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Why AI Will Become the Norm in Planning and Scheduling Tools

Planning, Scheduling & Risk

By Dr. Dan Patterson
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Two years ago, the term artificial intelligence (AI) was pretty much unheard of on capital projects. Today, it’s almost impossible not to hear about how it’s going to change the way we work. A bold prediction for sure, but is it really that groundbreaking? In the field of planning and specifically scheduling, the answer is yes, and it’s already happening.

For the past three decades, the science of project scheduling hasn’t fundamentally changed. Yes, the tools have gotten faster with more bells and whistles, but the underpinnings of how a project is scheduled still relies on the tried and tested critical path method (CPM). While CPM is highly effective at calculating when a project is going to finish, the calculation is entirely dependent on the planner building the schedule. The planner must be able to accurately forecast the durations that go into the CPM model as well as model the sequence of work (typically known as logic).

“AI can help us establish a defendable schedule based on sound, historical knowledge”

However, get these durations and sequences of work wrong, and your schedule is basically worthless. With the advent of AI, scheduling tools can capture prior project performance, as built-schedules and lessons learned. Then, they can apply historical trends and make suggestions to the planner during the plan-building process. Instead of starting with a blank sheet of paper every time we build a plan. AI can help us establish a defendable schedule based on sound, historical knowledge. That’s not just an incremental step forward – it’s a huge lead for the planning industry.

AI is transforming the way project plans are developed. For the first time, the software tools are proactively augmenting the planning process, guiding the planner with smart suggestions and ensuring that we end up with a more realistic and achievable plan. AI is here to stay.

To learn more about InEight’s planning, scheduling and risk solutions, visit InEight.com.

 

Originally published in Construction Executive, <May, 2019>

About the Author

Dr. Dan Patterson

Dr. Dan Patterson is chief design officer with InEight. In this role, he focuses on expanding upon his vision of creating next-generation planning and scheduling software solutions for the construction industry. Dan is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI).