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What is the S-Curve, and how do calculate the work


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Mon, 2011-03-28 13:59

Mai Tawfeq For all planners are keep asking about S-Curve

Offline the Artical has been written By: David Garland

Joined: 4 Mar 2010 Introduction


Posts: 96
Groups: Civil The first time most project managers become aware of the existence of S-curves is when
Engineering, Women
in Planning & they are requested by the client or senior management to include one in their next
Scheduling (WiPS) progress report. The following explains what the mysterious S-curve is, why it is an
important project management tool, and how to generate one.

Editor's Note:

The S-curve is a powerful project management control tool. Why it is the shape it is, how
to use it and "Max's Rule of Thumb" for drawing it as a part of the project planning
activity are all described in Chapter 10 of A Management Framework for Project,
Program and Portfolio Integration. You can also find more information on this web
site by entering "S-curve" or "Resource loading" into the site search engine field.

What is an S-curve?
An S-curve is defined as:

"A display of cumulative costs, labor hours or other quantities plotted against time. The
name derives from the S-like shape of the curve, flatter at the beginning and end and
steeper in the middle, which is typical of most projects. The beginning represents a slow,
deliberate but accelerating start, while the end represents a deceleration as the work runs
out."[1]

Types of S-curves
There are a variety of S-curves that are applicable to project management applications,
including:

Man Hours versus Time S-curve


Costs versus Time S-curve
Baseline S-curve
Actual S-curve

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Target S-curve
Value and Percentage S-curves

Each of these is described in the following pages.

Resource Consumption
Man Hours versus Time S-curve
The Man Hours versus Time S-curve is appropriate for projects that are labor intensive. It
shows cumulative man hours expended over time for the duration of the project. As man-
hours are a product of manpower and working hours, these may be adjusted together or
individually in an attempt to keep the project on schedule. Projects may require additional
man-hours to finish on time due to low productivity, delays and disruptions, rework,
variations, etc.

By: David Garland

What is the S-Curve, and how do calculate the work progress..

Introduction

The first time most project managers become aware of the existence of S-curves is when
they are requested by the client or senior management to include one in their next
progress report. The following explains what the mysterious S-curve is, why it is an
important project management tool, and how to generate one.

Editor's Note:

The S-curve is a powerful project management control tool. Why it is the shape it is, how
to use it and "Max's Rule of Thumb" for drawing it as a part of the project planning
activity are all described in Chapter 10 of A Management Framework for Project,
Program and Portfolio Integration. You can also find more information on this web
site by entering "S-curve" or "Resource loading" into the site search engine field.

What is an S-curve?
An S-curve is defined as:

"A display of cumulative costs, labor hours or other quantities plotted against time. The
name derives from the S-like shape of the curve, flatter at the beginning and end and
steeper in the middle, which is typical of most projects. The beginning represents a slow,
deliberate but accelerating start, while the end represents a deceleration as the work runs
out."[1]

Types of S-curves
There are a variety of S-curves that are applicable to project management applications,
including:

Man Hours versus Time S-curve


Costs versus Time S-curve
Baseline S-curve

2 of 23 9/9/2018, 10:20 AM
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Actual S-curve
Target S-curve
Value and Percentage S-curves

Each of these is described in the following pages.

Resource Consumption
Man Hours versus Time S-curve
The Man Hours versus Time S-curve is appropriate for projects that are labor intensive. It
shows cumulative man hours expended over time for the duration of the project. As man-
hours are a product of manpower and working hours, these may be adjusted together or
individually in an attempt to keep the project on schedule. Projects may require additional
man-hours to finish on time due to low productivity, delays and disruptions, rework,
variations, etc.

Figure 1: Man Hours versus Time S-curve


Costs versus Time S-curve
The Costs versus Time S-curve is appropriate for projects that contain labor and non-
labor (e.g. material supply / hire / subcontract) tasks. It shows cumulative costs
expended over time for the duration of the project, and may be used to assist in the
calculation of the project's cash flow, and cost to complete.

