it the list of the tasks structured and scheduled, which it remained to import in the planning software, parameterized as a preliminary, to obtain the schedule of the project.
I understood well on this project that, the more the geographical cutting is fine the better is the project control thereafter, in operational phase. We thus cut out the tramway line in small sections of 200 meters or “Zones”. And what is characteristic on this kind of 3D structured schedule, it is precisely the planning of linear works. For example, for work “Track installation”, there were 5 to 6 phases of work “Track installation” on the line, I mean “teams” which work in parallel, and 30 Zones approximately. The error, it is to plan 6 tasks “Track installation” correspondents with the 6 phases of work. We did not do it, and we created as many tasks “Track installation” than there are Zones, i.e. about 30 tasks. These tasks were logically linked between them by logical links Finish to Start of the type “Zones”; since the 3D model tells us that a Finish to Start logical link can be of 3 natures: Zone, Product or Activity. By the end, on the time-location schedule, one saw well the 6 phases of work, but actually they were well broken up into about 30 elementary tasks, which could be seen on the Gantt diagram. Thus, in project realization phase, we knew that the project control of the “track installation” would be more precise and thus real.
On this kind of project, it is precisely the “Track installation” which conditions all the planning of the project. All that follows (the completions on the infrastructures, the installation of the systems, and tests) is directly impacted by any delay of the Track installation. And all that precedes must be fixed right before the Track, with a little free float to limit the risks of impacts on the installation of the Track.
Finally, after 3 or 4 iterations, i.e. generations of schedules with help of WBS matrix, we obtained the schedule that the project coordinator had in head. It is not me who thought the schedule, this is the Project coordinator. Me, I only gave a training to him on 3D WBS method and I parameterized the tools.