Your 'baseline' and 'forecast' are both tied very much to the template that the job was created from.
If there is an issue with the template, there will often be an issue with both baseline and forecast dates. The first warning sign for a construction contract may be the Construction Progress report, whereas for a Preconstruction contract it may be that tasks are appearing in a users My Tasks list much earlier than expected.
Note: Troubleshooting preconstruction workflow baselines and forecasts can be a little more involved due to the use of complex workflow involving logic. This solution article concentrates on construction contracts only.
1. Check the list of tasks to identify exactly where the date are going wrong
You can see that there is a big jump backwards from 5/05/2020 to 27/03/2020 (tasks 1130 to 1140).
2. Scroll right to check the precedents and linked tasks
In this case, it is quite obvious there is not a precedent or linked task... so ClickHome assumes there is nothing stopping the task being scheduled or completed and estimates that it should be started [today] and finished [today + task duration].
You now need to figure out why there are no precedents.
Another invaluable resource for analysing your contract is the 'Critical Path Report'. The critical path is made up of the tasks whose durations actually contribute to the forecast end date.
3. Open the Critical Path report
Navigate to the 'Reports' item on your contract menu, and look for the 'Critical Path Report' (it may look slightly different depending on how your contract reports are configured).
4. The Critical Path Report
The Critical Path Report displays the 'critical path' from the end of the job, back through to the start, with the tasks in the critical path highlighted blue.
In this case the critical path only calculates as far back as task 1150 'Plaster Float', so this is definitely our problem area.
5. Check the template
In this case I go straight for task 1150 'Plaster Float (GF)', as it didn't have any precedents in step 2, and the other problem tasks are linked to this this task.
The template task does have precedents, so we have to go back to the contract task list and figure out what is happening.
6. Return to the contract task list
Neither of the Roof Cover tasks appear, so they must have been deleted. Optional tasks can be deleted in one of two ways: manually by the supervisor (if the task is not required), or automatically by PO matching. In this case it seems that at least one of these tasks should be here, so it has probably been deleted by PO matching rules (or accidentally by the supervisor).
7. Check PO matching rules
In this example there are PO matching rules on both tasks. The inclusion rule is being used, meaning that if no PO matches to the rule, then the task will be deleted. So there is probably no PO with cost code 430.
Note: In this case, the solution would be to fix the PO matching rule(s) (or add a PO in the estimating system) where-after the applicable task would be reactivated when a PO matches the rule. But for the purpose of this exercise we are going to act as if these are ordinary optional tasks which should be deleted by the supervisor if not required.
8. So the precedents are optional...
If all the precedents are optional (as in this example) you're bound to have problems - but you can fix them by adding one or two non-optional tasks as precedents. This way, if some of the precedent tasks are deleted manually or by PO matching there are still some precedents to prevent ClickHome from thinking the task can be scheduled immediately.
9. Re-run the critical path report to validate your changes
The changes successfully enabled the critical path to calculate beyond task 1150. The problem for this contract has been fixed, but if the baseline (target dates) are out you'll want to fix that and you may want to run a forecast as well just to satisfy yourself that the estimated completion date is realistic.
10. Re-run the baseline and forecast (read below first)
The baseline should be run from the start date of the job - it will be calculated against the active tasks without regard for where the job is up to (purely target dates based on the template).
You don't need to worry about the start date when you run the forecast - the forecast just looks at where the job is up to and calculates the estimated dates for successive tasks based on that.
11. But the end date is still not realistic...
If the forecast start dates and end dates increment gradually from start to finish of your contract then the critical path is intact - so you may need to check/increase your task durations (remember only the durations along the critical path contribute to the total duration of the job).
If you're happy with the durations but the forecast duration is still way too short you may need to review your precedents. If there are really critical tasks that don't appear on the critical path report, then perhaps you need to re-jig your precedents. When you have both your task durations and your precedents correct then your baseline will represent the most efficient path to the handover of the house.
12. But the end date is still not realistic...
If you've been through your template with a fine toothed comb and the resulting baseline or forecast handover date is still too early, then you need to build some acceptable 'fat' into the task durations. For example, if everything went perfectly it would take the bricklayers 8 days - but when you look at historical data it always takes 12 days. Perhaps it is reasonable to build your template to the standard - if so, the duration should be increased to 12 days (it is afterall about what is acceptable rather than what is possible).
Note: If the template is accurate for some builds but not others you may need to consider some form of duration scaling (ask your Consultant about how duration scaling can be implemented in your system).
A good way to approach this is to break up your template into stages (perhaps claim stages). You know that 'Site Start' to 'Slab Claim' is always around 1 month. So you look at the forecast date for the slab claim, and it's only 3 weeks - you need to build 5 days into the critical path between site start and slab claim. Lets say there are 5 tasks in the critical path - add one day duration to each.