Figure 2: Costs versus Time S-curve


Progress Tracking
Baseline S-curve
Prior to project commencement, a schedule is prepared outlining the proposed allocation
of resources and the timing of tasks necessary to complete the project within a set time
frame and budget. This schedule is referred to as the Baseline Schedule. From this
schedule, a Baseline S-curve is generated. This S-curve reflects the planned progress of
the project. If the project requirements change prior to commencement (e.g. change of
scope, delayed start), the Baseline Schedule may require revision to reflect the changed
requirements.

Figure 3: Baseline S-curve


Target S-curve
Following project commencement, modification of the Baseline Schedule is usually
required. Changes are continually made to the Production Schedule (which is originally
the same as the Baseline Schedule). The production schedule reflects the actual progress
of the project to date, and any revisions made to tasks yet to commence or not yet
completed. From this schedule, a Target S-curve may be generated. This S-curve reflects

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the ideal progress of the project if all tasks are completed as currently scheduled. In an
ideal world, the Target S-curve will meet the Baseline S-curve at the end of the project
(On Time, On Budget) or finish below and to the left of the Baseline S-curve (Early, Under
Budget). In reality, it is not uncommon for the Target S-curve to finish above and to the
right of the Baseline S-curve (Late, Over Budget).

Figure 4: Target S-curve


Actual S-curve
The production schedule is updated on a regular basis throughout the duration of the
project. These updates include the revision of percentage complete for each task to date.
Using this information, an Actual S-curve may be generated. This S-curve reflects the
actual progress of the project to date, and may be compared with the Baseline and
Target S-curves to determine how the project is progressing. During the project, the
Actual S-curve will terminate at the Cut Off Date. This is the date the Production Schedule
was last updated. At the completion of the project, the Actual S-curve will meet the
Target S-curve.

Figure 5: Actual S-curve


Value and Percentage S-curves
S-curves may be graphed as absolute values (i.e. Man Hours or Costs) versus Time, or as
percentage values versus Time. Value S-curves are useful for determining Man Hours or
Costs expended to date, and Man Hours or Costs to complete. Percentage S-curves are
useful for calculating the project's actual percentage complete against target and baseline
percentage complete, and for calculating the project's percentage growth (or
contraction).

Using S-curves
Why Use an S-curve?
S-curves are an important project management tool. They allow the progress of a project
to be tracked visually over time, and form a historical record of what has happened to
date. Analyses of S-curves allow project managers to quickly identify project growth,
slippage, and potential problems that could adversely impact the project if no remedial
action is taken.

Determining Growth
Comparison of the Baseline and Target S-curves quickly reveals if the project has grown
(Target S-curve finishes above Baseline S-curve) or contracted (Target S-curve finishes
below Baseline S-curve) in scope. A change in the project's scopes implies a re-allocation
of resources (increase or decrease), and the very possible requirement to raise contract
variations. If the resources are fixed, then the duration of the project will increase (finish
later) or decrease (finish earlier), possibly leading to the need to submit an extension of
time claim.

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Figure 6: Calculating Project Growth using S-curves


Determining Slippage
Slippage is defined as:

"The amount of time a task has been delayed from its original baseline schedule. The
slippage is the difference between the scheduled start or finish date for a task and the
baseline start or finish date. Slippage can occur when a baseline plan is set and the actual
dates subsequently entered for tasks are later than the baseline dates or the actual
durations are longer than the baseline schedule durations".[2]

Comparison of the Baseline S-curve and Target S-curve quickly reveals any project
slippage (i.e. the Target S-curve finishes to the right of the Baseline S-curve). Additional
resources will need to be allocated or additional hours worked in order to eliminate (or at
least reduce) the slippage. An extension of time claim may need to be submitted if the
slippage cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.

Figure 7: Calculating Project Slippage using S-curves


Determining Progress
Comparison of the Target S-curve and Actual S-curve reveals the progress of the project
over time. In most cases, the Actual S-curve will sit below the Target S-curve for the
majority of the project (due to many factors, including delays in updating the production
schedule). Only towards the end of the project will the curves converge and finally meet.
The Actual S-curve can never finish above the Target S-curve. If the Actual S-curve sits
above the Target S-curve at the Cut Off Date, the Production Schedule should be
examined to determine if the project is truly ahead of schedule, or if the Production
Schedule contains unrealistic percentage complete values for ongoing tasks.

