Survey Shows Widespread Use of Critical Path Method Software in Construction Industry

More than two-thirds of construction professionals responding to a recently completed WPL Publishing survey reported that they have used Critical Path Method (CPM) software for more than a decade, indicating widespread, long-term experience with the technology within the industry.

Of 412 respondents indicating their experience -- or non-experience -- with CPM software, only 8.7 percent of them reported that they have not used CPM software. An even smaller share (2.7 percent) disclosed that they have used the software for less than a year. About one in five respondents informed WPL that they have either 1-5 years of experience (9.2 percent) or 6-10 years of experience (11.4 percent).

Surveyed professionals gave a wide variety of reasons about why they use CPM software. Such reasons include meeting owner requirements for measuring payments and reporting progress as well as meeting the requirements of general contractors and construction managers.

These are just a few of dozens of results tallied from the survey responses. WPL also collected responses to a slew of other questions that the independent survey asked, including the following:

  • In the past three years, what types of contracts have required your involvement in CPM scheduling software or output (i.e., Primavera, Microsoft Project, or something similar)?
  • If you have hands-on experience with CPM or other scheduling software, what software have you used?
  • How do you do planning and scheduling if CPM software scheduling is not used?
  • What are your top three “wish-list” items for construction scheduling software?

“Our first scheduling software survey sheds some light on widely published anecdotal comments concerning the usefulness and quality of CPM scheduling in the construction industry,” WPL Publisher Paul Levin said. “What jumps out as the underlying issues is a mismatch of the functionality of the software used, often too sophisticated, versus the skills of those using the software. This is evidenced by the fact that only 27 percent of users consider themselves to be scheduling professionals. The other mismatch is that CPM software, and sometimes specific brands and versions, is being used because of a contract requirement and not because the contractor wants to use it for project planning and management. CPM software in the hands of a skilled user is key to success for complex EPC contracts, but more work is necessary to find the right mix of software features, user skill requirements and project necessity before CPM can realize its full promise as a workable tool for most users engaged in managing projects.”

WPL conducted the survey between Sept. 17 and Oct. 14, gathering key information about the use of construction scheduling software from project managers, construction managers, schedulers, consultants and various other professionals from within the industry.

WPL intends to release a report presenting more detailed information from the survey responses later this month.
 

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