Validation of Project Time Decision-support Tools and Processes

  • Steven W. McCrary (Missouri State University)
  • David A. Leslie (BBC Engineering)
  • Freddy L. Roberts (Louisiana Tech University)
  • Melvin R. Corley (Louisiana Tech University)


The prediction or estimation of project time is a problem faced throughout the project management industry, from computer software development projects to large commercial building projects. For example, Stamelos, Angelis, Morisio, Sakellaris, and Bleris (2003) document that software development projects suffer from schedule overruns caused by insufficient initial time estimates. Chan and Chan (2004) document the need to benchmark construction time estimation and performance for housing projects. Various tools exist to estimate and/or predict project time or duration, including highly-valued scheduling software (Besner & Hobbs, 2006). However, the greatest single deterrent to reliable project time estimates is uncertainty. To date, capturing the uncertainty of a project relies heavily on the knowledge and experience of the estimator, and on ad hoc and subjective techniques, leaving the estimate with a great deal of "bias," factors that unduly increase project estimates. These estimates often include omissions, errors, overconfidence in estimates, or a general failure to recognize special-cause events (Leach, 2003). In addition, one project time estimator may derive a project time completely different from another estimator; however both estimators may have sound logic for the project times derived. Attempts to remedy these problems include various techniques, including resource-constrained schedules, stochastic methods, Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), Monte Carlo simulation, and sensitivity analysis (Herroelen & Leus, 2005). However, these methods have not proven satisfactory in industry, and their potential for doing so is perceived as being very low (Besner & Hobbs, 2006). Leach (2003) documents the need for improved systems that provide reliable and repeatable project times.

Keywords: construction|information technology|management|project management|research

How to Cite:

McCrary, S. W. & Leslie, D. A. & Roberts, F. L. & Corley, M. R., (2007) “Validation of Project Time Decision-support Tools and Processes”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 23(2).

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Published on
01 Apr 2007