Figure 8: Calculating Project Progress using S-curves


Generating S-curves
Project Benchmarks
Percentage S-curves may be used to calculate important project benchmarks on an
ongoing basis, including:

Project percentage growth (Target and Baseline S-curves)


Project percentage slippage (Target and Baseline S-curves)
Actual percentage complete against Target percentage complete to date
Actual percentage complete against Baseline percentage complete to date

How is an S-curve Generated?


To generate a Baseline S-curve, a Baseline Schedule is required.

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The Baseline Schedules should contain the following information for each task:

Baseline Start Date, Finish Date


Baseline Man Hours and/or Costs

To generate Actual and Target S-curves, a Production Schedule is required.


The Production Schedules should contain the following information for each task:

Actual Start Date, Finish Date


Actual Man Hours and/or Costs
Actual Percentage Complete

Worked Example
To better understand how S-curves are generated, consider a simple project comprising
three tasks.
A Baseline Schedule prepared using MS Project for this project is shown below.

Figure 9: Sample Baseline Schedule


Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curve
To generate a Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curve, two sets of calculations are
performed.
The first set of calculations is performed for each task in the Baseline Schedule.

1. Calculate the duration in days for each task


i.e. Baseline Duration = Baseline Finish Date - Baseline Start Date + 1

2. Calculate Man Hours per day for each task


i.e. Baseline MHs per Day = Baseline Man Hours / Baseline Duration

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 10: Baseline S-curve Calculation 1 of 2

The second set of calculations is performed for each day in the Baseline Schedule.

1. Calculate the total Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

2. Calculate the Year To Date Total for Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 11: Baseline S-curve Calculation 2 of 2

The S-curve is constructed by assigning the Dates to the X Axis, and the YTD values to
the Y Axis.

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The resulting Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curve is shown below.

Figure 12: Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curv


Actual versus Target
Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve
To generate the Actual and Target S-curves, a Production Schedule is required. A
Production Schedule for this project is shown below.

Figure 13: Production Schedule

To generate a Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve, two sets of calculations are
necessary. The first set of calculations is performed for each task in the Production
Schedule.

1. Calculate the duration in days for each task


i.e. Duration = Finish Date - Start Date + 1

2. Calculate Man Hours per day for each task


i.e. MHs per Day = Man Hours / Duration

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 14: Target S-curve Calculation 1 of 2

The second set of calculations is performed for each day in the Production Schedule.

1. Calculate the total Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

2. Calculate the Year To Date Total for Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

These calculations are shown in the following table:

Figure 15: Target S-curve Calculation 2 of 2

The resulting Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve is shown below.

Figure 16: Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve


Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve
To generate an Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve, two sets of calculations are
performed, but before these calculations may be performed, the Cut Off Date needs to be
defined. This is the date the Production Schedule was last updated. For this example a
Cut Off Date of 3rd November 2008 will be used.

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The first set of calculations is performed for each task in the Production Schedule.

1. Determine the Task Status: Complete, Ongoing, Not Started.


Complete: Tasks that have a Finish Date prior to the Cut Off Date.
Ongoing: Tasks that have commenced and have a Finish Date on or after the Cut Off
Date.
Not Started: Tasks that have a Start Date after the Cut Off Date.

2. Calculate the Duration to Date based on the Task Status.


Complete: Duration To Date = Finish Date - Start Date + 1
Ongoing: Duration To Date = Cut Off Date - Start Date + 1
Not Started: Duration To Date = 0.

3. Calculate Man Hours to Date for Complete and Ongoing Tasks.


i.e. Man Hours to Date = Man Hours x % Complete / Duration to Date.

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 17: Actual S-curve Calculation 1 of 2

The second set of calculations is performed for each day in the Production Schedule up to
the Cut Off Date.

