The Futility of Integrated Master Plans


Prepared by Planner/Schedulers with Little

or No Hands-on Field Experience



By Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS

Jakarta, Indonesia


This paper is being presented as a counterpoint and alternate perspective to the paper presented in the July PMWJ by Dr. Ken Smith, Col USAF (Ret), entitled “TAKE THE GUESS OUT OF GUESS-TIMATING: Use MILESTONES to Monitor Project Performance“[2] and as an expanded version of the moderated discussion on Pat Weaver’s Mosaic Blog “DCMA 14 Point Schedule Assessment – Updated” published on July 1, 2023 and “Calculating Completion Dates is Subjective” on July 11 2023.

The paper looks at “CPM Scheduling” as viewed through the eyes of a successful “hard money” (Firm Fixed Price) contractor, where our own money is on the line if our projects “succeed” or “fail,” noting that invariably, OWNERS have spread the milestones out so far as to starve us of the very “asset” we need to keep the project running, and that is maintaining “CASH FLOW NEUTRALITY.”

As in all this author’s writings and teaching, this paper embraces and conforms to the 5 attributes of the Scientific Method, more specifically:

Attribute #1 – Empirical Evidence- “The scientific method is empirical. That is, it relies on direct observation of the world and disdains hypotheses that run counter to observable fact.”[3]  

Attribute #2 – “Scientific experiments are replicable. That is, if another person duplicates the experiment, he or she will get the same results. Scientists are supposed to publish enough of their method so that another person, with appropriate training, could replicate the results.”[4]

Speaking as SUCCESSFUL Property Developers & Managers, where we act as OWNERS, investing in and managing rental real estate, but most often we function as CONTRACTORS where we quote a firm fixed bid to buy, rehabilitate, and sell (“flip”) properties as well as providing project management competency development and capacity building professional services on a “Unit in Place” or “Lump Sum” basis.

The reality is that there is no shortage of credible, peer-reviewed research telling us that despite 50+ years of “formalized” project management, represented by global professional societies (i.e., PMI, IPMA, AACE, AIPM, et al.,) along with hundreds of local or regional organizations that projects continue to “fail” with alarming regularity. Two of the more credible researchers and practitioners who have been “sounding the alarm” for over 10 years now are Prof Bent Flyvbjerg[5] and NASA’s Glenn Butts,[6] yet they continue to be ignored.

But the most compelling research was researched and published in 2019, 2020, 2021, and most recently, 2022 by KPMG, IPMA, and AIPM, showed us that despite Australia being a developed, well-educated, and sophisticated country with strong representation from PMI, AACE, IPMA, and even their own home-grown Australian Institute of Project Managers (AIPM) that after 50+ years this is the best that Australia has achieved. Note that since the 2021 report, Customer Satisfaction, Business Success, On-Time, and Within Budget have actually gotten WORSE, going back close to the results from the 2020 Survey.

Figure 1- AIPM, KPMG, IPMA Research Findings 2022[7]

Given the fact that we are getting WORSE, not BETTER, how much longer will it be before we heed the advice of Henry Ford that “if you do the same thing you’ve always done, you will always get the same results you always got” or the wisdom of Einstein who told us “doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results is the definition of INSANITY.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Giammalvo, P. D. (2023). The Futility of Integrated Master Plans Prepared by Planner/Schedulers with Little or No Hands-on Field Experience, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/pmwj133-Sep2023-Giammalvo-futility-of-master-plans-prepared-with-little-or-no-hands-on-experience.pdf

About the Author            

Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS

Jakarta, Indonesia


Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE (#1240), MScPM, MRICS, is a Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. www.build-project-management-competency.com. He is noted for the development and delivery of graduate level, blended learning curricula designed for the mid-career path, English as Second Language (ESL) professionals to develop competency in the local practitioner and build capacity for the local organizations. For 25+ years, he has been developing and delivering Project Management training and consulting throughout South and Eastern Asia Pacific, the Middle East, West Africa, and Europe.

He is also active in the Global Project Management Community, by playing a “thought leadership” role for the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, (AACEI) http://www.aacei.org/ since 1991; He has also been active in two IPMA member organizations: The Green Project Management Association (GPM) http://www.greenprojectmanagement.org/ where he served on the Certification Board of Directors for two years and the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management http://www.asapm.org/ for which he served for four years on the BoD as Director of Marketing. He also sat on the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS), www.globalpmstandards.org, Sydney, Australia and is active as a regional leader. Currently, he is a compensated consultant to the International Guild of Project Controls. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild  as the primary author of their “Compendium and Reference” as well as the chief architect of their competency-based credentialing program. http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/certification

He has spent 35 of the last 50 years working on large, highly technical international projects, including such prestigious projects as the Alyeska Pipeline and the Distant Early Warning Site (DEW Line), upgrades in Alaska and the Negev Airbase Constructors, Ovda, Israel and the Minas Oil Field in Rumbai, Sumatra. His current client list includes Fortune 500 major telecommunications, oil, gas and mining companies plus the UN Projects Office and many other multi-national companies, NGO organizations and Indonesian Government Agencies.

In addition to 45+ years of hands-on field experience, Dr. Giammalvo holds an undergraduate degree in Construction Management, his Master of Science in Project Management through the George Washington University and was awarded his PhD in Project and Program Management through the Institute Superieur De Gestion Industrielle (ISGI) and Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Lille (ESC-Lille) under the supervision of Professor Christophe Bredillet.  “Dr. PDG” can be contacted at pauldgphd@gmail.com.

To view other original work by Paul Giammalvo, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-paul-d-giammalvo/

[2] Smith, K. F. (2023). Take the Guess out of Guess-timating: Use Milestones to Monitor Project Performance, advisory article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VII, July. https://pmworldlibrary.net/article/take-the-guess-out-of-guess-timating-use-milestones-to-monitor-project-performance/
[3] Flom, Peter, (2018) “Five Characteristics of the Scientific Method” https://sciencing.com/five-characteristics-scientific-method-10010518.html
[4] Flom, Peter, (2018) “Five Characteristics of the Scientific Method” https://sciencing.com/five-characteristics-scientific-method-10010518.html
[5] Flyvbjerg, Bent (multiple dates) https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1935014
[6] Butts, Glenn (2010) “Mega Project Estimates- A History of Denial” https://www.slideshare.net/NASAPMC/glennbutts-mega-projects-estimates
[7] “The State of Project Management in Australia, 2022” https://info.aipm.com.au/hubfs/Reports%20and%20major%20content%20assets/The%20State%20of%20PM%202022%20Report%20FINAL.pdf