GASP – Generally Accepted Scheduling Principles

Generally Accepted Scheduling Principles…the GASP!

The Generally Accepted Scheduling Principles (GASP) are comprised of eight tenets for constructing and utilizing schedules as a valid and effective management tool. The goal of the GASP is to easily articulate schedule expectations for program management teams.

The eight GASP tenets are divided into the first five qualities that describe valid schedules and three qualities that describe effective schedules. Valid principles are defined as Complete, Traceable, Transparent, Statused and Predictive traits. Effective principles include Usable, Resourced, and Controlled aspects of a schedule.
The purpose of the Generally Accepted Scheduling Principles is to serve as a high-level framework to reinforce sound scheduling. Also, the GASP serve as a tool to validate schedule maturity and identify improvement areas for the program management team. Ultimately, the GASP is a tool to objectively apply widely accepted or alternative scheduling approaches.

Schedule Health vs. Schedule Fitness

Many are familiar with the term “schedule health” that refers to a functional schedule that meets minimum management requirements. At AzTech, we prefer to look beyond schedule health, and instead aim for “schedule fitness.” A fit schedule exceeds a healthy schedule as it is robust and dynamic, guiding a program management team with meaningful progress and realistic forecasts. GASP compliance will ensure that a schedule remains a key management tool throughout the life of the program.

Generally Accepted Scheduling Principles (GASP) GASP Narrative Gasp Essential Statement


 1 Complete  Schedules represent all authorized effort for the entire contract, with essential subcontracted or other external work milestones integrated yet distinguishable from internal work. Level of Effort may be excluded from the IMS.  The schedule captures the entire discrete, authorized project effort from start through completion.
 2 Traceable Schedules reflect realistic and meaningful network logic that horizontally and vertically integrates the likely sequence for program execution. Schedules are coded to relate tasks or milestones to source or dependent documents, tools, and responsible organizations. The schedule logic is horizontally & vertically integrated with cross-references to key documents and tools.
 3 Transparent Schedules provide full disclosure of program status and forecast and include documented ground rules, assumptions, and methods for building and maintaining schedules. Documentation includes steps for analyzing the critical paths, incorporating risks and opportunities, and generating schedule health and performance metrics. The schedule provides visibility to assure it is complete, traceable, has documented assumptions, & provides full disclosure of program status & forecast.
 4 Statused Schedules reflect consistent and regular updates of completed work, interim progress, achievable remaining durations relative to the status date, and accurately maintained logic relationships. The schedule has accurate progress through the status date.
 5 Predictive Schedules accurately forecast the most likely completion dates and impacts to the program baseline plan through valid network logic and achievable task durations from the status date through program completion. The schedule provides meaningful critical paths & accurate forecasts for remaining work through program completion.
Effective 6 Usable  Schedules produce meaningful metrics for timely and effective communication, tracking and improving performance, mitigating issues and risks, and capturing opportunities. Schedules are robust and functional to help stakeholders manage different levels, groupings, or areas as needed. Schedules are developed and maintained at a size, level, and complexity such that they are timely and enable effective decision-making. The schedule is an indispensable tool for timely & effective management decisions & actions.
 7 Resourced Resources align with the schedule baseline and forecast to enable stakeholders to view and assess the time-phased labor and other costs required to achieve project baseline and forecast targets. Each program is unique and uses varying techniques to load, baseline, and maintain the time-phased resources at levels that are practical and produce meaningful and accurate projections. When resource-loaded schedules are used, they enable flexible updates to resource requirements as conditions change. Whether or not resource-loaded schedules are used, cost and schedule data are integrated for internal and external reporting.  The schedule aligns with actual & projected resource availability.
 8 Controlled  Schedules are baselined and maintained using a rigorous, stable, repeatable, and documented process. Schedules additions, deletions, and updates conform to this process and result in valid and accurate results for sound schedule configuration control and maintenance.  The schedule is built, baselined, & maintained using a stable, repeatable, & documented process.

GASP Background

The GASP were originally developed as a governance mechanism for the Program Planning and Scheduling Subcommittee (PPSS). The PPSS is a subcommittee formed by the Industrial Committee on Program Management (ICPM) working group under the auspices of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). The GASP were developed collaboratively within inputs from both Government and Industry.

Recommendations for Use

Use the GASP as a governance tool when evaluating new scheduling processes, techniques, or tools. By assessing whether a new approach meets the GASP, the program team can readily arrive at a reasonable solution that minimizes any management process or other risks to producing valid and effective schedules. The GASP may also be used as a framework for training courses, for developing and using schedule information, for schedule reporting and analysis, and for writing program supplemental guidance.

It is essential to understand that the GASP are intentionally broad. The GASP set high expectations for excellent scheduling, yet do not specify particular methodologies. Avoid viewing the GASP as dogma; instead, continually strive to meet or exceed the GASP with creative and practical approaches that work for the size, value, risk, and complexity of the program and the skills and capabilities of the program team.

New practices or techniques are encouraged—if and when they meet the GASP. There will be times when a given practice diminishes compliance to one principle over another. This is expected and unavoidable, but what is paramount is that the program team weighs the benefits over the risks. When a practice negatively impacts a GASP, the program team should take necessary steps to mitigate any management process risks that might diminish compliance with the GASP.

Program teams and organizations in both government and industry must remain flexible and focused on placing improved management information above dogma or rigid application of the GASP or any other scheduling “standards” or “best practices.”

Source: The GASP were developed and presented in February 2010 by the Program Planning and Scheduling Subcommittee (PPSS), a joint government and industry team under the auspices of the Industrial Committee for Program Management (ICPM) and the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA). Note: The GASP term was coined by Fred Meyer when supporting the PPSS team under the joint leadership of Ms. Rebecca Davies of the Air Force Program Management & Acquisition Excellence (PM&AE) and Lil Vayhinger, the Raytheon Missile Systems VP of Program Management Excellence (PMX).

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