Chapter Summary

All projects take time—time to plan the project, do the work, control the work, and confirm that the work has been done according to plan. Of course, there are all those other things that eat into a project's schedule: change request reviews, corrective and preventive actions, defect repair, defect repair review, and scope verification. When a project manager first looks at planning the project work, she'll consider, along with her project team, all of the activities that will need to be completed based on the project's WBS.

Once all the project work has been identified and the activity list has been generated, it's time to put the activities into the order necessary to reach the project completion. This means the activity attributes are considered. Those activities that must happen in a particular order are using hard logic, while those activities that don't have to happen sequentially can use soft logic. The sequencing of the project activities happens with the project management team.

Putting the activities in the order in which they'll happen leads to the creation of a project network diagram. It's pretty. The PND most likely will be using the precedence diagramming method—that's where you can clearly identify the predecessors and successors within the project. The relationships between the activities signal the conditions that must be true to allow the work to progress.

Once the work has been organized and visualized, it's time to staff it. This is project resource estimating, which also contributes to the cost of the project. Resource utilization considers more than just the people that your project will need, but also the materials and equipment. This activity considers the quantity of resources the project demands and when the resources are available. This is tricky business in large projects, so rolling wave planning may be incorporated into the project.

Of course, management and the project's stakeholders will want to know how long the project work will take to complete. Now that the network diagram has been created and the resources have been identified, the project management team can have a more accurate estimate of the project's duration. The project manager can use the identified labor, which is common, or the project manager can rely on analogous estimating, which isn't as accurate as bottom-up estimating. In some instances, the project manager can also use parametric estimating to predict the project's duration.

As the project manager examines the network diagram, he'll want to find opportunities to shift resources and determine where delays will affect the project end date. Of course, I'm talking about the critical path—the path with no float and whose activities cannot, better not, be delayed, or the project end's date will go beyond what's been scheduled. Activities not on the critical path have float and can often be delayed if needed. You'll have a few questions on float, and I encourage you to watch the videos on the CD to nail down the float process.

A project manager must control the project schedule. Sometimes, this means compressing the project schedule. Recall that crashing adds people to the project work, but crashing adds cost. The project manager can only crash the project work if the activities are effort-driven. Activities that are of fixed duration, such as printing a million booklets, won't get down faster just because the project manager adds labor to the activities. Other activities can benefit from fast tracking; this approach allows phases to overlap, but increases the project risk.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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