July 29, 2014
Many systems today say they include cost/schedule integration, but in reality they only validate the integration once an internal or external audit is performed. One of the first requirements an auditing entity will impose is for the program to empirically prove that their program has an integrated cost/schedule. Auditors view data from both systems and trace the information in an attempt to ensure data integration and alignment. If discrepancies are found, auditing may expand to other programs to determine if the issues are systemic, wherein the system/processes may have to be addressed throughout the enterprise.
IPM has a unique approach to facilitating Cost/Schedule integration: every detailed line of the Integrated Master schedule (IMS) is linked to a cost system package/milestone, and conversely every package/milestone in the cost system must be linked to a schedule item. Any breaks in this integration logic must be accompanied by an exemption code that explains the rationale behind the break
Proven Integration Compliance
IPM’s Integration Compliance Module is 34 separate integration checks of the cost and schedule data. While the review of the IPM Integration Compliance Module is imperative during baseline validation, it is equally important to ensure validation and alignment during other steps within the monthly business cycle (e.g. after baseline change requests (BCR) are implemented and before month end earned value deliveries).
The IPM Integration, Alignment & Validation Report is an Excel based file that can be used off line to not only show all the same aspects of integration found on the Compliance tab, but also includes a “Data Layout” sheet showing how each WBS in the cost system relates to the schedule. This report is often times provided to auditors as it shows that the program understands their cost/schedule interfaces and has processes built to monitor and “prove” it.
With any system that employs multiple tools for schedule and cost it is very import to understand if the cost schedule integration is valid and “proven”. Also because both the schedule tool (Microsoft Project) and the cost system (MPM, Cobra, IPM Cost) can be modified manually, mistakes or updates may be made in one system and not communicated to the other. IPM provides the necessary validation to ensure that the integration is rechecked, reviewed and addressed no matter how the individual tools are managed.