CompTIA Project+ PK0-004 Topic: Managing the Project Schedule Part 1
December 19, 2022

3. Managing calendars and the project team

When using calendars in projects, you must understand the who and what of scheduling in order to effectively schedule your team and resources. In this presentation, we’re going to look at two calendars. First and foremost, there is the project calendar. The project calendar simply indicates when the project will take place, what days it will take place, and what hours it will be open. You look at the company holidays, and it’s uniform for all project team members. So a great example of a project calendar is that maybe the project work will take place Monday through Friday between the hours of 07:00 a.m. and 07:00 p.m. That’s the acceptable window in which work can get done. And we will observe this list of holidays, and everyone will act the same as far as scheduling their work. So that kind of sets up the parameters for when the project can take place.

Now, sometimes your project calendar may dictate that you have to only work in the evening because you can’t interrupt business. Or your project calendar may be seven to seven days during the week, Monday through Friday, except for these particular weeks when it’s a business cycle. You don’t find a lot of accounting firms doing projects in the months leading up to April 15 in the US. because of taxes. So you have to examine the business cycle and these conditions that dictate when project work can take place. Now, the resource calendar is more specific to the resources. When are the people available to work? So you take into account holidaytime, personal days, maternity leave, and other organisational commitments. Like, you may have Bob on your project, but Bob’s like, “Hey, I can’t work these particular days because I already have assignments with this other project.”

So you have to do some balancing here. Resources, as you know, are not just people. So when we do a resource calendar, we have to look at all of the things that are resources and when they’re available. Some materials may require some lead time. You may have to work with procurement to get materials to your job site. You may have rooms that you want to have, like a training room, a meeting room, or a van. Those are all facilities or tools and equipment that you have to schedule. So when we think of resources, we often just think of people, but the resources are really people, materials, facilities, and then tools and equipment, and you may have to schedule those in order for your project to work.

4. Building the activity list

In order to begin scheduling the project work, you have to understand what the activities are. You must be aware of the nature of the work. So you have to build the activity list. Well, the activity list correlates to the work packages in the work breakdown structure. Structure. This is an activity definition process in project management. These activities are scheduled with the work packages. It serves as the foundation for estimating the work, determining how long it will take, scheduling the work, allocating resources, and controlling the work. And that ties into your work authorization system—how you will allow activities to begin and confirm that they have been completed. The activity list is not part of the work breakdown structure. The activities list is a separate document, and in that document, you’ll list the activity and any attributes or special conditions about the activity.

And then you might also reference how those activities lead up to a particular milestone and how that contributes to your milestone list. Now, if we look at the EDO for defining activities, you need the schedule management plan, the scope, the baseline enterprise, environmental factors, organisational process assets, and the tools and techniques that you’ll use. Decomposition means you’re breaking down the project scope, and then the project scope gets decomposed, of course, into the work breakdown structure for the work packages. And then decomposition allows you to look at the work packages and identify the particular activities that created those elements. At iterations of rolling wave planning, expert judgement means that we’re relying on people who are experts or subject matter experts, like our project team, to help us define the particular activities to do the work. Three outputs of defining activities You get the activity list, you get the associated activity attributes, and then you get the milestone list. because activities lead up to milestones. To define the activities, you need to understand how projects work. But it’s not just project work. Don’t forget about project management work. So as a project manager, you’ll have activities that you have to do to manage the project. So, in the planning process, you need to be able to plan and foresee where the project is going. Sequence those activities in the correct order.

When you look at your project activities, you may have to consider procurement time—how long will it take to order materials from your vendors? And then your project may have internal and external events. Internal events are things within your control, like the sequencing of the work. External events are things that are outside of your control, like waiting for vendors or for an inspector to finish another project so you can move forward with yours. Those are outside of your control. And then there’s a term that really relates to risk. You have both known and unknown events. Known and unknown events: known events mean that you know there’s going to be an issue with a particular vendor or that there’s a risk that a material may not be delivered on time. Unknown events are things that you had not planned on, like one of your project team members quitting. I mean, how could you know that was going to happen?