1. Calculate the total Man Hours to Date per Day for all tasks.

2. Calculate the Year To Date Total for Man Hours to Date per Day for all tasks.

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 18: Actual S-curve Calculation 2 of 2

The resulting Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve is shown below.

Figure 19: Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve

The Baseline, Actual, and Target S-curves are usually combined, as shown below.

Figure 20: Man Hours versus Time S-curves

Analysis

S-curve Analysis

Initial examination of the S-curves generated above reveal the following about the status
of the project.

The project has grown in scope. (The Target S-curve finishes above the Baseline

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S-curve)
The project has slipped. (The Target S-curve finishes to the right of the Baseline
S-curve)
The project is behind schedule. (The Actual S-curve sits below the Target S-curve at the
Cut Off Date)

Project Growth

Analysis of the Baseline and Target S-curve data reveals the project has grown in scope
by 12 man-hours, or 14.29%.

i.e. Growth = Target MHs - Baseline MHs = 96 - 84 = 12


i.e. Growth % = (Target MHs / Baseline MHs - 1) x 100% = (96 / 84 - 1) x 100% =
14.29%

Project Slippage

Analysis of the Baseline and Target S-curve data reveals the project has slipped by 1 day,
or 20.00%.

i.e. Slippage = Target Duration - Baseline Duration = 6 - 5 = 1


i.e. Slippage % = (Target Duration / Baseline Duration - 1) x 100% = (6 / 5 - 1) x
100% = 20.00%

Project Progress

According to MS Project, based on the Production Schedule the project is 50% complete.
MS Project calculates percentage complete based on durations, and does not take into
account man-hours assigned to each task. Analysis of the Actual and Target S-curve data
reveals the project is 53.13% complete as of the Cut Off Date, while the project should
be 59.38% complete.

i.e. Actual % Complete = (Actual YTD Man Hours @ Cut Off Date / Target Man Hours) x
100% = (51 / 96) x 100% = 53.13%
i.e. Target % Complete = (Target YTD Man Hours @ Cut Off Date / Target Man Hours)
x 100% = (57 / 96) x 100% = 59.38%

Conclusion
Project status
The project will finish late and over budget compared to the Baseline Schedule. Progress
to date (i.e. the Cut Off Date) is behind schedule compared to the Production Schedule.
Detailed analysis of the project is required to determine why the project will be completed
late and over budget. Project growth and/or slippage may be due to a number of factors,
including underestimation of effort in the Baseline Schedule, low productivity, rework,
variations (approved or not), etc.

In this example, variations may need to be raised to account for the extra man hours
expended, and an extension of time claim raised for the later than planned completion.

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The Production Schedule may need review to ensure tasks have been updated accurately
(especially with respect to true percentage complete values), and ongoing and future
tasks may require revising.

Generating S-curves
Some software scheduling packages automatically generate S-curves. On the other hand,
some (including MS Project) do not. In this case, a third party software application is
required to process the Baseline and Production Schedule data to generate the required
S-curves.

Midori Media's myPM SCG S-curve Generator is an MS Windows application that integrates
with MS Excel to generate the various types of S-curves discussed above. MS Project
users will need to export their schedule data to an MS Excel file (easily accomplished
using MS Project's File Save As option). myPM SCG processes the resulting export file,
and creates an MS Excel Output file containing the required S-curves. These may be
copy-pasted to MS Word for inclusion in Project Progress Reports.

The value of S-curves


The S-curve is an important but often overlooked and misunderstood project
management tool. A variety of S-curves exist, the most common being Man Hours versus
Time, and Costs versus Time. By creating a Baseline Schedule, a Baseline S-curve can be
generated. Baseline S-curves provide a basis on which to compare a project's actual
status to its planned status. They may also assist in the planning of manpower and
financial resources required to complete the project.

A Production Schedule allows Actual and Target S-curves to be generated. These allow
the progress of a project to be monitored, and quickly reveal any divergence from the
Baseline Schedule. S-curves may also be used to determine project growth, slippage, and
progress to date.

