If your schedule has excessive slippage, then the Defense Contract Management Agency’s (DCMA) Missed Tasks assessment may flag your schedule for further review.
The DCMA 14-point assessment inspects schedules and provides rules for measuring the potential for a successful project. The DCMA Missed Tasks assessment in particular, measures how well the actual (in-progress) schedule is tracking to the baseline schedule. A schedule that is exceeding its baseline finish dates may be a schedule in trouble. And it may require a corrective action plan to realign the actual schedule and baseline.
This article reviews the DCMA Missed Tasks assessment as a means for measuring whether the schedule is tracking to the baseline.
DCMA 14-Point Assessment and Missed Tasks
It is expected that not everything goes according to plan. Nevertheless your plan is your desired outcome, so you want actual progress to tract the schedule as much as possible. You also want an early warning indicator to alert you when your actual schedule is slipping away from the baseline. The DCMA Missed Tasks assessment is your first alert indicator that your schedule requires corrective action to realign it with the baseline.
The DCMA Missed Tasks assessment inspects how well schedule task finish dates are tracking baseline task finish dates. The assessment focuses on task finish dates and not task start dates. Task finish dates are scrutinized because it is more difficult to achieve and report the completion of a task than the commencement of a task. Therefore tracking schedule task finish dates provides a more conservative and/or accurate measurement of schedule progress.
The Missed Task assessment says that no more than 5% of schedule incomplete tasks should have missed baseline finish dates. The Missed Baseline Finish % ratio is as follows:
In simpler terms the numerator is the number of missed tasks and the denominator the baseline count. Note that the denominator baseline count does not include tasks with no baseline dates. Therefore all tasks added after baselining the project are not included in this metric.
So, the assessment inspects task finish dates up through the status date, and allows only 5% of schedule tasks to slip beyond their task baseline finish dates. Otherwise, the schedule is flagged for review. This metric does not measure on-going activities that have a baseline finish beyond the update period; the Missed Tasks assessment is therefore retrospective.
Note that all missed tasks are weighed equally, regardless of their duration and/or cost. The total float of tasks is not considered. It is possible to fail this metric by using available total float, if the early finish dates are missed. Again, this metric is a conservative schedule delay early warning indicator. Also, not at issue is whether or not the activity in question is along the critical or longest path.
Let’s walk through a Primavera P6 Professional schedule demonstration. In Figure 1 we have a P6 schedule that has been progressed two months.
We want to determine the percent of activities missing their baseline finish date, as per the data date.
First we want to find the baseline count. This is the number of activities that are scheduled to complete before the data date. To find the baseline count we implement the filter in Figure 2. Note we are using the DD (Data Date) modifier to keep this filter focused on retroactive missed dates and not count the impacted activities out in the future.
This filter captures all activities that have a project baseline finish date less than or equal to the data date. The result are all the activities displayed in Figure 3.
Now we simply count the number of activities displayed; I count thirteen activities that were scheduled to complete before the data date.
Now we create a missed task filter as displayed in Figure 4.
This filter captures all activities that have a project baseline finish date before the data date and have a project baseline finish date to finish date variance less than zero. All activities that miss their project baseline finish date are captured in this filter. The filter results are all the activities displayed in Figure 5.
Note the yellow baseline bars in relation to the blue activity bar actuals. Again, we simply count the number of activities displayed; I count seven activities.
So out of thirteen activities that were scheduled to complete before the data date seven missed their project baseline finish date. Employing the Missed Finish % ratio we find that 54% of activities are missing their project baseline finish date, as per the data date. This is not good. Our schedule has failed the DCMA Missed Tasks assessment by a wide margin.
Our schedule requires rigorous changes to realign it with the project baseline. Interesting how smaller schedules with less activities can fail this test more quickly and severely than much larger schedules. Similar filters can be developed for Microsoft Project schedules.
The Missed Task assessment provides a conservative and straightforward way to measure schedule progress, and serves as an early warning alert when the schedule is slipping. The metric allows 5% or less activities to slip their finish baseline dates. The metric does not consider the duration, cost, and total float of missed tasks. This is a retrospective metric, task project baseline finish dates beyond the data date are not included in the analysis.
So whether or not the DCMA are auditing your schedules, this metric is a useful management tool for tracking the status of any company’s project portfolio, We recommend you make this check part of your routine status process to see and report the overall status health of your projects.
If you want to learn more about the DCMA 14-point assessment and other industry standard best practice guidelines, Ten Six offers a very affordable and easy learning video training course. The Ten Six Scheduling Best Practice Guidelines for Primavera P6 course teaches you all the basic industry standard scheduling techniques you need to help you create excellent P6 schedules, schedules that will pass the scrutiny of the most rigorous auditors. These techniques are used by the top-scheduling professionals in the industry today. So even if you’re not being audited, employing scheduling best practice techniques ensures the integrity and believability of every schedule you create. Click here for more details including how to register.