Before work commences on a project or, possibly, a stage of a larger project, the project plan must be developed to the level of showing dates when each activity should start and finish and when and how much of each resource will be required. Once the plan has been refined to this level of detail we call it a project schedule. Creating a project schedule comprises four main stages.
The first step in producing the plan is to decide what activities need to be carried out and in what order they are to be done. From this we can construct an ideal activity plan - that is, a plan of when each activity would ideally be undertaken were resources not a constraint. It is the creation of the ideal activity plan that we shall discuss in this chapter. This activity plan is generated by Steps 4 and 5 of Step Wise (Figure 6.1 ).
On a large project, detailed plans for the later stages will be delayed until information about the work required has emerged from the earlier stages.
The ideal activity plan will then be the subject of an activity risk analysis, aimed at identifying potential problems. This might suggest alterations to the ideal activity plan and will almost certainly have implications for resource allocation. Activity risk analysis is the subject of Chapter 7.
The third step is resource allocation. The expected availability of resources might place constraints on when certain activities can be carried out, and our ideal plan might need to be adapted to take account of this. Resource allocation is covered in Chapter 8.
The final step is schedule production. Once resources have been allocated to each activity, we will be in a position to draw up and publish a project schedule, which indicates planned start and completion dates and a resource requirements statement for each activity. Chapter 9 discusses how this is done and the role of the schedule in managing a project.
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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.