Is your schedule properly resourced according to the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)? The DCMA resource assessment inspects how well your schedule is resource loaded.
The DCMA resource assessment is somewhat variable. Resource loading a schedule is not always specifically required except in integrated earned value management systems and sometimes as a contractual stipulation. Schedules, however, that are resource loaded should be reviewed to confirm that no resource assignments are missing. All tasks in a resource loaded schedule should either have a resource effort (hours) or fixed price ($) assignment.
The goal is to determine whether a resource-loaded schedule is loaded in entirety or not. A resource-loaded schedule therefore implies that all required labor and measureable material, equipment, and other costs are assigned to appropriate activities. Improperly resource loaded schedules, according to the DCMA resource assessment guideline, have budgets that are likely incomplete.
Indeed in earned value management systems, all scope, including labor, material and equipment costs must be accounted for through the use of resource assignments to activities.
This resource loading assessment applies to all normal activities (excludes milestones) and level of effort (LOE) activities that are planned, in-progress, or complete. The DCMA resource assessment specifically states that “all tasks with durations greater than zero have dollars or hours assigned.” Some have interpreted this to mean all activities of 1-day duration or greater should be resource loaded.
Others understand that all discrete (measured) effort in the schedule should have work or cost assignments. (As mentioned above, milestones which have zero duration are not included.) This distinction becomes an issue when one considers the cost loading of, for example, a project initiation meeting. An initiation meeting typically lasts 2-hours. Is that 2-hour meeting a discrete (measured) effort? If so, then the scheduler has to assign all meeting participants as resources. This may become laborious for large meetings that, nevertheless, have minimal associated costs.
An alternate strategy, particularly for regular meetings is to create level of effort (LOE) management activities that capture all the likely hours that will be consumed in such meetings. This is preferable and more easily maintained than dozens of weekly meeting activities.
Resource loaded schedules are not mandatory, but recommended. And, if a schedule is resource loaded, use the DCMA resource assessment to validate that it is resource loaded in its entirety. You do this by verifying the labor hours, material and equipment costs in the proposed budget with those that are being calculated in the schedule. This inspection applies to all normal and LOE activities; it excludes milestones.
It should be noted that there could be a conflict with DCMA guidance regarding their objective to replace lags with what can be called dummy activities. Dummy activities provide insight into what may be happening during a lag between activities, but may have no resources. While this may cause some conflict to DCMA, it is desirable to have the dummy activities rather than lags.
The DCMA resource assessment helps validate the schedule budget, an important measure of project success. And schedules that meet the DCMA resource assessment have a significantly greater opportunity for success.
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 can use these to help you create excellent P6 schedules. These are schedules that will pass the scrutiny of the most rigorous auditors. These techniques are also 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 of every schedule you create. Click here for more details including how to register.