So an unknown event can also be an issue when you define your activities. Now, decomposition or decomposing—that is the word that you want to use when we talk about breaking down our activity list. If you recall, we take the project scope statement and break it down into the work breakdown structure. We decompose it. The smallest item in the WBS is called the work package. Work packages correlate to project activities. Now sometimes I get a question from project managers: “Okay, if we’re going to break down the scope into work packages like that house project, and we break it down to the kitchen, and then from the kitchen, we decompose it into the cabinets.” Well, then, do I need to decompose the cabinets for each shelf? Maybe even each screw that goes in there? Well, no, that would just be silly. So what we do is use a rule called the 880 rule. Sometimes it’s called the “880 heuristic.” This rule states that your smallest activity should not be less than 8 hours and your largest activity should not be more than 80 hours.

Now sometimes you may have activities that are only going to take two or three hours, and that’s fine; you can break them down to that depth if you need to. But the idea here with this little rule is that you don’t want to get so granular that you’re just creating more work for you, the project manager, and if we broke everything down to 1-hour increments, that would be a tonne of activities to try to schedule and track. 880 is a nice little window in which most reasonable activities can fit. This now necessitates three inputs. You need your baseline scope baseline.Remember, your scope baseline is your scope statement, your WBS, and your WBS dictionary. You’ll need enterprise environmental factors because those are the rules and processes that you’re required to follow. You’ll use organisational process assets—probably historical information or templates—where I’ve had similar projects. So I just adapted them to this project. So those are like the three inputs needed to really decompose project activities. Now, once I’ve decomposed the activities, I have an activity list. This is a separate document. It lists all of the project activities. I may have an activity identifier. An activity identifier is just a numbering system. So you may say everything that’s on the first floor of the house begins with six, two, and three. Everything that’s on the second floor of the house begins with six dots, two fours, everything that’s outside with six dots, two dots, five dots, and so on. So you just append to that identifier. You may also have a scope of work description where we have an activity that says “install the home theater.” Well, the scope of work description could say, “Okay, you’re going to install the home theater, you’re going to run these wires,

this is the particular equipment you should be using for that task, and so on,” where it just nails down what it means to install the home theater. Now, rolling wave planning is something that you do when you’re in the middle of a very large project. And rather than plan out the entire project, you might say, I’m just going to plan out this phase. So rolling wave planning focuses on the work that is most immediate; it understands distant work, but it focuses on the activities that are most immediate today. So rolling wave planning is that you do planning and then execute, and then you come back to planning and execute. So it’s just these iterations of work where I’m really focusing on what’s closest to today. It allows you to get right to work and get moving. Now, phase-gate planning is an approach where we look at the project from the beginning over on the left all the way to the ending on the right. And each one of those blue dots represents a milestone. So we would say, “Okay, the first blue dot is the start of the project, and the second blue dot is the end of phase one.” Well, I know that from the start of the project to the end of Phase 1, that’s going to take roughly 60 days.

And so, when we get to milestone one, that’s the end of phase one. Milestone two, I say, “Okay, in order to get from the second blue dot to the third one, milestone to milestone, this amount of work is going to require only 30 days, and then we move to the next phase, and so on.” So this is milestone planning or phase-gate planning. And the reason why it’s called a “phase gate” is because there could be an opportunity at each milestone or each phase to either stop the project or allow it to move forward. And then there’s usually some type of audit or review that looks at how well the project is performing before it’s allowed to move forward. So that’s phase-gate planning. Both of these have iterations of planning. So this isn’t unusual. Most projects will require you to go back to the planning stage. It’s not a secret that you move back to planning as you need to. Now, templates are a great way of saving time if I’m doing the same types of projects over and over and over. Just use historical information. It’s part of the organisational process assets.

