Introducing ICS-RESEARCH

What ICS-Research Is All About

ICS-Research conducts ongoing scholarly studies which lead to discoveries and reports about Construction Project Time Management. Its work products provide empirical data necessary to sharpen the cutting edge of Construction PTM, and inspire Research Studies in the academic world.

Construction Project Time Management has long needed an independent clearinghouse for review and appraisal of new products, services, concepts, and theories. The Construction Industry in North America needs — and deserves – more credible information upon which to make informed decisions than just slick marketing hype and gratuitous self-promotion.

Why ICS-Research Was Created

As a singular unified, where is Construction Project Time Management headed? Who is leading the charge? Is there a captain on the bridge, at the helm?

Across its remarkable and often tumultuous 50-year history, Construction PTM has evolved without the guidance of any coordinated Master Plan. A bit ironic, don’t you think — given that we’re planners? With the smallest of individual steps, the Construction Project Time Management has traveled down a long, winding, and sometimes circular route, to where it is today.

In the early days — circa 1960 — at the time of Critical Path Method’s invention, the discipline was known simply as Scheduling. Over the next couple decades, this expanded to Planning and Scheduling, although there was significant disagreement on what each of these two key tems meant.

By the time the Project Management Institute issued its first Project Management Body of Knowledge tome, the discipline was renamed Project Time Management. Ironically, beyond the first paragraph of the Project Time Management chapter, PMBOK continued to refer to the process group as Scheduling.

To date, no entity that we are aware of – except for ICS-Global – addresses the broad Project Management disciple of Construction Project Time Management. The slapdash treatment of Construction PTM comes from disconnected origins:

  • Self-Appointed Authorities: With each new text on some aspects of the Project Time Management (or, more likely, still printed under the outdated moniker, Planning and Scheduling), another self-appointed “authority” arrives on the scene.
  • Self-Proclaimed Organizations: Well-meaning volunteer organizations latch onto random, isolated aspects of Project Time Management and make it their cause. Even if they do their jobs well, their focus is never more than partial. The Big Picture escapes comprehensive overhauling.
  • Academia: Institutions of higher learning teach not what is new and proven, but instead what they were taught so many years before, thereby ensuring intellectual, if not also practical, obsolescence.
  • For-Profit Trainers: Private sector trainers teach the mechanics of automated scheduling under the guise of “How to Create a Schedule.” Most often they are either aligned with a particular software application, or are preparing the student to pass a certification exam. Sadly, students exit these classes with no practical understanding of how to sew a Project Schedule together.
  • Disruptive Innovators: Finally, there are the occasional inventors, driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, who develop a new methodology and immediately promote it as the latest and greatest thing since sliced bread. But are they really better, or even reliable? It is all too common for new methods to be adopted by the Scheduling Community without sufficient empirical evidence to prove that the method really adds value. Case in point: Earned Value. Another case in point: Critical Chain Method.

What Do We Really Know?

Today’s Construction PTM practitioner is being tossed about in a stormy sea of confusing and cluttered information. Needed — desperately needed — is purposeful, structured, and objective research, conducted by professional researchers, who will sift through all of the noise and misinformation and show us what is true!

Coordinated Research

Unfortunately, most researchers lack any real understanding of what is useful, what is esoteric, and what is simply worthless. That is why we conceived of ICS-Research, to act as a go-between. Working with the world’s leading universities and think tanks, ICS-Research administers an ongoing research program designed to generate and provide reliable, proven, and substantive insights into all aspects of Construction PTM function and philosophy.

For this reason, ICS-Research has devoted thousands of hours to a decades-long effort to fully clarify Construction PTM in terms of definitions, roles, responsibilities, frameworks, principles, formulas, terminology, standards, processes, procedures, and guidelines.

Whom ICS-Research Is Intended to Serve


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How ICS-Research Is Organized and Functions

The future of any enterprise is bleak if it does not continuously reinvent itself. ICS‑Research incorporates what just as easily could have been called a nurturing center for creative thought. Anything that dares to think outside the box falls under ICS‑Research. An immediate example is the good work being done on Momentum Management, which holds promise of becoming the greatest enhancement to Construction Project Time Management since the creation of the Critical Path Method.

Another responsibility of ICS‑Research is to commission and oversee objective Research Studies performed by academics and funded through Research Grants managed by ICS‑Finance. But more than anything else, ICS‑Research is a think tank for Construction Project Time Management. In its 15‑year history, it has amassed an impressive portfolio of thought‑leading innovations.

Here are brief descriptions of some of the more seminal contributions of ICS‑Research.

