So far we have assumed that all aspects of a project will receive equal treatment in terms of the degree of monitoring applied. We must not forget, however, that monitoring takes time and uses resources that might sometimes be put to better use!
In this section we list the priorities we might apply in deciding levels of monitoring.
• Critical path activities Any delay in an activity on the critical path will cause a delay in the completion date for the project. Critical path activities are therefore likely to have a very high priority for close monitoring.
• Activities with no free float A delay in any activity with no free float will delay at least some subsequent activities even though, if the delay is less than the total float, it might not delay the project completion date. These subsequent delays can have serious effects on our resource schedule as a delay in a
Free float is the amount of time an activity may be delayed without affecting any subsequent activity.
PERT and the significance of activity duration variance was described in Chapter 7.
subsequent activity could mean that the resources for that activity will become unavailable before that activity is completed because they are committed elsewhere.
Activities with less than a specified float If any activity has very little float it might use up this float before the regular activity monitoring brings the problem to the project manager's attention. It is common practice to monitor closely those activities with less than, say, one week free float.
High risk activities A set of high risk activities should have been identified as part of the initial risk profiling exercise. If we are using the PERT three-estimate approach we will designate as high risk those activities that have a high estimated duration variance. These activities will be given close attention because they are most likely to overrun or overspend.
Activities using critical resources Activities can be critical because they are very expensive (as in the case of specialized contract programmers). Staff or other resources might be available only for a limited period, especially if they are controlled outside the project team. In any event, an activity that demands a critical resource requires a high level of monitoring.
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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.