This month, December 2016, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of PMA Technologies, the innovation-driven subsidiary of PMA Consultants, LLC. As project planning leaders with a vision to create an interactive, intuitive, and visually comprehensible planning tool that promotes collaboration, we have developed a planning/scheduling software suite comprised of NetPoint®, our planning and scheduling application; NetRisk™ for schedule risk analysis (cost risk analysis forthcoming); and most recently, Schedule IQ™, for schedule analytics. Under Tim Mather’s guidance, PMA has built a highly skilled team that includes three directors: Sergio Ponce de Leon, Seve Ponce de Leon, and Dr. Vivek Puri.
PMA Technologies LLC currently holds four US patents, is expecting a fifth in the near future, and has several patent applications pending. Our applications are powered by the graphical path method (GPM®) flexible algorithms that enable real-time feedback and schedule optimization.
- Interactive graphics-based planning systems: US 8249906 B2
- Graphical planning and scheduling system: US 8400467 B1
- Graphical forensic scheduling system: US 8531459 B1
- Interactive graphics-based planning systems: US 8751280 B2
History & Milestones
PMA’s initial vision was a response to industry dissatisfaction with then-available scheduling software and limitations of the critical path method forcefully articulated in an influential article in Engineering-News Record in 2003.
In 2004, PMA initiated the internal development of an application rooted in algorithmic activity, milestone dates, total floats, and the critical path. Dr. Liang Liu (currently professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois) was brought in to collaborate on the pilot application. Dr. Liu recalls:
In congratulating PMA Technologies LLC on the 10th anniversary, I’m particularly proud to have participated in and contributed to the talented development team from PMA Consultants LLC (PMA) that created NetPoint, an innovative and intuitive project planning and control system. NetPoint was developed by combining Dr. Gui Ponce de Leon’s ingenuity and years of project management experience from PMA’s many resident consultants. The patented system was developed by fusing interactive graphics, planning algorithms, and object-oriented programming into software components. NetPoint’s planning-centric concepts, focusing on realistic network logic and interactive graphics for data analytics, stand out among common schedule-centric planning systems with a core database engine. The methodology of the graphical path method (GPM) and its implementation in NetPoint provide an effective and novel approach in engaging all project participants to collaboratively develop functional and practical project plans.
In 2006, PMA Technologies was founded as a subsidiary of PMA, with Tim Mather as a key player in its launch. For long-time critics of CPM scheduling, we finally had an answer. The PMA Technologies 2007 vision statement describes the solution: The current bifurcation between planner and scheduler is collapsed, yielding a complete and comprehensible critical path schedule in a single iteration.
In the summer of 2007, GPM was first deployed on a major project at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
PMA Technologies had a banner year in 2008. On February 11 of that year, we filed our first US patent application, made NetPoint commercially available, and presented at the 2008 Primavera Conference in Las Vegas. Attendees commented: “This is awesome!”; “Incredible!”; “I’ve been looking for this for 20 years!”; and “You stole the show!” Tim Mather recalls, “PMA Technologies was the star of the show. We had interested people stacked layers deep.”
Further improvements were seen in the GPM algorithm in 2009 and 2010 that highlighted self-healing and forensic scheduling capabilities. NetPoint 4 was released, incorporating these improvements as well as a new streamlined user interface.
In 2012, Dr. Vivek Puri joined PMA Technologies; GPM was awarded its first patent; and the risk analysis module for NetPoint—NetRisk—entered private beta, becoming commercially available in 2013.
Currently, products and training from PMA Technologies are employed by more than 100 companies and thousands of users. Students in five US universities have studied NetPoint, and GPM’s influence has reached as far as Thessaloniki, Greece, where it is the subject of a doctoral dissertation at Aristotle University.
PMA Technologies will release NetPoint 5.2 in January 2017 and will feature Schedule IQ along with work breakdown structure, milestone contract dates, resource definition import, fiscal year display, and keyboard shortcuts. Schedule IQ is included in the new version of NetPoint as both a built-in module and also as a separate application for use directly on XER files. It is the most robust schedule analytics tool available that analyzes and scores up to 42 different metrics. Schedule IQ provides visual feedback and easy drill down to guide the user through repair of the weakest parts of the schedule, resulting in schedule reliability.
For the last six years, PMA Technologies has hosted annual conferences that attract owners, engineers, and contractors who come to gain insight into how the latest technology is being utilized for planning and scheduling. Training from experts in planning and scheduling and the opportunity to earn PDUs are also available. The next NetPoint users’ conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 2 and 3, 2017; registration is now open. Come join us and see what ten years of successful scheduling innovation looks like!