IMPish Grin — The Connection for Technical Measures (and everything else)

Glen Alleman at his Herding Cats blog has posted his presentation on the manner of integrating technical performance measures in a cohesive and logical manner with project schedule and cost measurement.  Many in the DoD and A&D-focused project community are aware of the work of many of us in this area (my own paper is posted on the College of Performance Management library page here) but the work of Alleman, Coonce, and Price take these concepts a step further.  I wrote an earlier post about the white paper but the presentation demonstrates clearly the flow of logic in constructing not only a model in which technical performance is incorporated into the project plan through measures of effectiveness that are derived from the statement of work, but then makes the connection to measures of progress and measures of performance, clearly outlining the proper integration of the core elements of project planning, execution, and control.

The key artifact that ties the essential elements together: cost, schedule, and technical performance; is the Integrated Master Plan (IMP).  The National Defense Industrial Association Integrated Program Management Division’s (NDIA IPMD) Planning and Scheduling Excellence Guide (PASEG) (link broken) seems to forget this essential step–the artifact that is necessary to allow for the construction of a valid Integrated Master Schedule (IMS).  I think part of the reason for the omission is the mistaken belief that this is an unnecessary artifact–that it is a “nice to have” if the program sponsor remembers to put it in the contact deliverables.  This makes its construction negotiable and vulnerable as a discretionary cost item, which it clearly is not–or, at least, should not be.  Even the Wikipedia entry is confused by the classification of the IMP, characterizing it first as primarily a DoD-specific artifact, a contractual artifact, and–oh, by the way–a necessary step in civic and urban planning (also known as construction project management).  The PASEG does mention summary schedules and perhaps in those rare cases, based on the work being performed and the contract type, some stripped down kind of IMP will do, but regardless of what it is called (and IMP still serves as a good shorthand) then the ability to trace measures of effectiveness to measures of progress is still needed in complex project management.

Thus the IMP is this: it is the fulcrum of integrated project management.  When tying the measures of effectiveness to specific tasks related to the WBS, it is the IMP that provides the roadmap to the working, day-to-day tools that will be used to measure progress–cost, schedule, and technical achievement and assessment against plan, all informed by risk.  For those of us in the technology community, continuing to sell discrete, swim-lane focused apps that do not support this construction are badly out of date.

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