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Project Schedule Management (Time Management)

Jul 19, 2019 Blog

Project Schedule Management is the timetable of the Project activities. This Schedule document  elobrate how the work will progress over a period of time and takes into account including resource and estimation.

The Project Time Management Processes are:

  • Plan Schedule Management - The process of establishing the policies, procedures, and documentation for planning, developing, managing, executing, and controlling the project schedule.
  •  Define Activities - The process of identifying and documenting the specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables.
  • Sequence Activities - The process of identifying and documenting relationships among the project activities.
  • Estimate Activity Durations - The process of estimating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with estimated resources.
  • Develop Schedule - The process of analyzing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements and schedule constraints to create the project schedule model.
  • Control Schedule - The process of monitoring the status of project activities to update project progress and manage changes to the schedule baseline to achieve the plan.

Key Concepts:

Project Management team selects a scheduling method such as critical path or Agile aproach. Then the Project Specific data, such as activities, planned dates, duration, resources, dependencies, and constraints, are enter into a schedule tool to create a schedule model for the project. The result in project schedule Figure 6.2 provides a scheduling overview that shows how the scheduling method, scheduling tool and output from the project schedule management process interact to create a schedule model.
 

Plan Schedule Management

Plan Schedule Management is the process of establishing the policies, procedures, and documentation for planning, developing, managing, executing, and controlling the project schedule.

The key benefit of this process is that it provides guidance and direction on how the project schedule will be managed throughout the project.

The Schedule Management Plan outlines the criteria for developing, monitoring, and controlling the project schedule.

 The Schedule Management Plan can establish the following:

  • Project schedule model development
  • Release and iteration length
  • Level of accuracy for determining activity duration estimates and contingency amounts
  • Units of measure for time and quantity (e.g., hours, days, weeks; meters, liters, tons, yards)
  • Performance measurement rules and procedures for updating schedule status and progress (e.g., percent complete, SV, SPI)
  • Variance   control   thresholds   for   monitoring   schedule   performance   (e.g.,   percent deviations allowed from the schedule baseline).

Define Activities of Schedule Management:

Define Activities is the process of identifying and documenting the specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables.

The key benefit of this process is to break down work packages into activities that provide a basis for estimating, scheduling, executing, monitoring, and controlling the project work.

Define Activities Tools:

Decomposition

  • Decomposition is a technique used for dividing and subdividing the project scope and project deliverables into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Work packages are typically decomposed into smaller components called activities that represent the work effort required to complete the work package
  •  The Define Activities process defines the final outputs as activities rather than deliverables, as done in the Create WBS process
  •  Involving team members in the decomposition can lead to better and more accurate results.

Rolling Wave Planning

Rolling wave planning is an iterative planning technique in which the work to be accomplished in the near term is planned in detail, while the work in the future is planned at a higher level. It is a form of progressive elaboration.

Define Activities - Outputs:

Activity List - The activity list is a comprehensive list that includes all schedule activities required on the project.

Activity Attributes - Activity attributes extend the description of the activity by identifying the multiple components associated with each activity eg. the activity identifier (ID), WBS ID, and activity label or name, activity description, predecessor activities, successor activities, logical relationships, leads and lags, resource requirements, imposed dates, constraints, assumptions and apportioned effort etc.

Milestone List - A milestone is a significant point or event in a project. A milestone list is a list identifying all project milestones and indicates whether the milestone is mandatory, They have zero duration because milestones represent a moment in time.

Sequence Activities of Schedule Management:

Sequence Activities is the process of identifying and documenting relationships among the project activities.

The key benefit of this process is that it defines the logical sequence of work to obtain the greatest efficiency given all project constraints.

Sequence Activities - Tools

The precedence diagramming method (PDM) is a technique used for constructing a schedule model in which activities are represented by nodes and are graphically linked by one or more logical relationships to show the sequence in which the activities are to be performed.

  • Activity-on-node (AON) is one method of representing a precedence diagram.
  • A predecessor activity is an activity that logically comes before a dependent activity in a schedule.
  • A successor activity is a dependent activity that logically comes after another activity in a schedule.

PDM includes four types of dependencies or logical relationships.

  • Finish-to-start (FS). A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has finished.

