A statement "a plan curve that will be created based on 40% late, 60% early" - does it mean a 40% chances of starting late and a 60% chances of starting early . . . please help me clarify

a plan curve with a large left shoulder, and the right shoulder being 40% late

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    Maybe they meant that 40% of tasks will probably be late, and hope that 60% will be early, so they can rob Peter to pay Paul. Only the person who communicated this poorly to you can really know for sure.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


I think this is based on the project Ogive curve (not to be confused with the Earned Value S Curve of a Performance Measurement Baseline) and I think it is based on "finish," not "start." I created a fake project that is estimated to finish between 20 days (best case), 35 days (most likely case), and 70 days (worst case). Running a simulation with over 750 observations, this is the result: enter image description here

This shows that you have a little less than 20% chance of finishing this project between 35 and 40 days, and a little less than 50% cumulatively at 35 to 40 days or less.

The cumulative histograph is here:

enter image description here

The red line above the 50% mark on the Y axis is approximately 60% cumulative. The blue X represents where that 60% mark intercepts the Ogive curve. The red line on the X axis represents the number of days at the 60% mark, approximately 42 or 43 days in duration.

Therefore, 42 or 43 days of duration would be the planning value that represents 60% early and 40% late on the plan curve.

This is my opinion only of what your question could mean. I'd take Marv's suggestion and go back and get this clarified. This is the only thing I can think of that makes any sense in project management.


I've been doing project management for 15 years and I still have no idea what that means! As I see it your options are:

  1. Ask the person who wrote it to explain what they meant.
  2. If above is not available ask the person who passed on the instructions to you to explain what they think it means
  3. Ignore it and plan as you would for any project, entering this as a risk in the project risk log
  4. Ignore it and do nothing and then challenge anyone who challenges you to explain it

If it is really is a key instruction to you, that cannot be ignored, then you really do have to obtain its meaning from the author or your manager before you proceed.


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