Figure 1: Man Hours versus Time S-curve


Costs versus Time S-curve
The Costs versus Time S-curve is appropriate for projects that contain labor and non-
labor (e.g. material supply / hire / subcontract) tasks. It shows cumulative costs
expended over time for the duration of the project, and may be used to assist in the
calculation of the project's cash flow, and cost to complete.

Figure 2: Costs versus Time S-curve


Progress Tracking
Baseline S-curve
Prior to project commencement, a schedule is prepared outlining the proposed allocation
of resources and the timing of tasks necessary to complete the project within a set time

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frame and budget. This schedule is referred to as the Baseline Schedule. From this
schedule, a Baseline S-curve is generated. This S-curve reflects the planned progress of
the project. If the project requirements change prior to commencement (e.g. change of
scope, delayed start), the Baseline Schedule may require revision to reflect the changed
requirements.

Figure 3: Baseline S-curve


Target S-curve
Following project commencement, modification of the Baseline Schedule is usually
required. Changes are continually made to the Production Schedule (which is originally
the same as the Baseline Schedule). The production schedule reflects the actual progress
of the project to date, and any revisions made to tasks yet to commence or not yet
completed. From this schedule, a Target S-curve may be generated. This S-curve reflects
the ideal progress of the project if all tasks are completed as currently scheduled. In an
ideal world, the Target S-curve will meet the Baseline S-curve at the end of the project
(On Time, On Budget) or finish below and to the left of the Baseline S-curve (Early, Under
Budget). In reality, it is not uncommon for the Target S-curve to finish above and to the
right of the Baseline S-curve (Late, Over Budget).

Figure 4: Target S-curve


Actual S-curve
The production schedule is updated on a regular basis throughout the duration of the
project. These updates include the revision of percentage complete for each task to date.
Using this information, an Actual S-curve may be generated. This S-curve reflects the
actual progress of the project to date, and may be compared with the Baseline and
Target S-curves to determine how the project is progressing. During the project, the
Actual S-curve will terminate at the Cut Off Date. This is the date the Production Schedule
was last updated. At the completion of the project, the Actual S-curve will meet the
Target S-curve.

Figure 5: Actual S-curve


Value and Percentage S-curves
S-curves may be graphed as absolute values (i.e. Man Hours or Costs) versus Time, or as
percentage values versus Time. Value S-curves are useful for determining Man Hours or
Costs expended to date, and Man Hours or Costs to complete. Percentage S-curves are
useful for calculating the project's actual percentage complete against target and baseline
percentage complete, and for calculating the project's percentage growth (or
contraction).

Using S-curves

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Why Use an S-curve?


S-curves are an important project management tool. They allow the progress of a project
to be tracked visually over time, and form a historical record of what has happened to
date. Analyses of S-curves allow project managers to quickly identify project growth,
slippage, and potential problems that could adversely impact the project if no remedial
action is taken.

Determining Growth
Comparison of the Baseline and Target S-curves quickly reveals if the project has grown
(Target S-curve finishes above Baseline S-curve) or contracted (Target S-curve finishes
below Baseline S-curve) in scope. A change in the project's scopes implies a re-allocation
of resources (increase or decrease), and the very possible requirement to raise contract
variations. If the resources are fixed, then the duration of the project will increase (finish
later) or decrease (finish earlier), possibly leading to the need to submit an extension of
time claim.

Figure 6: Calculating Project Growth using S-curves


Determining Slippage
Slippage is defined as:

"The amount of time a task has been delayed from its original baseline schedule. The
slippage is the difference between the scheduled start or finish date for a task and the
baseline start or finish date. Slippage can occur when a baseline plan is set and the actual
dates subsequently entered for tasks are later than the baseline dates or the actual
durations are longer than the baseline schedule durations".[2]

Comparison of the Baseline S-curve and Target S-curve quickly reveals any project
slippage (i.e. the Target S-curve finishes to the right of the Baseline S-curve). Additional
resources will need to be allocated or additional hours worked in order to eliminate (or at
least reduce) the slippage. An extension of time claim may need to be submitted if the
slippage cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.

