As stated in my previous blog on the Cobra Replan process, I attempted to talk one out of replanning the project except in certain, rare circumstances. That said, there are definitely circumstances where the Replan process is wholly appropriate. The Replan process, also known as a Single Point Adjustment (Also referred to S&P=A or SPA), is a process that will:
- Erase a schedule variance when cumulative BCWS is set to cumulative BCWP (S=P)
- Or, both BCWS and BVWP are set to equal ACWP, erasing both cost and schedule variances.
The 2nd option above is the most common option and will be the topic of this blog.
The rules for a replan (where S&P=A) are generally as follows:
- Cost and schedule variances are set to zero through the current reporting period.
- The remaining budget is based on:
- Negotiated cost less the “Distributed Budget” through the current period
- The budget for periods beyond the current period will reflect remaining scope of work within the total negotiated cost.
- Typically, new charge numbers would be assigned to all remaining work, excepting those work packages where no costs were incurred as of the time of the Replan.
The Replan steps are detailed below, including the possible advantages and consequences of each option.
The Process Begins in the Project Schedule
As in all baseline planning exercises, the bulk of the preparation for the Replan occurs in the project schedule. One of the challenges in executing the Replan process is developing a line of demarcation between the replanned effort through time-now and the remaining scope of work.
The status (Progress or EV) up to and including the current period are no longer updated in Cobra from the schedule. For this reason, activity coding in the schedule which allows for integration with Cobra is removed for effort up to the status date, where S&P will equal A.
The reason for this is BCWP through time now is equal to the ACWP through the current period. Future import of progress will only apply to future work, leaving the effort that is replanned unchanged.
The intent is that the result of the Replan through time-now will never change going forward. All status updates will affect only those activities planned after the Replan date. Again, BCWP and BCWS through the Replan date does not change going forward.
The scheduler will be required to split “in-process” activities in the schedule that cross the status date. The future tasks will be coded for import into Cobra for Budget, Status and ETC, while the effort up to the time of the SPA is not coded. See example below:
A task before updating the schedule for the Replan process. This screen shot represents a single work package that is “In-Progress”. Assume a December 29 date for the replan (The last working day of the month).
This screenshot shows the task split at the month end date, with the remaining effort both coded for import into Cobra and the duration adjusted to show the updated finish date for the task. Note that the Design (SPA) task is no longer coded for import. The logic is maintained between the two tasks, but both status and forecast going forward will be based on the Design (Rmng) task alone.
If a resource loaded schedule is used, all future tasks would be updated with the latest budget resource assignments.
This process applies to all currently in-progress tasks, thus a potentially significant task for the scheduler and the project execution team. Additionally, all tasks that are complete will also be uncoded. It is sufficient to only remove the Control Account and Work Package codes to prevent Cobra attempting to import those tasks. Cobra will ignore these tasks during any integration process going forward.
At the completion of the planning update to the project schedule, the Replan process can be executed.
Step 1: Backup the project, then launch the Replan process in Cobra
Step 2: Select the project to be replanned and then select “next”.
Step 3: Below, there are several options that need to be understood.
- Replan by adding an adjusting entry in the current period. This option preserves prior period data so as to prevent changing prior periods. If this option is not checked, Cobra will change BCWS and BCWP for each period to equal ACWP for that period. In effect, past history will change. No right or wrong answer, just so all parties understand how the data was modified. If this option is checked, a further option is to update the Baseline Finish date for previously completed work packages.
- Create a new Work Package for the replanned Budget/Earned/Actuals.This option will create a new work package code for the replanned effort. This will separate the replanned (old) from the remaining effort, aligning the future work packages to the remaining activities in the project schedule. Recall that effort that is replanned is not to change during future status updates. This option is strongly recommended.
- Allow planned Work Package to be replanned. “Planned” in Cobra means not yet started. This option addresses those work packages that were planned to have begun as of the status date and have not. This option is typically selected if the intent is to erase all cost and schedule variances.
- Allow completed Work Package to be replanned. As above, if the intent is to erase all cost and schedule variances, select this option.
- Class for replanned Earned Value adjustments. It is possible to create a new cost class for the replanned earned value. This can be useful in the event that new charge numbers were not created for the remaining effort. While this option is not recommended, it can be necessary where changing the charge number associated with open POs is considered impractical. That situation is beyond the scope if this blog, but suffice it to say that it is possible to preserve existing charge numbers and work package codes, but it is a cumbersome process. Again, it is strongly recommended new charge numbers are to be opened for remaining work. This all said, use the existing EV cost class “Earned”.
The recommended settings, explained above, are shown below in Figure 5.
While the Replan process can be applied to any level of the project baseline, this example will assume the entire project will be replanned.
This example, shown in Figure 7, will set BCWS and BCWP equal to ACWP. Thus, all cost and schedule variances through time now will be set to zero.
Because the option was selected to create a new work package for all replanned work packages, the adjustment to the work package code is established on the screen below. This user uses the Suffix option, to preserve the option to easily and logically sort data when needed in Excel.
Cobra always gives the user a couple chances to back out. Assuming that is not your desire, choose “Finish” (see Figure 9).
If the baseline had been set prior to Replanning the project, the Log Comment window will open. Enter a change number, comment, then “OK”.
As always desired in Cobra, the coveted green checkmark should appear, as shown in Figure 11 below.
Once the Replan process successfully completes, one can run the IPMR CPR Format 1 report and based on the settings chosen in this example, should see a report that is similar to the one below. The current period reflects all the necessary adjustments to BCWs and BCWP to have them equal ACWP. The cumulative to date values will reflect no cost and schedule variances.
The net result of the Replan is all work packages that had any planning or activity up to the status date are now retitled and closed. All cost and schedule variances are now zero. All budget and forecast values beyond the status date are preserved, with the understanding that they will be updated to reflect the latest planning.
It will be important to update any work package coding for the import of actuals. Often, the charge number is assigned as a work package code and it was suggested that new charge numbers be used for all remaining effort. When actuals are now imported into Cobra, the charge number will only reflect costs after the replan date.
It is recommended that the Actual Costs that were the basis of the replan be reclassed into a new “Actual” cost class to prevent Cobra from zeroing out unreferenced Actuals (see Figure 13 below). This new cost class can then be selected for exclusion. This only applies where cumulative to date actuals are imported, which is strongly recommended.
Lots of options and even more unintentional pitfalls with the Replan process. Ten Six can help work through these issues with you if you need help.
Again, the Cobra Replan process is grossly over used. Variances are part and parcel of project execution. Unless the project baseline has become irrelevant due to a significant change in scope or method of execution, it is often best to understand and accept past challenges (AKA variances) to cost and schedule and move ahead.