As I pointed out in Chapter 4, before scheduling is done, a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) consisting of from two to twenty levels should be developed. To illustrate how a schedule is constructed from a WBS, we consider a simple job of maintaining the yard around a home. The WBS is shown in Figure 5-3.
It is appropriate for this WBS to schedule the tasks at the lowest level. This, however, is not always true. It is possible, for example, that you may break down the work to level 6 but enter only those activities up to level 5 into the schedule.
Figure 5-3 Work breakdown structure for yard project.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that no task should have a duration much greater than four to six weeks.
The reason for this is that you may not be able to keep level six tasks on schedule; you may not be able to manage that tightly. So you schedule at a level that you can manage. This follows the general rule that you should never plan (or schedule) in more detail than you can manage. Some projects, such as overhauling a large power generator, are scheduled in increments of hours. Others are scheduled in days, while some big construction jobs are scheduled to the nearest month.
Don't schedule in more detail than you can manage.
While planning in too much detail is undesirable, if you plan in too little detail, you might as well not bother. As a practical example, a manager told me that his people wanted to create schedules showing tasks having twenty-six-week durations. He protested that they would never complete such schedules on time. They would back-end load them, he argued.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.