About a year ago I was asked by a firm of insurance loss adjusters to investigate the possibility of reducing the anticipated overrun caused by an explosion at a power station. Based on previous experience of similar problems, I asked the contractors (a firm of international design and build constructors) to let me examine the critical path network which formed the basis of the computer-generated bar charts previously sent to the loss adjusters. My objective was to see whether the original sequence of construction activities could be rescheduled to mitigate the inevitable delays caused by long lead times of replacements and in some cases redesign of the damaged components.
To my dismay, I discovered that there was no network. The planners inputted the data straight into the computer, based on very detailed established modular packages. These packages contained the sequences, interrelationships and durations of the constituent activities. It is a fact that most commercial computer programs recommend such a procedure.
The planner can then see the program on the screen in bar chart form as he/she proceeds, but will only obtain a network printout (in precedence format) after the data has been processed. In other words the network has become virtually redundant as it has not been used to develop the structure of the project before the data was inputted.