The 14 points of the DCMA
Logic: Ensuring that all incomplete activities have valid predecessors and successors to maintain a logical sequence of work.
Leads: Verifying that there are no unjustified leads (negative lags) in the schedule, as they can create artificial constraints and disrupt the project’s logical flow.
Lags: Checking for excessive lags between activities, which can lead to inefficiencies and reduce schedule flexibility.
Relationship Types: Ensuring that the majority of relationships between activities are Finish-to-Start (FS) to promote a clear and logical sequence of work.
Hard Constraints: Identifying and justifying the use of hard constraints, such as “Start No Earlier Than” or “Finish No Later Than,” as they can limit schedule flexibility.
High Float: Investigating activities with unusually high float values, as they may indicate issues with the schedule’s logic or structure.
Negative Float: Identifying activities with negative float, which indicates that they are behind schedule and may impact the project’s completion date.
High Duration: Assessing activities with long durations to ensure they are appropriately decomposed and manageable.
Invalid Dates: Verifying that there are no activities with planned start or finish dates in the past for incomplete activities or in the future for completed activities.
Resources: Ensuring that resources are appropriately allocated and leveled to prevent over- or under-utilization.
Missed Tasks: Identifying activities that should have started or finished but have not, which may indicate potential schedule delays.
Critical Path Test: Confirming that the critical path is valid and accurately reflects the project’s longest sequence of activities.
Critical Path Length Index (CPLI): Calculating the CPLI to assess the efficiency and flexibility of the schedule. A CPLI value of 1.0 or greater indicates a healthy schedule.
Baseline Execution Index (BEI): Calculating the BEI to measure the project’s progress against the baseline plan. A BEI value of 1.0 or greater indicates that the project is on track.
By conducting a DCMA analysis, project managers can evaluate the quality and robustness of their schedules, identify potential issues, and implement corrective actions to improve schedule performance and reduce the risk of project delays. Although the DCMA 14-Point Assessment was initially developed for defense projects, its principles and best practices are widely applicable to various industries and projects.