The Deltek Acumen Fuse DCMA 14-point metrics are among many metrics you can use to analyze schedule quality.
Deltek’s Acumen Fuse schedule quality analysis software implements a five stage project maturity framework defined as follows: S1 the base, S2 critiqued, S3 risk-adjusted, S4 optimized, and S5 team-aligned.
- S1 the base – raw schedule that is the starting point for improvement.
- S2 critiqued – schedule diagnostics to spot issues before they become problems.
- S3 risk-adjusted – collaborate on project threats and account for uncertainties.
- S4 optimized – find acceleration opportunities.
- S5 team-aligned – Improve confidence and team buy-in on forecasted dates.
The intent of the maturity model is a structurally sound, realistic, optimized, and validated schedule. The Acumen maturity framework analysis incorporates many of the metrics encompassed in the DCMA’s 14-Point Assessment. The Deltek Acumen Fuse tool allows you to perform the DCMA 14-point analysis on schedules from all the major systems including Primavera P6, Microsoft Project, and Open Plan to name a few.
This article describes how to perform a comprehensive assessment using the Acumen Fuse DCMA 14-point metrics.
We have in Figure 1 our demonstration project.
This schedule is a pipe repair and improvement project. In the Acumen S1 // Project tab we select Oracle Primavera icon, Figure 2.
In the Add Primavera P6 File dialog, Figure 3, we select the Pipe-Repair-18.xer file.
The Pipe-Repair project will appear in the left screen projects navigation window, Figure 4.
At this point we have simply linked the project source file to the workbook in Acumen. As the prompt in Figure 4 suggests, we have several options at this point regarding what we actually load into our workbook. Let’s proceed and import the project linked to this workbook. Select import all projects, Figure 4. Once your workbook associated projects are imported your workbook and project should appear similar to Figure 5.
Now we are ready to perform diagnostics. Before we do the DCMA 14 Point assessment, let’s do a more simple, Schedule Quality analysis. Select the S2 // Diagnostics tab, Figure 6.
Click the Home button (shown above in Figure 6) or the Fuse button in the Analyze tool ribbon group, to perform a schedule quality analysis, Acumen’s default analysis. The resulting schedule analysis is displayed in Figure 7.
The left frame in Figure 7 displays the schedule quality analysis along the schedule timeline. The right frame in Figure 7 shows summarized schedule quality analysis metrics for the entire project. A close up of the schedule quality analysis for the entire project is in Figure 8.
Note that while many of the metrics in the ribbon analyzer are similar to the metrics found in the DCMA 14-Point Assessment, it has some unique metrics too that are very useful. For example, Logic Density shows an average number of logic links for each activity in the schedule, a good indicator that there may be redundant logic in the schedule if this number climbs much above 3.
Also, there is the Merge Hotspot metric, useful for identifying areas that may be indicative of risk for schedule drag. Although the schedule quality analysis displayed in Figure 8 is very helpful for inspecting the structural integrity of your schedule, it does not provide a complete DCMA 14-Point Assessment analysis. For this we are going to use the special DCMA 14 Point metric ribbon that will give you a full DCMA analysis. These are:
- Missing Logic
- Leads (Negative Lag)
- Positive Lags
- Hard Constraints
- High Total Float (Total Slack)
- Negative Total Float (Total Slack)
- High Duration Activities
- Invalid Dates
- Missed Tasks
- Critical Path Test
- Critical Path Length Index (CPLI)
- Baseline Execution Index (BEI)
To obtain a complete DCMA 14-Point Assessment select ‘DCMA 14 Point’ in the bottom frame and again select the home button, Figure 9.
Deltek Acumen Fuse provides an analysis of each 14-point assessment along the timeline in the left frame, Figure 9. A summary of each 14-point assessment is displayed in the right frame, again, Figure 9. Figure 10 provides a close up view of the summarized 14-point assessment.
It also displays the activities flagged in the point 3 lags assessment. Figure 11 provides a list of all activities flagged in the point 4 relationships assessment.
You will note from our DCMA 14-point assessment that there are two inspections for assessment 4 relationships. DCMA point 4 relationships assessment encourages the use of finish to start (FS) relationships. Deltek Acumen flags start to start (SS) and finish to finish (FF) relationships and, in particular, start to finish (SF) relationships, which are highlighted in their own separate analysis column.
Though limited use of SS and FF relationships is acceptable, most guidelines are more discouraging on SF relationship usage. The DCMA 14-point assessment says SF relationships should be rare and explained in detail. This is the reason for the separate metric analysis column for SF relationships.
Point 9 invalid dates assessment, also comes in two separate analysis: one for planned activities in the past and one for completed activities (actuals) in the future. You will also observe for our schedule that the point 9 actuals in the future says N/A. This is because our schedule has not been progressed. The critical path test point 12 is also N/A.
Note further, that the critical path length index is 1.00 for our project, because the total float of critical path activities is zero. Finally, the baseline execution index (BEI) is N/A, again, because this analysis metric requires schedule progress.
The 14-point assessment is a core component of the Deltek Acumen Fuse DCMA 14-point metrics. Much of the DCMA 14-point assessment is included in the Deltek Acumen five stage project maturity framework. And a comprehensive Deltek Acumen Fuse DCMA 14-point assessment analysis is also available. Each 14-point assessment is provided for your desired time period interval, and summarized for the project as a whole.
Deltek’s inclusion of the 14-point assessment in its schedule quality analysis is among the primary reasons for Acumen’s growing popularity as a schedule quality and risk analysis tool.