W03_SJP_Scoring model to analyze a Baseline Schedule vs GAO requirements

Issue Identification and Appraisal

Having worked many years as a Client’s Project Controls representative, one of the tasks regularly performed was reviewing Contractor’s schedule submittals. In the past two decades, it’s noticeable that there has been a steady decline in the quality of the schedules submitted despite the increasing sophistication of planning and scheduling tools. There are several guidelines published to assist both schedule developers and reviewers regarding ‘Best Practices’;

  • DCMA Generally accepted scheduling practices.
  • GAO Schedule assessment guide.
  • NDIA Planning and scheduling excellence guide.

For the purposes of this Blog, I have selected to use the GAO Schedule assessment guide, with this week’s topic being “What scoring model should be used to develop a GAO checklist to analyze contractors schedules?”

Feasible Alternatives

Online research guided me to two articles written by the same author D.A. Zimmer PMP regarding the uses of the powerful but flexible ‘weighted scoring method’. A method he concluded that required three scoring methods to provide credible results.

Another method is to develop a checklist of the GAO criteria using predetermined quantitative criteria to provide a Pass/Fail answer.

Develop the Outcomes for each

The table below shows that there are benefits for both alternatives, however there are limitations to the Pass/Fail checklist with regards the results provided. Both alternatives can advise the analyst that the schedule being reviewed is good or bad, but the weighted scoring method could provide a better indication of the schedule risk index.

Table 1 : Benefits of each alternative

Selection Criteria

The six criteria items listed in Table 1 were used as the criteria for the analysis.

Analysis and Comparison of the Alternatives

A priority scale was first allocated to the criteria to determine the importance of the item – low importance (1) / important (3) / essential (5). Against the criteria a ‘Meeting requirement’ score based on the comments on Table 1 was applied – Did not Meet (0) / Partially Met (2) / Met Requirements (4) / Exceeded Requirements (6) – scoring range 0 to 36 dependent on requirements met.

Final results were achieved by determining the ‘Weighted score’  by multiplying the ‘Score’ by the ‘Priority Scale’.

Table 2 Analysis results of Alternatives

Selection of Preferred Alternative

Review of the analysis results concludes that the ‘Weighted Scoring Method’ to be the preferred alternative.

Monitoring Post Evaluation Performance

The next step will be to apply the ‘Weighted Scoring method’ to develop a model using the criteria from the GAO’s Appendix VI “Standard Quantitative Measurements for Assessing Schedule Health”, Table 11 checklist items to measure the quality of a contractor’s baseline proposal submission.

Ensuring that all the GAO requirements for reviewing a baseline submission are incorporated into the model, and determine if there are any areas that cannot be included, in which case there needs to be a re-assessment of the preferred choice.

There are ‘off-the-shelf’ professional schedule analysis software packages (e.g. Deltek Fuse, Schedule Analyzer, XER Toolkit, Zummer, etc.,) that can perform these tasks instantaneously providing detailed analysis report. The choice of which package to use will be a subject for a future Blog.


  • GAO (United States Governance Accountability Office), 2015, GAO-16-89G Schedule Assessment Guide
  • NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association), 2016, Planning & Scheduling Excellence Guide (PASEG), Version 3.0
  • DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency), Date unknown, Generally Accepted Scheduling Practices (GASP).
  • Zimmer PMP, David. A, American Group, (2011, January), A. E. (n.d.). What is the Weighted Scoring Method? Retrieved June 10, 2017, from http://terms.ameagle.com/2011/01/david.html
  • Zimmer PMP, David. A, American Group, and View profile. “Plugging The Holes In The Weighted Scoring Model”. ameagle.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 10 June 2017.

One Reply to “W03_SJP_Scoring model to analyze a Baseline Schedule vs GAO requirements”

  1. AWESOME, Steve!!!! You’ve got it……. NOW what you MAY want to consider doing is to take this same topic and this time refine the model?

    Go to the GAO’s BPiS, Table 2, page 153. Now that you’ve decided on a weighted scoring model (EXCELLENT CHOICE, BTW) the next question or challenge becomes “how to develop a scoring model for this specific application” based on the ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA shown in Table 2.

    And when you are done, you will have a really interesting scoring model (real life tool!!) that you can apply to a SAMPLE SCHEDULE, giving you a chance to VALIDATE your analysis tool. Depending on your WORD COUNT and how much detail you go into, it may even extend to your W5 blog posting.

    From that point on, all you need to do is pick a real life schedule and analyze is, and using Appendix 1 and Appendix 3, you will make some recommendations/requirements to the contractor to FIX his/her schedule so it is acceptable to you and your first paper should be DONE.

    Simple as that…. Keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing your W4 blog posting.

    Dr. PDG, Boston


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