Planning for Alternate Budgets - Australian Institute of Marine Sciences

All projects rely on the availability of funding. Often government projects are constrained when the project runs over multiple funding periods. This can result in project schedules being split into stages to coincide with budget cycles. This case study shows how alternative possibility plans can be developed. When funding decisions are made, the project can continue to move forward by integrating the appropriate solution into existing schedules.

Director Wayne Greenwood of EndFirst Plans worked with AIMS to develop the alternative possibility plans that could be immediately implemented once the funding decision for 2023 was made.

The task of saving the Great Barrier Reed is a monumental challenge. We’re honoured to have played a part with AIMS.


The opportunity to provide possibility plans for The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) came about during a recent training and consulting session at their Townsville facilities in northern Queensland .

During the initial stages of the training program, AIMS’ project types and current project challenges were discussed. One of the projects that was mentioned was the Sea Simulation (SeaSim) expansion project. This project’s objective is to enlarge the existing facility by 300%. Additionally, all of its operations will be consolidated into one building, featuring advanced technology that was not available when the original building was constructed. As a result, two outbuildings will be freed up for other departments within AIMS.

In the initial project plan the deliverables included: experiment tanks, indoor and outdoor tanks, laboratory facilities workshop, storage and administration offices. However, due to funding availability in the previous budget, the scope was reduced to just the scientific area. Fitting out the administration facilities was to be delayed until Phase 2, for which funding approval would be announced in the May 2023 Federal Budget. AIMS SeaSim staff and visiting scientists would have to be accommodated in other offices spread over the AIMS campus. The two outbuildings would remain part of SeaSim until the administrative offices were completed.

It was disclosed that the new administration area, which is above the expanded experimental tank and laboratory facilities, might not receive funding in the May 2023 budget. This was of concern as additional staff had been employed for AIMS’ other scientific programs along with the construction of two new Research Vessels. This meant that the outbuildings would need to be converted to temporary offices for SeaSim admin and technical staff.


Having identified that the SeaSim project would have two possible ways forward once the funding for the 2023 budget year was finalised, it was necessary to create two separate schedules. Both schedules were developed using OverVue. Firstly, it was necessary to audit the current project and identify exactly which deliverables would be affected if funding was delayed. Then we took the existing project from MS Project and recreated the in OG. We copied the file and labelled them ‘2023 Budget’ and ‘2024 Budget’.

  1. The 2023 Budget schedule was then created by confirming the expected date that the SeaSim scientific area was due to be fully operational. Working back from that date we identified where necessary changes needed to be made to the existing schedule. These changes included replacing sequential dependency links with parallel links when applicable.
  2. The 2024 schedule used the same approach, however it needed to incorporate the expansion in scope in the affected deliverables. This included converting the outbuildings to temporary administration facilities and relocating the workshop and storage areas. This also included replacing sequential dependency links with parallel links when applicable.


The team created two detailed alternative plans. These were then saved as CSV files and incorporated into two separate MS Project files.

Regardless of the funding outcome from the May 2023 budget, the SeaSim upgrade project is now equipped to proceed without interruption with either ‘possibility’ plan.

The collective experience of the team with Wayne’s guidance, produced two effective and realistic ‘possibility’ plans. OverVue’s graphical clarity and ease of use played an important role, including the building of team consensus. The overall time required to analyze the original plan, and develop the two new plans took 2 1/2 days to complete.


  • OverVue presents a powerful yet simple to use graphical interface. The software’s unique project flow diagram, along with its OVERProof, OVERHaul, and Possibility planning processes enabled the team to effectively address the requirement for two new plans.
  • The team’s expertise and experience, along with the software’s capabilities, allows for a quick turnaround time and ensures that the project is given the best opportunity to succeed despite the possibility of a serious reduction in funding.
  • This is another important example of how technology and project management processes can be leveraged to effectively manage significant project scope changes and ensure successful project delivery.

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