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Steve and Amanda – Dealing With Schedules and Projects

Meet the author:

Tal Levanon – Founder and partner in “Tal Levanon – HCP Ltd”, an expert project scheduling consultant and creator of the Hidden Critical Paths (HCP).

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Steve got a project and a schedule for this project. He deals with some issues, so he calls Amanda for help. 
Want to learn how Amanda helped him with his problems in his project? Come check the next video:


“Hey, Amanda!

I have a new project and a schedule for this project in MS Project!”

“That’s great, Steve! How is it going?”

“There are lots of tasks that need to be done.
I start the morning with 5 known tasks, and two hours later I have to deal with 5 new “fires” I need to extinguish.
I don’t know why, but it always feels like I’m losing control over my project.
I feel like I’m missing something hidden inside those hundreds upon hundreds of task lines in the schedule.

Am I the only one feeling like this or do you feel like that in your project’s too?”

“You are not alone, Steve!
In a project, there are a lot of hidden critical issues, much like an iceberg, where eight ninths of it is hidden under water.

Did you hear about the HCP method? It helps me gain control over my projects and their schedules.
The power of the HCP method is that its unique algorithmic approach reveals those hidden issues ahead of time, before they occur – so I can deal with them as early as possible!

What is the HCP method?

HCP stands for Hidden Critical Paths. You can analyze your project with HCP’s Software-as-a-Service, by installing the HCP-Go to your MS Project, and analyze your schedule immediately.

In a few clicks you will know:

If there are any schedule Integrity Issues in the schedule – that the software accepts but reality does not. 
Some can be found manually. For example, tasks without successors.
But there are things that can only be found when searching for paths, for example, a subsequent activity that precedes its previous activity…

The great advantage of HCP-Go – not only does it detect if faults exist, it also maps them – and writes a list of activities that need to be fixed and what needs to be fixed.

This allows me to fine-tune my schedule and reach a reality-matched work plan!

So, what causes those malfunctions?

That can be one of two options:

(1) Human errors, which are quite obvious to occur, especially in schedules with hundreds of activities. They are also easy to fix.

(2) The other mistakes, they don’t “just” happen. There is a reason for each ‘glitch’ – and one should ask:

  • What made you write like that?
  • What made you think that?

The answers to these questions are fascinating and reveal differences in viewpoints between different parties involved in the project.”

“Do you really need to do that? Isn’t that a lot of work?
Maybe the problems will disappear alone? By themselves?”

“You’re right. It is some work, but it is worth it, since the problems never disappear.

They just get bigger and bigger…”

“What else can the HCP-Go do?”

“The second thing the HCP-Go does is – Mapping Project Paths and making a Project Histogram. For each path – it’s duration and duration slack is calculated.”

“What is the Duration Slack per path?”

The path’s duration slack (DS) is the difference in work days between the longest path in the network and the path’s duration. In the histogram you can see how many paths are there in your schedule per each duration slack.”

“Can you learn something from this histogram?”

“You’ll be surprised! If the histogram looks like a Gaussian curve – also called a bell curve or a normal curve or the beginning of it – this means that this is a good project!

It is not simple to execute, but it has a good chance of ending as planned! But, If it looks like EKG test results – then this is NOT good for your project…”

“Really? Does the HCP-Go have something more or that’s it?”

“I feel like an HCP agent here, I should charge them…

The fact is, there is one more interesting thing with the HCP-Go. It gives you a Project Success Expectation Map.”

“What is that? The HCP-Go predicts if the project will be a success or not?”

“Actually – yes. The HCP-Go gives an assessment of the extent of the project’s success – it’s likelihood of meeting deadlines, content execution and budget.”

“What? How do they do that?”

“Everything from mapping the schedule by paths, the HCP score and some more parameters. The most interesting part is that when I see my project’s Success Expectation Map – it shows what I feel about the project, but I couldn’t prove until now.

The best part is that it is so easy to understand. See for example, the map I received for one of my projects last month – this one is bad. I needed to dive deep into this project in order to save it. We made changes in the project in many ways, such as changing priorities, changing the order of tasks, deleting some, re-thinking about others, and this month, this is the map we got!”

“Really? Can I do it too?”

“Simple. Just download the HCP-Go to your MS Project – and click – Go – Run Analysis. Choose how you want to analyze – ….and voulla!”

Do you want to analyze your schedule too and learn about your schedule Integrity Issues, your paths’ histogram and your Project Success Expectation Map?

Go to www.hcp-consulting.com, download the HCP-Go, then click on “Go”

and “Run- Analysis”.

You can read about it on the site, in the ‘Body of Knowledge’ tab.

No one will reveal new details about your schedule?
Hmmm… 🤔

If you want to test that, try HCP-Go

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