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Excel app for communicating project schedules 31 Jan 2019

GraphicSchedule Inc News Release

Construction schedules are difficult to read and understand, often containing thousands of detailed activities printed on dozens of pages. GraphicSchedule is working to change that by providing an Excel application that makes it easy for construction teams to communicate schedules on a single page.

Fig 1. Example of a linear schedule for a CSO project
Fig 1. Example of a linear schedule for a CSO project

“We believe that people who work on projects want to know what is in the 70-page schedule with 3,000+ activities, but our industry lacks the tools to communicate that information in a way that the entire team can understand,” said GraphicSchedule Co-Founder James Wonneberg.

GraphicSchedule runs in Excel and plots shapes by time and location to graphically depict how a project will be constructed. Popular formats include linear schedules (Fig 1), time-chainage diagrams, and bar charts (Fig 2). These 1-page graphics can be linked to data from other scheduling tools such as Primavera P6 or Microsoft Project, for rapid updates whenever things change. The app is used by contractors, engineering firms and project owners seeking a better way to communicate their projects.

“Our goal is to empower teams to see the big picture, communicate more effectively, and deliver winning projects,” said Wonneberg. “We built GraphicSchedule because we needed a better way to tell the story of our own projects, and we did not want to fuss with hand-drawn graphics.” As told in the origin story on the company’s website, the idea started as a spreadsheet created to illustrate the baseline schedule for the DC Water Blue Plains Tunnel project in Washington DC, and was developed into an Excel application several years later.

Fig 2. Example for a major capital improvement program
Fig 2. Example for a major capital improvement program

“We use our app in the delivery of underground construction projects every day,” said Drake.

Wonneberg also supports the Washington State Department of Transportation as the client on the SR99 Alaskan Way viaduct replacement tunnel project in Seattle. Co-Founder Ron Drake is advising the LA Metro client teams on the Regional Connector project in Los Angeles and serves as Program Manager for the inter-lake tunnel project in Monterey County, California.

“Now we are hearing from engineers across the industry who are facing similar challenges communicating lengthy schedules or are tired of drawing linear schedules by hand,” added Drake.

Fig 3. Upgrade offers greater user flexibility
Fig 3. Upgrade offers greater user flexibility

“We are also seeing contractors and engineering firms using GraphicSchedule to develop bids and proposals, which is exciting,” said Wonneberg. “The decisions made during the early stages of new projects often have the greatest impact on the end result, so getting everyone on the same page early on is key to success.”

In its latest version GraphicSchedule offers greater flexibility by including the ability to create linear schedules and time chainage diagrams with time plotted horizontally or vertically, enhanced bar chart functionality, improved formatting controls, and date and time capability for increased precision (Fig 3).

Wonneberg and Drake also frequently give presentations to project teams, public agencies, professional organizations and universities to help educate the industry about how these methods can help teams deliver better projects.

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