Figure 7: Calculating Project Slippage using S-curves


Determining Progress
Comparison of the Target S-curve and Actual S-curve reveals the progress of the project
over time. In most cases, the Actual S-curve will sit below the Target S-curve for the
majority of the project (due to many factors, including delays in updating the production
schedule). Only towards the end of the project will the curves converge and finally meet.
The Actual S-curve can never finish above the Target S-curve. If the Actual S-curve sits
above the Target S-curve at the Cut Off Date, the Production Schedule should be
examined to determine if the project is truly ahead of schedule, or if the Production
Schedule contains unrealistic percentage complete values for ongoing tasks.

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Figure 8: Calculating Project Progress using S-curves


Generating S-curves
Project Benchmarks
Percentage S-curves may be used to calculate important project benchmarks on an
ongoing basis, including:

Project percentage growth (Target and Baseline S-curves)


Project percentage slippage (Target and Baseline S-curves)
Actual percentage complete against Target percentage complete to date
Actual percentage complete against Baseline percentage complete to date

How is an S-curve Generated?


To generate a Baseline S-curve, a Baseline Schedule is required.
The Baseline Schedules should contain the following information for each task:

Baseline Start Date, Finish Date


Baseline Man Hours and/or Costs

To generate Actual and Target S-curves, a Production Schedule is required.


The Production Schedules should contain the following information for each task:

Actual Start Date, Finish Date


Actual Man Hours and/or Costs
Actual Percentage Complete

Worked Example
To better understand how S-curves are generated, consider a simple project comprising
three tasks.
A Baseline Schedule prepared using MS Project for this project is shown below.

Figure 9: Sample Baseline Schedule


Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curve
To generate a Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curve, two sets of calculations are
performed.
The first set of calculations is performed for each task in the Baseline Schedule.

1. Calculate the duration in days for each task


i.e. Baseline Duration = Baseline Finish Date - Baseline Start Date + 1

2. Calculate Man Hours per day for each task


i.e. Baseline MHs per Day = Baseline Man Hours / Baseline Duration

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These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 10: Baseline S-curve Calculation 1 of 2

The second set of calculations is performed for each day in the Baseline Schedule.

1. Calculate the total Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

2. Calculate the Year To Date Total for Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 11: Baseline S-curve Calculation 2 of 2

The S-curve is constructed by assigning the Dates to the X Axis, and the YTD values to
the Y Axis.
The resulting Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curve is shown below.

Figure 12: Baseline Man Hours versus Time S-curv


Actual versus Target
Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve
To generate the Actual and Target S-curves, a Production Schedule is required. A
Production Schedule for this project is shown below.

Figure 13: Production Schedule

To generate a Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve, two sets of calculations are
necessary. The first set of calculations is performed for each task in the Production
Schedule.

1. Calculate the duration in days for each task


i.e. Duration = Finish Date - Start Date + 1

2. Calculate Man Hours per day for each task


i.e. MHs per Day = Man Hours / Duration

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 14: Target S-curve Calculation 1 of 2

The second set of calculations is performed for each day in the Production Schedule.

1. Calculate the total Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

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2. Calculate the Year To Date Total for Man Hours per Day for all tasks.

These calculations are shown in the following table:

Figure 15: Target S-curve Calculation 2 of 2

The resulting Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve is shown below.

Figure 16: Target Man Hours versus Time S-curve


Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve
To generate an Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve, two sets of calculations are
performed, but before these calculations may be performed, the Cut Off Date needs to be
defined. This is the date the Production Schedule was last updated. For this example a
Cut Off Date of 3rd November 2008 will be used.

The first set of calculations is performed for each task in the Production Schedule.

1. Determine the Task Status: Complete, Ongoing, Not Started.


Complete: Tasks that have a Finish Date prior to the Cut Off Date.
Ongoing: Tasks that have commenced and have a Finish Date on or after the Cut Off
Date.
Not Started: Tasks that have a Start Date after the Cut Off Date.

