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Does your organization measure Schedule Execution Scores?

The Defense Contract Management Administration (DCMA) recommends it, and this article explains why you should. Execution scores are simple to identify, and the system is easy to implement.

What is the Schedule Execution Score?

First, it helps to understand what an Execution Index score is. The DCMA (Defense Contract Management Administration) first issued its 14-point schedule scoring guidelines in 2007. Nestled in the guidelines as 1 of the 14 points was the Baseline Execution Index (BEI). The BEI, or Schedule Execution Score, is also included in one of the four Schedule Validator schedule scores. The Schedule Execution Score, probably the least reviewed of all the schedule scores, is a scoring system measuring successful activity starts and finishes within a schedule window; few scoring systems include this score. It wasn’t until I started monitoring the score in Schedule Validator that I began to understand its value.

Why is monitoring schedule execution important?

Here’s what I’ve learned about the Execution Score and why it is important. It primarily identifies how well a project team is planning their upcoming work. Many schedulers perform schedule updates by entering actual starts, finishes, and remaining durations for their updates (or percent complete) without reviewing upcoming work. But I’ve learned that a review and update of upcoming planned work (a lookahead schedule) with each update will lead to greater project success and minimize project surprises and delays.

The Schedule Execution Score looks at how many activities were planned to start—and how many activities were scheduled to finish—during the schedule window between two updates, then identifies how many of these tasks actually started or finished for a percentage score. For example, if 5 activities were scheduled to start and only 3 of those 5 started, the score is 60%. If 5 activities were scheduled to finish and 2 finished, the score for finishes is 40%. The combined average Execution Score is 50. It’s a very simple score but very enlightening.

As mentioned previously, the Execution Score will highlight the successful planning of a project team, or lack thereof. The Execution Score can reveal delays as well, which is also good to know.

How should a manager/executive use the Execution Score?

If your goal is to increase the quality of your project team’s planning (scheduling) and follow-through (execution), then the Execution Score is the best measurement of that goal. While the other scores will help the scheduler become more proficient, the Execution Score will indicate that proficiency in action. Of all the Schedule Validator schedule scores, the Execution Score is the best indicator of how the project team is planning and following through. Many of our clients base their incentive programs around the Execution Score. I’ve also used the Schedule Execution Score in various dispute resolution scenarios—good Execution Scores have aided in supporting a measured mile analysis.

How to improve your team’s Execution Score:

Improving a project schedule’s Execution Score requires two actions: 1) Every time your team updates the project schedule, they should take the additional time to detail the lookahead within the current construction schedule, and 2) Make sure your team reviews the lookahead frequently for coordination of planned activities.

Of course, there can be outside causes that impact a team’s execution. Tracking the Execution Score will help motivate teams to update their schedule to document delays, or at least mark up their lookahead schedule to detail causes of delay. Teams that execute will succeed.

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