So if I have a project that’s very similar to what I’m doing today, rather than go through all of that work again, I’ll break down the work breakdown structure. Let’s just go back and get that similar project’s Pullit activity list to make sure it’s correct for our current project and move forward. You may also have in your PMO some prepopulated forms and plans based on the type of work that you do. So that’s another example of a template. Now, planning components that can affect your schedule are member control accounts, where we have this control point of how much time and money are available for this chunk of the project. So a control account can address scope,  cost, and schedule, but it can also be used for performance measurement. We can say, “Okay, in the kitchen, the profit margin is really pretty low, but in the home theatre or the finished basement, the profit margin is really good.” So we can balance things out. Or we could say, “Well, we have some delays with the plumbing, but we’ve also come ahead on the electrical.” So it’s just a way of kind of segmenting your project based on time, cost, and scope. If you recall, within a control account, there were plan decisions that had to be completed but that you hadn’t made yet. Those were planning packages. And then you might also have some issues where we had a particular type of tile ordered. The vendor tells us that the tile is now backordered for six months. Well, that’s an issue because we need the tile within a month. So it was okay; we don’t have to decide today. But that issue now is a planning package because we need an alternative.

Activity attributes describe all of the characteristics of the particular activity. So we have to install those cabinets in the kitchen, where we would have the activity name in the description kitchen cabinet, and install the particular activity ID 6231, the WBS identifier, which might also be 6231 relationships. This means what activities are dependent on the kitchen cabinet installation and what activities come after the kitchen cabinet installation lead and lag. Remember, lead time is when you’re allowing activities to overlap; you’re bringing activities closer together, and lag is waiting time. So a lot of times in construction you have lag time, like when you pour the foundation, which needs a couple of days to set up some other activity attributes to be familiar with resource requirements. What resources do you need to complete this activity? Are there any imposed dates on an activity? For example, if a consultant will be present on that particular day, we must complete all of these activities in time for that consultant or inspector, given their constraints and assumptions about activities, and then any other relevant additional information you would document as part of the activity attributes. Activity attributes are part of our activity list, so they follow that around. So any information that you have, you just append that to the activity in your activity list.

5. Sequencing the Project Activities

Imagine that you’re the project manager for constructing a new home for a client. And in this construction project, you would work with your project team in order to identify the project scope, and then you would decompose that scope member all the way down to the work package that would help you create the activity list. Then you would have to take the activity list and put those activities in the best order to reach project completion.

So that rather than the activities just being like a big string of pearls, they begin to become more like a spider web that can branch out to different paths to reach project completion. Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about, or begin to talk about, in this session with the sequencing of the project activities. In order to sequence the activities, there are a couple of different approaches here. The most common is a computer-driven approach. If you use Microsoft Project, you have used a computer-driven approach to sequence activities. All that we’re doing is mapping out the order in which activities should take place. Now, you can do this by hand, and on your exam, you’ll probably have to do this by hand. Some people like to use a blended approach. I find it a little cumbersome. I’d rather just do it on the computer, but if that works for you, that’s great. Any approach you take, though, is going to involve identifying predecessors and successors. Really, it’s just a way of saying what comes before this activity—predecessors—and what will come after this activity—successors.

So, if we’re doing a project where we’re going to add carpet, then we’re going to prime the wall, then we’re going to paint the wall, and then we’re going to hang pictures and paintings. So let’s go to the activity of adding the carpet. Well, adding the carpet, as we said, was the first activity. So it is a precursor to all the other activities in the project. And then the second activity was to prime the wall. Well, to prime the wall, we first have to have the carpet installed. As a result, the carpet serves as a prelude to applying the primer to the wall. to prime the wall. We can’t paint the wall until we’ve primed it, so we’ll have to wait. So priming the wall is a predecessor to painting the wall, and then painting the wall is a successor to predecessors. So all that we’re saying when we go through this is that an activity can be a predecessor, and it can also be a successor. As an example, in this quick sketch, I’m drawing activity A, which comes before activities band C. So before I can do B, we have to do A. Before. I can do C. We must carry out B. So we have predecessors and successors. So that’s a quick example of how to transition from one activity to the next. Now that A, B, and C are all these different activities, they can lead us up to the milestone list.