2. Calculate the Duration to Date based on the Task Status.


Complete: Duration To Date = Finish Date - Start Date + 1
Ongoing: Duration To Date = Cut Off Date - Start Date + 1
Not Started: Duration To Date = 0.

3. Calculate Man Hours to Date for Complete and Ongoing Tasks.


i.e. Man Hours to Date = Man Hours x % Complete / Duration to Date.

These calculations are shown in the following table.

Figure 17: Actual S-curve Calculation 1 of 2

The second set of calculations is performed for each day in the Production Schedule up to
the Cut Off Date.

1. Calculate the total Man Hours to Date per Day for all tasks.

2. Calculate the Year To Date Total for Man Hours to Date per Day for all tasks.

These calculations are shown in the following table.

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Figure 18: Actual S-curve Calculation 2 of 2

The resulting Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve is shown below.

Figure 19: Actual Man Hours versus Time S-curve

The Baseline, Actual, and Target S-curves are usually combined, as shown below.

Figure 20: Man Hours versus Time S-curves

Analysis

S-curve Analysis

Initial examination of the S-curves generated above reveal the following about the status
of the project.

The project has grown in scope. (The Target S-curve finishes above the Baseline
S-curve)
The project has slipped. (The Target S-curve finishes to the right of the Baseline
S-curve)
The project is behind schedule. (The Actual S-curve sits below the Target S-curve at the
Cut Off Date)

Project Growth

Analysis of the Baseline and Target S-curve data reveals the project has grown in scope
by 12 man-hours, or 14.29%.

i.e. Growth = Target MHs - Baseline MHs = 96 - 84 = 12


i.e. Growth % = (Target MHs / Baseline MHs - 1) x 100% = (96 / 84 - 1) x 100% =
14.29%

Project Slippage

Analysis of the Baseline and Target S-curve data reveals the project has slipped by 1 day,
or 20.00%.

i.e. Slippage = Target Duration - Baseline Duration = 6 - 5 = 1


i.e. Slippage % = (Target Duration / Baseline Duration - 1) x 100% = (6 / 5 - 1) x
100% = 20.00%

Project Progress

According to MS Project, based on the Production Schedule the project is 50% complete.
MS Project calculates percentage complete based on durations, and does not take into
account man-hours assigned to each task. Analysis of the Actual and Target S-curve data
reveals the project is 53.13% complete as of the Cut Off Date, while the project should

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be 59.38% complete.

i.e. Actual % Complete = (Actual YTD Man Hours @ Cut Off Date / Target Man Hours) x
100% = (51 / 96) x 100% = 53.13%
i.e. Target % Complete = (Target YTD Man Hours @ Cut Off Date / Target Man Hours)
x 100% = (57 / 96) x 100% = 59.38%

Conclusion
Project status
The project will finish late and over budget compared to the Baseline Schedule. Progress
to date (i.e. the Cut Off Date) is behind schedule compared to the Production Schedule.
Detailed analysis of the project is required to determine why the project will be completed
late and over budget. Project growth and/or slippage may be due to a number of factors,
including underestimation of effort in the Baseline Schedule, low productivity, rework,
variations (approved or not), etc.

In this example, variations may need to be raised to account for the extra man hours
expended, and an extension of time claim raised for the later than planned completion.
The Production Schedule may need review to ensure tasks have been updated accurately
(especially with respect to true percentage complete values), and ongoing and future
tasks may require revising.

Generating S-curves
Some software scheduling packages automatically generate S-curves. On the other hand,
some (including MS Project) do not. In this case, a third party software application is
required to process the Baseline and Production Schedule data to generate the required
S-curves.

Midori Media's myPM SCG S-curve Generator is an MS Windows application that integrates
with MS Excel to generate the various types of S-curves discussed above. MS Project
users will need to export their schedule data to an MS Excel file (easily accomplished
using MS Project's File Save As option). myPM SCG processes the resulting export file,
and creates an MS Excel Output file containing the required S-curves. These may be
copy-pasted to MS Word for inclusion in Project Progress Reports.