                 Example: The awards ceremony (successor) cannot start until the race (predecessor) has finished.

  • Finish-to-finish (FF). A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot finish until a predecessor activity has finished.

                 Example: Writing a document (predecessor) is required to finish before editing the document (successor) can finish.

  • Start-to-start (SS). A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has started.

                   Example: Level concrete (successor) cannot begin until pour foundation (predecessor) begins.

  • Start-to-finish (SF). A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot finish until a predecessor activity has started.

                  Example: The first security guard shift (successor) cannot finish until the second security guard shift (predecessor) starts.

 

Dependencies can be either mandatory or discretionary, internal or external; or a combination of each (e.g., mandatory external):

  • You cannot start on the first floor until the foundation of the building is complete. This is an example of a mandatory dependency or hard logic.
  • You decide that it's best to make door and window frames before the full structure of the wall is in place. This is an example of a discretionary dependency, also referred to as preferred logic, preferential logic, or soft logic.
  • A dependency on an agency external to the project is called an external dependency and usually outside the project team's control.
  • A dependency on anyone internal to the project team is called an internal dependency. Here the project team has some control.

Leads and Lags

  • You must wait at least one month after pouring the concrete for it to dry and cure. This is an example of a lag. A lag directs a delay in a successor activity.
  • You have to pave a driveway in front of the building. The road-roller needs to begin rolling soon after the first section of asphalt is laid. This is an example of a lead. A lead allows the successor activity to start before the predecessor ends.

Sequence Activities - Outputs

Project Schedule Network Diagrams

A graphical representation of the dependencies among the project schedule activities. A summary narrative can accompany the diagram and describe the basic approach used to sequence the activities.

Project Documents updates

  • Activity lists,
  • Activity attributes,
  • Milestone list, and
  • Risk register

Estimate Activity Durations

Estimate Activity Durations is the process of estimating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with estimated resources.

The key benefit of this process is that it provides the amount of timeeach activity will take to complete, which is a major input into the Develop Schedule process.

Factors for consideration while estimating Activity Duration

  • Law of  Diminishing Returns
  • Number of resources
  • Advances in Technology
  • Motivation of staff

Estimate Activity Durations - Tools

In Analogous or Top-down  Estimating we use actual durations from a previous project documented in the Organizational Process Assets as the basis for estimating durations for the current project. Analogous estimating is usually less costly and time consuming than other techniques, but it is also usually less accurate.

You realize that there may be some material delays, so you ensure there are buffers or contingency reserves for some activities to account for this risk. This is known as Reserve Analysis. Contingency reserves are included in the project baseline.

Use of parameters   and   mathematical   calculations   for   estimating   is   called   Parametric Estimating.

We also involve the team in the estimating process through the use of Group Decision-Making Techniques like brainstorming, nominal group technique, and the Delphi technique.

To get a better estimate we come up with Pessimistic, Most likely, and Optimistic values which you can use to calculate a Three-point Estimate using the PERT formula . This helps account for estimation of uncertainty and risk.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) Calculations

PERT is an estimating technique used to determine a weighted average by using pessimistic, most likely, and optimistic values to address activity duration and cost estimating uncertainties.

Let us assume that a project has two tasks, Task A and Task B, with the three-point estimates shown below:

Task

Optimistic

Most Likely

Pessimistic

PERT (P + 4M + O)

Standard Deviation (P - O)/6

Variance {(P - O)/6}2 orSD2

6

Task A

3

4

5

4

0.33

0.11

TaskB

5

6

13

7

1.33

1.77

Estimate Activity Durations - Outputs

Activity Duration Estimates

Activity duration estimates are quantitative assessments of the likely number of time periods that are required to complete an activity. Duration estimates do not include any lags. Activity duration estimates may include some indication of the range of possible results.

 For example:

2 weeks ± 2 days, which indicates that the activity will take at least eight days and not more than twelve (assuming a five-day workweek); and 15 % probability of exceeding three weeks, which indicates a high probability—85 %—that the activity will take three weeks or less.

Develop Schedule in Project Schedule Management

Various diagrams that can be used to depict the Project Schedule:

  • Project Schedule Network Diagrams show project activities, network logic, and critical path activities.
  • Bar Charts have time on the X axis, and bars show the activity durations (e.g., in Microsoft Project). These are also referred to as Gantt Charts which are typically used by middle and lower management.
  • Milestone Charts have time on the X axis, and show the start or finish of key deliverables or milestones. Note that milestones have zero duration. These charts are typically used by senior management.

