Initiating The Project-8

Initiating The Project-8

Reflect on the assigned readings for the week. Identify what you thought was the most important concept(s), method(s), term(s), and/or any other thing that you felt was worthy of your understanding. 

Also, provide a graduate-level response to each of the following questions:

  1. Many factors can impact the accuracy of activity duration estimates. Describe four of the problems associated with estimating activity durations accurately, and the techniques you could use as a project manager to overcome them.
  2. Think of one thing you have to do this week.  Does it meet all five parts of the definition of an activity?
  3. You are the project manager assigned to build and decorate a model home.  What might be an example of a lead you encounter when scheduling work activities?  A lag?

[Your post should be based upon the assigned reading for the week, so the textbook should be a source listed in your reference section and cited within the body of the text. Other sources are not required but feel free to use them if they aid in your discussion].

 [Your post should be at least 500+ words and in APA format (including Times New Roman with font size 12 and double spaced). Post the actual body of your paper in the discussion thread then attach a Word version of the paper for APA review]

[Your posting should be completed by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. EST.]

CONTEMPORARY PROJECT MANAGEMENT, 4E

Timothy J. Kloppenborg

Vittal Anantatmula

Kathryn N. Wells

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Scheduling Projects

Chapter 8

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Chapter 8 Core Objectives:

Describe 5 ways in which a project’s schedule is limited & how to deal with each.

Use the activity on node (AON) method to develop a project schedule.

Identify the critical path using both the two-pass & enumeration methods, and identify all float.

Depict a project schedule on a Gantt chart by hand, showing critical path and all float.

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Chapter 8 Technical Objectives:

Describe how to adjust a project’s sequence logic using leads, lags, & alternative dependencies.

Build & display the logical network diagram showing critical path and all float with MS Project 2016.

Depict a project schedule on a Gantt chart using MS Project 2016.

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Chapter 8 Behavioral Objectives:

Describe potential problems estimating time accurately & how to overcome them.

Resolve potential scheduling conflicts.

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Web-based software implementations

Carol A. Abbott, PMP, training specialist, Sant-Kadient

“Establishing scope that can be accomplished in a 30- to 60-day schedule helps our clients get started using their web-based applications faster…Project planning for the future

becomes more realistic, improving the odds of success.

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6

Plan Schedule Management

Building blocks of a project schedule are activities

Activity – “a component of project scope work performed

during the course of a project.” -PMI

Clear start and end

ACTIVITy characteristics

Tangible output

Controlled scope

Labor, costs, schedule controlled

Single person accountable

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Format

Plan Schedule Management

VERB

NOUN

Prepare budget

Build frame

Test code

Format

VERB

NOUN

ADJECTIVE

Write final report

OR

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Project time management processes*

Plan schedule management

Define activities

Sequence activities

Estimate activity resources

Estimate activity durations

Develop schedule

Control schedule

* Adapted from PMBOK® Guide

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9

Purposes of a Project Schedule

When will the project be complete?

What is the earliest a particular activity can start, and when will it end?

What activity must begin before which other activities can take place?

What would happen if a delivery of material was one week late?

If one worker is assigned to do two activities, which one must go first?

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Purposes of a Project Schedule

Which worker or other resource is a bottleneck, limiting the speed of our project?

What will the impact be if the client wants to add another module?

If I am willing to spend an extra $10,000, how much faster can the project be completed?

Are all of the activities completed that should be by now?

Can a key worker take a week vacation the first week of March?

How many hours do we need from each worker next week or month?

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Historical Development of Project Schedules

Scheduling as a result of competition

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Method (CPM) – 1950s

Identify activities

Determine their logical order

Estimate the duration of each activity

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PERT

Estimate most likely time needed to complete a project

Estimate level of confidence in completing a project in a particular time

Useful in (R&D) projects

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY Polaris Weapons System

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CPM

Used to plan very large projects

Single time estimates for each activity

Focus on longest sequence of activities

Used to determine how to complete a project early

Useful in construction industry

DUPONT

ENGINEERING SERVICES DIVISION

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Activity on Node (AON) or Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) – scheduled activities are represented by “nodes,” and arrows are used to show the logical sequence

node = activity

arrow = sequence

Most widely used

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5 Factors Limit Project Completion

Logical order in which activities need to be completed

How long each activity will take

How many key resources are available at specific points in the project

Imposed dates

Cash flow

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Creation of Project Schedules

Identify all activities

Determine logical order

Estimate time required for that activity

Assign resources to each activity

Compare schedule with imposed dates

Consider project budget and cash flow, quality demands, and risk factors

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The Project Manager’s Responsibility

Resist pressure to dictate a schedule

Determine a schedule that is possible

Persuade stakeholders that the schedule makes sense

Deliver project according to the agreed-upon schedule

Within each iteration, team considers level of uncertainty & complexity with desired outcomes

Number of team members as resources is often primary limitation

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Define Activities

Use WBS with deliverables only

“What work activities must be completed to create each of the project deliverables?”

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Define Activities

Don’t omit activities

Activity sequencing may uncover missing activities

Schedule will not be approved until all related planning is in place

Avoid adding activities after final schedule is approved

Use previous projects, templates, or checklists as a starting point

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List Project Milestones

Completion of a major deliverable or critical activity

Prior to a large financial commitment

Merging point in project schedule

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Breakout Session! Defining Activities

Using a WBS as your guide:

identify 12-20 activities

List one activity each on Post-it Notes

State each activity in verb-noun (or verb-adjective-noun) format

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WBS with Milestone List

Milestone

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Sequence Activities

What activity or activities can be started right away and do not depend on any others?

What activity or activities can we start next?