  • ICS-Compendium: The ICS‑Compendium is a comprehensive four-volume reference set that explains and formalizes concepts, principles, standards, processes, procedures, role definitions, formulas, and terminology, all of which ICS‑Research deems essential for consistently effective Project Time Management. Its primary purpose is to educate, not necessarily to regulate.
  • This seminal work product is meant to facilitate the successful design, development, maintenance, and usage of quality Construction PTM products and services. Its content is intended for consumption within North America’s Construction Industry and by design is particularly well‑suited for mid‑sized contractors on mid‑sized projects.
  • ICS-Protocols: Unlike the ICS-Compendium, the ICS‑Protocols are meant to regulate — those over whom ICS‑Global has performance authority. Specifically, ICS‑Protocols Clarifies the policies and procedures for ICS‑Scheduling, establishes minimum and mandatory performance standards for ICS‑Network Affiliates, and constitutes the underlying study material for various ICS‑Certification credentials.
  • At Last, Consistency: Despite differences in format and audience, both ICS‑Protocols and ICS‑Compendium achieve the same major milestones: they establish – for the first time ever – a comprehensive and coordinated set of terminology, roles, responsibilities, formulas, concepts, standards, best practices, processes, procedures, and techniques –specifically created to insure effective Construction Project Time Management in the North American Construction market.
  • No Political Correctness Hamstringing: Current professional associations are encumbered by the political nature of volunteer contributions, where opposing points of view must somehow be accommodated so as not to offend or minimize any given opinion. This explains the ambiguous titles of their final work products, such as Best Practices, Guidelines, or Recommendations.
  • Commercially‑Practical Concepts: By contrast, both ICS‑Protocols and ICS‑Compendium form the underpinning for real‑world operational, commercial ventures. To name a just a few, consider ICS‑Network, ICS‑Scoring, SchedSpec, Project Navigator, ICS‑Scheduling, SLIDE, LAND, ICS‑Institute, ICS‑Training, ICS‑Certification, ICS‑Specifications, ICS-Scoring, and so forth. The point here is that most professional associations that opine on Project Time Management topics are non‑commercial entities. Where is their proof of concept? The concepts that they advocate may or may not produce real‑world effectiveness. At ICS‑Global, we put our money where our mouth is.
  • Lexicon: The Project Time Management discipline, worldwide, suffers from an overgrowth of inconsistent, inaccurate, misleading, redundant, or conflicting technical terminology. More specifically, Construction PTM endures the same deficits. To address this, the ICS‑Compendium offers the ultimate Essential Desk Reference that features an ICS‑Encyclopedia, ICS‑Dictionary, and clever ICS‑Glossatree to clear up any confusion as to lexicon.
  • Roles: Across five decades, the roles and responsibilities of the Construction PTM practitioner have increased in complexity in conjunction with their melding into the mainstream of Construction Project Management products and services. What have not kept pace are the various labels by which Construction PTM practitioners are referred. ICS‑Research recommends a comprehensive and refreshingly coordinated set of Roles and Responsibilities, along with required attributes (e.g., skills, education, experience, personality, and so forth).
  • Formulas: Long gone are the days when the basic calculations of the Critical Path Method were performed manually. In retrospect, relegating the tedium of Forward Pass and Backward Pass calculations to the microchip might be viewed as a reasonable and helpful evolution. However, this progression suffers a simultaneous failure to ensure that the various scheduling software programs from competing publishers perform their calculations with compatible and consistent formulas. ICS‑Research has composed a complete set of mathematical formulas to support a solid numeric understanding of the Critical Path Method, and coded into Project Navigator.
  • Concepts: As a critical prerequisite to the creation of Best Practices and Standards, we must first clarify the context in which Construction Project Time Management operates. ICS‑Research provides a thorough overview of Construction PTM by detailing the Concepts that describe the operational context for the Processes, Practices and Standards examined throughout the ICS‑Compendium.
  • Standards & Best Practices: The most glaring omission by current Project Management dogma is any set of governing Standards that might serve to insure the consistent achievement of product and service excellence across Construction PTM in North America. The ICS‑Compendium sets forth a non‑negotiable Code of Ethics, immutable Standards, and recommended Best Practices – all of which are completely consistent with all other aspects of the ICS‑Compendium.
  • Processes: Within the parameters of established Ethics, Standards, and Best Practices, and building on a bedrock of coherent Lexicon, Roles, and Formulas, the ICS‑Compendium mandates specific operational Processes that transform its ideology into tangible products and services.
  • This is a critical aspect that has been missing from previous and current Project Management literature, which stops short of explaining how it all comes together. These current offerings are more like the upper half of a recipe, which states what goes into the dish, while omitting the operational steps that instruct how to bring it all together successfully.
  • In the current construction environment, where so many who are tasked with creating and maintaining the Project Schedule are mostly self‑taught, the need is greater than ever to provide practical guidance and instruction. The ICS‑Compendium’s treatment of Processes bridges the gap between theory and worthwhile practice, by defining a sound set of processes that are supported by underlying rationales for each recommended tack, and why other processes are rejected or discouraged.
  • Techniques & Procedures: Drilling even deeper into the details that transform concept into reality, the ICS‑Compendium suggests Techniques & Procedures one can use to perform the above‑described Processes with consistent success.
  • Innovative Breakthroughs in Construction PTM: Beyond ICS-Compendium and ICS-Protocols, ICS-Research has given birth to many promising innovations in Construction Project Time Management, including:
  • Construction Momentology: Originally conceived in 1983, Performance Intensity is the central concept that forms the basis of Momentum Science. Practical use of Momentum measures to proactively manage the use of time on construction projects is called Momentum Management.
  • Dilemma Forecasting: Made possible by Momentology, Dilemma Forecasting entails pinpointing the likelihood of schedule slippage as much as three months into the future.
  • Cognitive Project Management: As an alternative to the current Project Management models, which are generically designed to apply to “most projects most of the time” across various industries, Cognitive PM was designed by ICS-Research as a solid Project Management System specifically for the construction industry in North America.
  • PAGUSYS: Just as Project Controls is a subset of Project Management in the current PM environment, PAGUSYS is the operational subset of Cognitive Project Management. It serves a purpose similar to Project Controls, but with a noticeably different attitude, which is reflected in its name:  Project Administration and Guidance System.