What is the Critical Path?

The Critical Path is the longest path in the diagram. There can be more than one critical path. Multiple critical paths represent more risk to the project schedule.

 Why do we calculate the Critical Path?

It helps us determine the longest path(s) in our project which is the minimum amount of time needed for the project's completion‘

Total Float is the amount of time a schedule activity can be delayed or extended from its early start date without delaying the project finish date or violating a schedule constraint.

The Total Float (also referred to as just float or slack) of any activity on the Critical Path is usually 0 (zero). Total Float is calculated for every activity in the network diagram to determine the amount of schedule flexibility each activity has.

Free Float is the amount of time that a schedule activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of any successor or violating a schedule constraint.

Project Float is the total amount of time that the project can be delayed without delaying the externally imposed project completion date required by the customer or sponsor.

Critical Path Method (CPM) involves calculating the theoretical early start (ES) and early finish (EF) dates, and late start (LS) and late finish (LF) dates for all schedule activities. We do a forward pass to determine early dates followed by a backward pass to determine late dates.

Critical Chain Method

Critical chain method allows modify the schedule by adding buffers to activities is on the Critical Path to account for  resource uncertainties that could affect the project schedule.

A project buffer at the end is added to protect the target end date for the project.

Critical Chain Method focuses on managing buffer durations, rather than floats.

Develop Schedule Tool - Modeling Techniques

  • What-lf Scenario Analysis evaluates the negative or positive effects of potential "what-if scenarios on project objectives. The outcome of the analysis is used to determine th efeasibility of the project schedule considering possible scenarios. This can be used to prepare a risk response plan to avoid or mitigate the impact of such potential scenarios.
  • Simulation involves calculating multiple project durations with different sets of activity assumptions,   usually   using   probability   distributions   constructed   from   three-point estimates. The most common simulation technique is the Monte Carlo Analysis, where a distribution of possible activity durations is defined for each activity and used to calculate a distribution of possible outcomes for the total project.

Develop Schedule - Outputs

Schedule Baseline

A schedule baseline is the approved version of a schedule model that can be changed only through formal change control procedures and is used as a basis for comparison to actual results.

Project Schedule

The outputs from a schedule model are schedule presentations. The project schedule is an output of a schedule model that presents linked activities with planned dates, durations, milestones, and resources

  Bar charts. These charts, also known as Gantt charts, represent   schedule information where activities are listed on the vertical axis,   dates are shown on the horizontal axis, and activity durations are shown  as horizontal bars placed according to start and finish dates

  Milestone charts. These charts are similar to bar charts, but only   identify the scheduled start or completion of major deliverables and key   external interfaces.

  Project schedule network diagrams. These diagrams are commonly   presented in the activity-on-node diagram format showing activities and   relationships without a time scale, sometimes referred to as a pure logic   diagram

Schedule Data

The schedule data for the project schedule model is the collection of information for describing and controlling the schedule.

 The schedule data includes at least the schedule milestones, schedule activities, activity attributes, and documentation of all identified assumptions and constraints.

Project Calendars

A project calendar identifies working days and shifts that are available for scheduled activities. It distinguishes time periods in days or parts of days that are available to complete scheduled activities from time periods that are not available.

Control Schedule of Project Schedule Management:

Control Schedule is the process of monitoring the status of project activities to update project progress and manage changes to the schedule baseline to achieve the plan.

The key benefit of this process is that it provides the means to recognize deviation from the plan and take corrective and preventive actions and thus minimize risk.

Control Schedule - Tools

 

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews measure, compare, and analyze schedule performance such as actual start and finish dates, percent complete, and remaining duration for work in progress. Various techniques may be used, among them:

Trend analysis.

Trend analysis examines project performance over time to determine whether performance is improving or deteriorating. Graphical analysis techniques are valuable for understanding performance to date and for comparison to future performance goals in the form of completion dates.

Earned value management

Schedule performance measurements such as schedule variance (SV) and schedule performance index (SPI), are used to assess the magnitude of variation to the original schedule baseline.

 

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