Planning and controlling projects through Microsoft Project schedules that use precedence diagramming method and critical path method for all of your major initiatives is itself a major accomplishment that proves that your organization is maturing in its project management practice. However, a purely deterministic scheduling approach tends to yield schedules that represent best-case scenarios. Overruns are still the norm. So how do you build lean schedules that encourage high-performance and that are achievable time and time again?

In a presentation from the Microsoft Project Conference 2012 conference I explored the limitations of universally adopted planning processes. My recommendation is to consider pushing beyond them by leveraging simple yet powerful probabilistic and stochastic scheduling approaches to performance-tune your scheduling methods. I’ve written a Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) macro for Microsoft Project 2010 that’s a self-documented text file that easily becomes a powerful Project macro add-in. As a two-step process, the PERT macro first supports simple PERT and more advanced project duration estimating techniques that help you to develop a mean-based performance baseline.

Performance Tuning Your Scheduling Practices

The PERT macro then applies standard distribution theories to help you forecast the probability of completing a project within given target duration objectives. It will help you determine necessary project contingency as you negotiate with your project sponsor the right balance between risk and reliability.

Performance Tuning Your Scheduling Practices