The value of S-curves


The S-curve is an important but often overlooked and misunderstood project
management tool. A variety of S-curves exist, the most common being Man Hours versus
Time, and Costs versus Time. By creating a Baseline Schedule, a Baseline S-curve can be
generated. Baseline S-curves provide a basis on which to compare a project's actual
status to its planned status. They may also assist in the planning of manpower and
financial resources required to complete the project.

A Production Schedule allows Actual and Target S-curves to be generated. These allow
the progress of a project to be monitored, and quickly reveal any divergence from the
Baseline Schedule. S-curves may also be used to determine project growth, slippage, and
progress to date.

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REPLIES

Wed, 2017-07-05 16:49 #1

Rafael Davila Morne Beeslaar warning on productivity rates being at best a guess cannot be
overlooked. No way can you overlook the reliability of the source data you uses when
Offline
creating the S-curves.
Joined: 1 Mar 2004
Posts: 4508 · You need to track production rates.
Groups: Spider
Project Team · Easier to track if using Unit Costing capable financial/accounting software. The
mere tracking of budgeted amounts is not good enough.

· https://www.foundationsoft.com/unit-cost-production-reporting/

· Easier to model if using scheduling software that correctly model production rates in
easy to understand implementation instead of missing this important value .

· https://www.slideshare.net/davilara11/enhanced-resource-planning

There are a variety of S-curves that are applicable to project management applications,
including: Man Hours versus Time S-curve, Costs versus Time S-curve, Baseline S-curve,
Actual S-curve, Target S-curve, Value and Percentage S-curves.

· Some important S-curves any scheduler shall understand are missing:

· The Probabilities of Success curve.

· http://www.goodplan.ca/2011/02/s-curve-of-success.html

· EVM S-curves.

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· https://josephzaarour.wordpress.com/tag/earned-value/

Also is missing the misconceptions and pitfalls of some S-curves that shall be included in
any reference to S-curves for it to be complete.

· Earned Value Management as a tool for Project Control

· The Great Divorce: Cost Loaded Schedule Updating

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Wed, 2017-07-05 12:43 #2

Morne Johann Good information and theoretically sound.


Bees...

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Problem in South Africa is that contractors are notoriously poor at just producing a level 3
Joined: 25 Feb 2016
Posts: 12 schedule never mind getting cost or resource loading done to produce manhour
Groups: None schedules. Productivity rates are at best a guess.

Thanks for a great article though.

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Wed, 2017-05-03 10:45 #3

Zafar Iqbal Dear, this article is originally available at http://www.maxwideman.com/guests/s-


curve/intro.htm
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Joined: 14 Sep 2011


Posts: 4
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Sat, 2015-06-13 18:26 #4

Mohammad hi
Fahimi
we can not display the pictures
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Joined: 9 Jun 2015


Posts: 4
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Thu, 2015-06-11 20:28 #5

Mohammad hi
Fahimi
I tried this link: http://www.projectmagazine.com/monitoring-and-controlling/62-
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communication/404-the-mysterious-s-curve
Joined: 9 Jun 2015
Posts: 4 but I get "server not found" error.

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Thu, 2015-06-11 20:24 #6

Mohammad Hi, It is a good article but I can not see the pictures,
Fahimi
how can i disply them?
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Joined: 9 Jun 2015


Posts: 4
Groups: None
tnx.

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Wed, 2012-12-05 14:10 #7

sheik good article but pictures are not displaying.


Jamaluddeen

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Joined: 5 Dec 2012


Posts: 5

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Fri, 2011-05-06 02:33 #8

Christina Wong Found this webpage.

Offline http://www.projectmagazine.com/monitoring-and-controlling/62-communication/404-the-

Joined: 6 May 2011 mysterious-s-curve


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Fri, 2011-04-08 04:40 #9

YOWRAJ Hi,
THAKUR

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where I can get pictures , that would be easier to understand
Joined: 7 Apr 2009
Posts: 8

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Groups: Petro-Chem
/ Oil & Gas

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Fri, 2011-04-08 03:25 #10

Ganyi WANG It is a good article, but unfortunately, the picture in it can not display normally.

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