The Milestone List Remember, a milestone is a timeless activity that shows progress. This is a project management process to sequence activities. Let’s look at the edo. Here you have the schedule management plan, activity list, and activity attributes, the milestone list, project scope statement, enterprise, environmental factors, and your favourite organisational process, assets, tools, and techniques in order to sequence the activities. Well, the tool and technique you’re going to be using is the precedence diagramming method. And guess what? You’ve already learned it from that little sketch. I did ABC in the last slide. That is a precedence diagramming method. Predecessors, successors, we also have dependency determination, which we’ll go over in more detail later, and then leads and lags, which you’re already familiar with: lead is you hurry up. You allow activities to overlap, and lag is waiting time for outputs. You have the project schedule network diagrams, which is where you’re going to draw the flow of the work or Microsoft Project or whatever software you use draws the flow of the work, and then you may have to update your project documents. Let’s look at the precedence diagramming method model, and this is the relationship between activities. Three of these activities that you must be aware of are three of these relationships.

The last one I’ll show you, but I doubt you’ll ever see it. The first and most common, and the one you should always strive for, is finish to start. This is the most common relationship type. If we go back to painting that ballroom, we said we had to put the carpet in first and then we had to prime the wall, so we have to finish putting the carpet in order to start priming the wall. Activity A must be completed before Activity B can begin. So that is what’s called a finish to start. To the left is the predecessor, and to the right is the successor, so this activity finishes, and then activity B can start. jumpstarting the a a a a a a a a a a a a a Sometimes we may have two activities that we kind of want to queue up in our project. We want these two activities to begin like this. So this is a start to start.As soon as this activity is done, these next activities can begin. So activity A must start before activity B can start, so it allows them to kind of queue up the relationship; start to start, finish to finish, means we want both activities to finish at approximately the same time. So, for example, suppose we are installing a brand new network in your building and we want all of the network cables to be pulled throughout the building while the workstations are delivered to each computer. So let’s finish. So in activity A, you’re pulling the network cables, and in activity B, you’re dropping off the workstations or the laptops. So both of those activities end at about the same time. “Start to finish” is the weird one. It’s the one you’ll most likely never see.

“Start to finish” means that activity A has to start in order for activity B to finish. Now, this one does sound really weird. Why would you ever finish Activity B? Wouldn’t you just start with a finish? It’s reversed because it’s used in very special conditions, like just-in-time manufacturing and just-in-time inventory. Or if you’re a chemist, you have some of these types of relationships where activity A takes time to percolate to allow activity B to finish. So there’s some timing or some special conditions that A has to meet so that B can finish at a particular time. Now, finish the ones you want to pay attention to for your exam. The most common way to begin is to have them both begin at the same time. Finish to finish, they’re going to end up at about the same time. Now, you do have some dependencies you have to pay attention to when it comes to scheduling activities. Mandatory dependencies, also known as “hard logic,” are the requirements that the work be completed in this specific order. So you cannot start framing the house until you have a foundation. You cannot start installing the software until you have an operating system. It just won’t work. You have to have things done in a particular order, and that’s called hard logic. Now, soft logic is a discretionary dependency. That means you can do the work in any particular order. like in that ballroom. Some of you may have thought, “Well, I think it’s kind of silly to be putting the carpet in when you haven’t painted.” You should paint first, then put the carpet in. That’s an example of discretionary dependencies, or soft logic.

 So it may be that, yes, you’re right, we should paint and then put the carpet in. However, the paint that we want is delayed by two weeks. So rather than stalling the project, we’ll go ahead and put the carpet in, and then we’re going to add a tarp or some plastic over that carpet so we don’t get paint on it. So that’s soft logic, kind of a special condition. An external dependency is where we’re waiting on someone else or some other constraint. We can’t begin clearing the land for the foundation until they deliver the backhoe or tractor that we need to clear this land. So we have an external constraint. The inspector has to come look at it before we can move forward. You may have some internal dependencies where your project can’t move forward until another project finishes their activity, or you can’t move forward until procurement has finished. So it’s an internal dependency, unique to your project. It is an example of hard logic, but it’s more along the lines of “it’s not the project work, it’s not the activities, it’s conditions that affect your project’s progression.” Just like we could use a template for our activity list from similar projects or past projects or a prepopulated template, we could do the same thing with your network template.

