Optimization in Construction Projects

In any construction project it is the desire of any owner to get the most for their money. It is critical to optimize the tradeoffs of the three components of Cost, Schedule, and Quality.

It is very important to determine upfront how quality, cost and schedule should be prioritized. Silverman CPM does this through the Management Planning process. When the project team member’s opinions are addressed upfront, fewer conflicting priorities will have to be handled later. As a result, the team is all on the same page and we can avoid any 11th hour decisions.

Preference should almost always be to optimize for quality – that is, to do as good of a job as possible. Obviously we must consider the budget and schedule.

One great quote from an unknown author is,
“The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

However, optimizing for quality means that you need to find the budget for doing so, and you may have to adjust the schedule on an as needed basis. You cannot get the best possible quality for the lowest possible price.

Quality takes time. You may have to explore more and you have to pay attention to more aspects and details.

What happens when two of the parameters are fixed? Usually this is when costs are fixed and there is a definite deadline. Then, if the scope starts to creep you are left with only one choice – cut functionality. This is more common than you might think, in fact it’s more common than not!

In this case reducing functionality is the only solution. At Silverman CPM we direct and manage the team to reduce functionality but maintain the core requirements. We can attempt to increase functionality etc. into the next phase if it seems a plausible solution.

Silverman CPM is aware that some team members might pad the project and then release quality, costs or schedule when the crunch comes. We look out for this and manage this as the project proceeds.

A phenomenon known as “scope creep” is important to consider. Some scope creep is inevitable since, early on, your project will be poorly defined and will need to evolve. A large amount of scope creep, however, can be disastrous.

When the scope starts to creep, new functionality must be added to cover the increased scope. In this situation you have three, and only three options:

  1. Add time – delay the project to give you more time
  2. Increase the budget
  3. Cut quality – trade off some non-essential requirements for the new

When faced with scope creep you cannot ignore it. You need to tackle it in one of the ways described above (more later) and the sooner the better. Delaying raises the risk of your project failing.

Silverman CPM juggles all three parameters and will help the team make decisions every day which will effectively trade-off time vs quality vs budget.

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