Project urgency



CE Lummus, Holland

Existing project management information systems provide an abundance of data from which one can pinpoint the progress and status of a project, forecast the completion date, deduce causes of deviations from original schedules, generate venues for rectifying deviations, and obtain other information crucial to the effective management of a project.

Unfortunately, the analysis of such information is time consuming, and time is a precious commodity in the management and execution of projects. Significant time in analyzing the output of project management information systems can be saved, however, by calculating a measure of “Project Urgency”. Because this measure is the result of extracting and combining pertinent data from a project management information system, it will, when presented to project management, indicate deviations from original planning and whether corrective action is required.

Project Urgency Defined

Project Urgency, in this case, is defined as a function of planned and actual project status. It is formulated as:


Project Status

The status of a project is determined by:

1) the amount of work (= W) remaining to be done and

2) the amount of working time (= A) available to do it in


Amount of Work

The remaining amount of work in a project is the summation of the amount of work contained in each of the project’s remaining activities.


Amount of Available Working Time

The amount of available working time is not the project’s remaining duration. It is the summation of the durations of all remaining activities PLUS the summation of the float of all remaining activities divided by the number of remaining activities:







For the 13 checkpoints of the schedule shown on Figure 1, the Planned Project Status is:


If the project is executed according to the original planning the PU will be 1 (one) at all times.

Let us now assume that at point 9 activity 4 has not been completed, but will complete at the end of week 38, thereby consuming its float.


If on the other hand at point 10 it was expected that activity 9 would be completed 4 weeks earlier thereby increasing its float to 7 weeks,


If the PU is plotted during the course of a project’s duration it will add a meaningful dimension to any Project Management Information System.





In the above presentation the Project Urgency concept has been defined and its application illustrated.

Of course, this presentation has not purported to provide an operational Project Urgency system.

However, if one is using a manual or computerized scheduling system which permits resources, costs or weighted values to be assigned to activities, one could readily handcalculate, or develop a computer program for calculating Project Urgencies.

Why not try it?



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