So rather than start from scratch, we can take a similar project and adapt it to our current project. leads and lags. You’ve seen this term a couple of times; let’s just nail it down. Lead time is accelerated time. You bring two activities closer together or even allow them to overlap. So in that big ballroom where we’re going to prime the wall and then paint the wall, it’s 3000 sq ft. We’re going to allow one team to begin priming, and as soon as they get to the end of the first wall, then we can come and paint right after it. So rather than saying all the walls have to be primed and then you can start painting, we can kind of chase that other team around. So that would be an example of lead time. We bring those activities closer together. Lag time is waiting time. We’re ready to prime the wall, but it’s really humid in this southern environment, really hot out, really sticky, and that primer is taking almost 24 hours to cure. So rather than moving activities closer together, we have to wait; we have to pause the painting activity. So lag time is waiting time.

You move activities further apart. Your lag is caused by waiting time. Sometimes we say lead time is negative time because you’re subtracting from the start date. You’re bringing it closer to the start of the project. Lag time, we say, is positive time because you’re adding time. It’s going to take longer to finish that activity because you have to wait for a certain condition. Sequencing output. So when you have identified tasks and you’ve put them in the order that they should happen, using the most common finish to start, then we begin to create a workflow. And that workflow is the project network diagram. It represents all of the required work on how you move from the start of the project all the way to the end of the project. Many people refer to the sequencing that we’re doing here as the schedule. It’s not. That is the project network diagram. It shows how you get from the start to the end. The schedule is when the work actually takes place. Notice that we have not said how long these activities should last. We’ve only talked about the order in which they should take place. So a PERT chart, if you’re a Microsoft Project user and you use a Gantt chart, for example, that’s not a project network diagram. A, P, and D show the relationships between activities and how you go from the start of the project to the end of the project. Next, we’ll do estimating. Before we get into estimating, there is a chance you’ll have to update the project network diagram. So think about that. You have a customer, and they add items to your project scope. Well, when they add items to the scope, you’ll have to update the WBS, the scope document, and the WBS dictionary, and then in turn, you’ll have to update the activities list. So new work comes into the project, and that may mean you have to update the project network diagram, which would affect your sequencing.

6. Examining a Gantt Chart

Examining a Gantt chart A Gantt chart shows the sequence of activities against the calendar. Henry Gantt invented it in Ten. This activity is based on determining the project timeline. A Gantt chart is another type of chart. It’s an example of a pie chart. “Pert” means programme evaluation and review technique. A Gantt chart simply displays the sequence of tasks against the project calendar. It also allows you to examine the effort and the amount of human labour that you need to accomplish an activity. And it also allows you to examine the efficiency with which tasks were actually completed. Now you may also experiment with alternative identifications. This implies that you are considering other options. So a senior engineer versus a junior engineer, or putting two junior engineers on an activity as opposed to one senior engineer, or what have you, it’s just a way of finding other ways to get the activity done. So it’s a what-if analysis.

A Gantt chart shows the relationship between activities and also shows a timeline of activities. Let’s take a look at a sample Gantt chart. So this is one that I pulled from an old project. You can see that it’s dated around 1997. But what we’re seeing here, in the first column, is task identification. This is the result of a Microsoft project. This is your task ID in a Microsoft Project. And then, of course, you see the name of the task. You just type it in as whatever you want. And then, as you put the duration in this third column, it’ll begin to build the duration of each activity. Now in the project, you have to link these together to show when they land. Or you have to choose a start or finish date. If we look to the right, we can see that this activity established the need.

It has a duration of two days. And so it’s going to start on the first available Monday. You can see Saturday and Sunday are greyed out; they’re not available. So it begins on the first available Monday set. The target date is going to have a duration of one day. That’s what the D means. Sometimes duration is seen as “du,” but the duration represents one day. This next activity can begin as soon as the need is identified. So this one can start on Wednesday, and then you can see that each task moves forward. Now notice this task here. Choose the ad location. It has a duration of one day. But this task had some characteristics with the format, which was two days. Both of these are finish-to-finish to finish day.So you can see that they can both finish at the same time. So that’s a Gantt chart. It just shows the duration of activities across the calendar. I want you to notice this one here. On this device test for this particular activity, they’re making an exception where they’re going to work on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes what you’ll see is that the activity will break, and then it will begin again on Monday. It’s just a way of showing that this activity won’t happen over the weekend. But on this particular project, they were able to work on the weekends. And that is a Gantt chart.

