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Chapter 5Time Management

Developing and controlling the schedule


Chapter overview

Planning schedule management Defining activities Estimating durationsIdentifying the resource capability Experimenting with the sequenceDeveloping the scheduleWorking with the critical pathControlling the schedule



Planning schedule management

a document that will guide and direct how the project schedule is ultimately managed throughout the projectThe plan may include reference to:the rationale for managing the scheduleany perceived obstacles or constraints impactingappropriate control thresholds triggering an interventiontiming and format of schedule reports (against the plan)processes required to update the schedule project management software for developing the schedulepreferred tools to be used (e.g. WBS, milestones, Gantt Chart)estimating techniqueschange control proceduresrules in calculating percent completedefinitions of actual performance measurement



Defining activities

Verb-noun descriptor (e.g. write report)Unique identifier (WBS number)Activity time (duration v/s effort)Logical relationships (predecessor and successor)Resource requirements Constraints and/or assumptionsRequired standards



Estimating durations

Pre-determinedExpert judgementAnalogousGroup decision makingUnit ratesPublished commercial dataParametric Vendor bidReserve3 point



Identifying the resource capability

Consider the following suggestions (easily recorded in a resource matrix):Resource name—individual name or generic label (e.g. plumbers)Resource type—labour, material,…Resource group—the group to whom the resource belongsResource capability—skills, expertise, prior experience, …Resource rate—what is their normal rate, or other fixed/variable costsResource location—the physical (geographical) locationResource quantity—how many will be requiredResource availability—the actual ‘free’ time they have to allocateResource calendar—what dates are excluded throughout the projectResource report—who does the resource currently report toResource development—will any additional training be requiredResource evaluation—performance evaluations from past projects



Experimenting with the sequence

The development of the project schedule is driven by these activity-to-activity relationships in determining when activities start and finish. Finish – Start: one activity finishes to start the other activity Start – Start: one activity starts to start the other activity Finish – Finish: one activity finishes to finish the other activity Start – Finish: one activity starts to finish the other activity



Developing the schedule

A work breakdown structure is not a scheduleNetwork diagrams and/or Gantt charts create schedulesSchedule activities to start as-soon-as-possibleActivities can be sequenced in–series or in parallelMilestones signify significant points in time (zero duration)Relationships may be mandatory, others discretionarySchedules often represent intent; not necessarily reality unless they are updated regularlyWork backwards to try and eliminate errors and time



Working with the critical path

The longest path(s) throughout the schedule (activities on this path represent the longest duration scheduled for the project’s completion)The path(s) or activities(s) with zero float (meaning nothing can be delayed)The activities(s) or milestone driving the end date of the project The shortest completion time of the project (where the project cannot be completed in any less time within the current schedule).



Controlling the schedule

To effectively control the project schedule, the following actions should be considered:updating changes to the schedule as they occurdetermining the current reporting date of the projectassessing the current status of the project against the published plan to identify true performance re-scheduling remaining activitiesre-circulating the agreed schedule revisionconducting retrospective reviews and walkthroughs to record lessons learned



Review questions

What is the value behind having a schedule management plan?What information does a work breakdown structure capture and how does this help scheduling? Activity duration and resource estimates are often not precise calculations. What techniques are available and how would you defend your choice of technique? What is the difference between critical path and critical chain methods? Explain why project schedules have to be developed, tracked, reported and controlled throughout the project?



Group learning activities

Discuss the rationale for having to manage and control the scheduleCompare and contrast different estimation techniques for their accuracyProvide examples of mandatory and discretionary relationship typesDebate the notion of scheduling work to start as soon as possibleDiscuss how a Gantt chart is both a planning and managing toolDiscuss why schedule intent seldom reflects reality (prior to it being updated)



Assessment options

Debate where the focus should lie - critical path or critical chain Create a detail resource matrix capturing the capability required for a project Construct a Gantt chart to scale of a project reflecting a WBS, activities, milestones, relationship types and critical path Short answer questionsMultiple choice questions





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