20 Steps of Project Schedule Development Process - Part I

Project Schedule Development Process
Project Schedule Development Process

What is a Project Schedule?

Project Schedule is a list of activities that need to be performed in order to fulfill the project scope. This list is organised in a logical sequence, also called the schedule network logic. The list consists of activity duration, constraints, inter-dependencies among the various activities, activity lead and lag and the resources required to complete the schedule activity. Project schedule specifies the planned start and finish dates of each activity likely to be executed in a project, it also specifies the dates when important projects milestones have to be met. The project scope statement is a key input in developing a project schedule. The project schedule serves as a baseline against which the project progress can be tracked.

The 20 Steps for developing a project Schedule:

Project schedule development is an iterative process and continues through out the project as work progresses. Project schedule is updated as the duration, resource estimates change on account of changes to project scope and budget. Anticipated risks may occur or disappear and this may also result is updating the project schedule
Step 1: Review all information relating to time management that serves as a basis of defining each activity.

Project deliverables assumptions and constraints documented in Project Scope Statement and the Project Schedule Management Plan are important documents that should be considered while developing the project schedule. Project Work Breakdown Structure, Organisational Policies relating to activity definition, lessons learnt from previous project, activity list of previous similar project are other documents that should be referred to while developing a project schedule
Step 2: Support each element of the project scope, as defined in the WBS, by an activity or activities.

Identify the deliverables at the lowest level in the WBS called the work packages. Subdivide the work packages into smaller, more manageable components called schedule activities. The process of dividing the work packages in to more manageable components is called decomposition. Rolling wave planning is another tool that can be used in developing a project schedule. Rolling wave planning is form of progressive elaboration planning where the work to be performed in near term is planned in detail as compared to the work that are at higher level of WBS component. Therefore, schedule activities can exist at various level of detail in a project life cycle

Step 3: Define activities uniquely; include a verb, at least one object, and any useful clarifying objectives.

While defining the activities include the scope of work description in quantifiable terms for each schedule activity so that the project team member can understand in sufficient detail what work is required to be performed.

Step 4: Define the activity list.

The activity list is comprehensive list including all schedule activities planned to be performed on a project. The activity list does not include any schedule activities that are not required as part of project scope. The schedule activities are discrete components of the project schedule, but are not components of WBS. The schedule activities have certain attributes like activity identifier, activity code, activity description, predecessor activity, successor activity, lead and lag, assumption and constraints, resources requirements, Schedule activity can also include other attributes like level of effort, person responsible, geographical location etc.
Step 5: Determine and record the order in which the activities will be performed

The activity list generated as a result of step 1 to step 4 is an input to next stage of schedule development process. The logical relationship among various schedule activities need to be established and documented, also identify the leads and lags among various activities. Relationships among various schedule activities can be established by constructing the schedule network diagram.

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) is an important tool used to establish precedence relationships. PDM is also called Activity-on-Node (AON) and is used by most of the project management software. The PDM method has four types of precedence relationships or dependencies:

(a) Finish-to-Start: The initiation of successor activity depends on the completion of successor activity.

(b) Finish-to-Finish: The completion of successor activity depends on the completion of predecessor activity.

(c) Start-to-Start: The initiation of successor activity depends on the initiation of predecessor activity.

(d) Start-to-Finish: The completion of successor activity depends on the completion of predecessor activity.

Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM) is another method to establish the logical relationships among schedule activities. This technique is also called Activity on Arrow (AOA) and is less prevalent than PDM/AON

There are three types of dependencies that the project management team should impose on the schedule are 

(a) Mandatory Dependency: Inherit to the nature of work being performed

(b) Discretionary Dependency: Established based on knowledge of best practices in a particular application area or where a specific sequence is desired based on past experience on a successful project. This is also referred as preferred logic, preferential logic, or soft logic.

(c) External Dependency: External dependencies are those that involve a relationship between project activities and non project activities.
20 Steps of Project Schedule Development Process - Part I 20 Steps of Project Schedule Development Process - Part I Reviewed by AtulGaurPM on September 18, 2011 Rating: 5

2 comments

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