7. Estimating Activity Resources

Estimating activity resource needs involves the examination of the activity and then the determination of what resources you will need in order to complete that activity. So you’re answering the question of how much and what kind of resources are needed. Estimating the activity resources required aids in understanding what resources are required. Now remember the resources. The most common one will be people, because you’re going to have resources that do the work. Now, the tools and techniques herein inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs First off, the inputs you’ll need are the schedule management plan, activity list, activity attributes, resource calendars, risk register, activity cost estimates, enterprise environmental factors, and organisational process assets. The tools and techniques you’ll use are expert judgement, alternative analysis, published estimating data, bottom-up estimating, and project management software.

So those are your tools and techniques. As a result of using those tools and techniques, you’ll know the actual resource requirements for your activities. a resource breakdown structure, and you may have some project documents, updates, and resource availability. You’ve already seen the concepts of a project calendar and a resource calendar. Remember, the resource calendar tells you when people are available to do the work. Now, you may have to negotiate for resources with other project managers, especially in a matrix environment. Or you may have to go to functional managers and negotiate for the resources that you need. If that resource isn’t available, you might have to move the related activity, which can cause the next step. There is a delay with the activity or the project. If you need Bob to do the task and Bob isn’t available, you’re going to have to wait until he is. and that may cause a risk or a delay in your project. or you seek out alternative resources. Do you have to use Bob? Do you have to adhere to that constraint?

Or can you find a different resource? Now, activity resources need you to consider effort-driven activities. Remember, those are ones where you can add more labour to complete the task. Do you work with fixed-duration activities? Activities where, regardless of how many resources you apply, you must wait for the activity to be completed. Effort-driven activities can affect the completion date. Remember the law of diminishing returns? You cannot exponentially add labour in order to reduce the duration of a task. The yield for that task and the value of the task are going to be the same regardless of how much labour you add to it. Now, the project calendar is just a quick refresher here. The project calendar is when the project work will take place. The resource calendar addresses when resources can work on your project or when resources may be available. Remember facilities such as a meeting room or a specific piece of equipment. That’s a resource as well. a structure for resource breakdown structure.It’s a visualisation of where you’re going to use resources in your project. It often follows the same structure as the work breakdown structure. It shows the utilisation of resources and tells you where you have resource constraints and where you have to use particular types of resources. This is also a good tool that you can use to identify resource needs or gaps in your resources. You.

8. Using alternative analysis

You may encounter a resource constraint in your project where you have Bob scheduled to complete a specific activity and Bob is not available. Well, alternative analysis is the analysis of what other choices may be available. Do I have to use Bob or can I use Jane for this particular task? The examination of what resources I might use is known as alternative analysis. So I want to look at the needs of the project—what do I have to have in the project? What skills are required? I may look at those resources with alternative analysis and check their capacity. If I have some people that aren’t being utilised right now, can they help with that activity? And then, of course, the availability of certain activities, like in the example of Bob not being available, is a resource constraint. Sometimes, in your projects, you can’t afford the resource that you want. So cost may be an issue. Now, alternative analysis: some trade-offs Here is just an example of a senior engineer versus a junior engineer, where the senior engineer can get it done in five days, but the junior engineer will take eight days.

You know, if the senior engineer does the task, they’re going to be able to knock it out, and you have a high degree of confidence in their accuracy. The junior engineers are going to take a little bit longer. and they’re juniors. They’re kind of new, so maybe you have a medium level of confidence in their accuracy. The senior engineer is going to cost $500 more. The junior engineer costs only $500 less. If this is a purely financial decision, it makes more sense to go with the senior engineer because he can get it done in five days as compared to eight. So it’s only a $500 difference. The senior engineer is also familiar with the work, and the junior engineer may be somewhat familiar with the work. Now, if it’s a time issue, we want to go with the senior engineer. But what about their availability? In this example, the senior engineer cannot work on your activity for five consecutive days. They’ve got kind of a spotty calendar, so they’ve got to pick it up and put it down. The junior engineer worked for eight consecutive days. So the overall duration for the junior engineer may be shorter than the overall duration for the senior engineer because the senior engineer may take 15 calendar days to actually do five days of labor on your project. So that’s an example of an alternative analysis.

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