Pretty often works on a project don’t go as planned and delays are encountered. Delays basically shift the finish milestone to a point later in time than desired. It simply means the project is no longer on the desired track, or is not following the same trajectory as initially envisioned. In such cases a set of corrective actions are determined together with their manner of implementation. This is what is generally called a Recovery Schedule.
In order to make a realistic and effective recovery schedule, the source of the problem must first be identified. The next step is coming up with a solution to counter and reverse the negative trend. The Recovery Schedule should demonstrate how it is intended to bring the project back on track by recovering the delay. This can be achieved by either one or a combination or all of the following; increasing working hours, or increasing working shifts, or increasing resources, or having multiple crews working simultaneously at different tasks to finish the job faster. A reasonable time period should be allocated for the corrective actions to start showing noticeable results.
All the analysis and reasoning in coming up with a recovery schedule is documented. Of course periodic checks are required to monitor progress and compare the trend of the lag with plan during implementation of recovery efforts. If the corrective actions are succeeding the gap between planned and actual progress starts closing eventually the project will come back to the baseline or required trajectory. Otherwise the whole exercise needs to be repeated.
Remember, there is no one size fits all solution as each project is different. Here are some usual steps to formulate a recovery schedule.
1. Identify the problem areas. Determine what is primarily going wrong. Is it a particular resource or set of resources which is working below expected average? Is it a particular task or set of tasks which is taking longer than expected? Has there been a change in sequence of works and now nobody is prepared well enough to keep the works going? There could be a number of reasons which need to be identified.
2. After successful completion of Step-1 the rest of the job becomes much easier. Now that you know the problem you would be able to come up with a solution.
3. Once the solution is arrived at all that remains is the implementation. This needs planning. No changes will happen overnight. Mobilization of additional resources needs time, negotiation, coordination. Increasing the productivity needs cycle analysis, training, monitoring. In short, everything will have a curve to follow.
Make a copy of the current working schedule (current schedule update).
Implement the determined solution(s) over the remaining portion of the work. This will include incorporating schedule changes, e.g. modifying durations, re-sequencing, simultaneous performance, etc.
Increase work accomplishment logically and in a reasonable manner.
Assign the reference schedule as baseline and study projected recovery over a period of time.
Conduct iterations as required till an acceptable schedule is formulated.
The progress in accordance with corrective actions needs to be monitored closely, preferably by making separate, more detailed sub-schedules to augment the recovery schedule.
Constant monitoring and pro-active decision making should help achieve desired results.