Successor activity – an activity that logically follows another activity or activities

Predecessor activity – activity that logically precedes another activity or activities

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Sequence Activities

Place a successor activity after its predecessor

Draw arrow to show the relationship

Continue until all activities have been placed on the work surface

Dependencies can be mandatory or discretionary

Mandatory dependency – logical relationship that must be followed (generally due to physical or contractual demands)

Discretionary dependency – a preferred logical relationship, based on best practices and judgment

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Activity List for Product Upgrade Project

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Network for Product Upgrade Project

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Leads and Lags

Leads are helpful if a project needs to be completed quickly

Finish-to-start (FS) dependency -most common type

Finish-to-start – “a logical relationship where initiation of work of the successor activity depends upon the completion of work of the predecessor activity.” Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

Lead – “a modification of a logical relationship that allows an acceleration of the successor activity.” Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

Lag – “a modification of a logical relationship that directs a delay in the successor activity.” Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Finish-to-finish Relationships

Example: Graphics could be designed while marketing campaign is being designed, but not completed until marketing campaign is completed.

Finish-to-finish (FF)– “the logical relationship where completion of work of the successor activity cannot finish until the completion of work of the predecessor activity.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Start-to-start Relationships

Examples: Graphics design could not start until marketing design started

Start-to-start – “a logical relationship where initiation of the work of the successor schedule activity depends upon the initiation of the work of the predecessor schedule activity.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Start-to-finish Relationships

Least used relationship

Example – a project to replace an old system where the new capability must be started before the old one is completely discontinued

Start-to-finish – “the logical relationship where completeness of the successor scheduling activity is dependent upon the initiation of the predecessor schedule activity.” -Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Breakout Session! Sequencing Activities

Using your 12-20 activities on Post-it® notes:

Arrange the activities from left (start) to right (finish) in logical order

Draw arrows connecting the activities

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Estimate Activity Duration

Evaluate each activity independently

Document all assumptions & constraints

Changing assumptions & constraints could change estimates

Duration – “the total number of work periods (not including

holidays or other non-work periods) required to complete a

schedule activity… usually expressed as workdays or workweeks.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Activity Duration Estimate Example

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Suggestions for Creating Realistic Time Estimates

Verify time estimations with the people doing the work

Estimate times without initial reference to a calendar

Make sure all time units are identical: working days, work week, months (consider time off for company holidays)

Consider time constraints (see following slide!)

Acknowledge tendency toward optimistic or pessimistic estimations

Be realistic

Adjust estimates based on size, familiarity, & complexity differences

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Inaccuracy in work instructions

Suggestions for Creating Realistic Time Estimates

Possibly time constraints…

Unexpected meetings

Learning curves

Interruptions

Emergencies/illness

Vacation

Resources or information not available on time

Re-work

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Activity Duration Estimating Problems and Remedies

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Learning Curves

The more times someone performs an activity, the better & faster he or she becomes

Rate of improvement can be studied & predicted

Rapid learning leads to faster performance times

PMs should plan for the amount of learning that takes place

PMs should sustain an environment that expects rapid learning

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Learning Curves

The rate of improvement varies by:

how much culture of the organization stresses continual improvement

how much of activity is dependent on a worker versus dictated by the pace of a machine

how much skill is involved in the activity

how complex the activity is

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Learning Curves

Time calculated based upon a rate of improvement

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Learning Curves

Duration estimates improve as early iterations are completed

Estimate is for velocity

Velocity – “the sum of the estimates of delivered (i.e., accepted) features per iteration…measured in the same units as feature estimates whether this is story points, days, ideal days, or hours that the team delivers.”

-https://www.versionone.com/agile-101/agile-management-practices/agile-scrum-velocity/.

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Develop Project Schedules

Identify the critical path

Determines project’s earliest possible end date

Most critical in terms of time

Methods for determining critical path:

Critical path – “the sequence of schedule activities determining the duration of the project. Generally it is the longest path through the project.” -Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

Two-pass method

Enumeration method

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Two-Pass Method

Used to determine amount of slack each activity has

Make two logical passes through the constructed network

The forward pass

The backward pass

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Times Important to Each Activity

Early start date (ES) – “the earliest possible point in time on which uncompleted portions of a schedule activity can start, based upon the schedule network logic, the data date, and any schedule constraints.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

Early finish date (EF) – “the earliest possible point in time on which uncompleted portions of a schedule activity can finish, based upon the schedule network logic, the data date, and any schedule constraints.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Times Important to Each Activity

Late start date (LS) – “the latest possible point in time that a schedule activity can start, based upon the schedule network logic, the project completion date, and any schedule constraints.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

Late finish date (LF) – “the latest possible point in time when a schedule activity can finish based upon the network logic, the project completion dates, and any schedule constraints.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Two-Pass Example Schedule Set Up

Start at the beginning of the project and ask how soon each activity can begin and end

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Schedule Example First Pass Complete

Forward pass—calculate Early Finish for each activity

EF=ES + Duration

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Second or Backward Pass

How late can each activity be finished and started?

Backward pass – “the calculation of late finish date and late start dates for the uncompleted portions of all schedule activities. Determined by working backward through the schedule network logic from the project’s end date. Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Schedule Example Second Pass Complete

Backward Pass—calculate Late finish & late start dates

Late finish date for last activity is same as early finish date

LF – duration = LS

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Float and the Critical Path

Compute the critical path based on float (slack)

Activities with no/very little float need to be scheduled very carefully

Total float – “the amount of time a schedule activity may be delayed from its early start date without delaying the project end date.” -Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

Free float – “the amount of time a schedule activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of immediately following schedule activities.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Float and the Critical Path

Float = Late Start – Early Start

(Float = LS – ES)

Critical path is the sequence of activities that has no float

A – D – F – G

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Breakout Session! Develop Project Schedule

If you have not already done so, create time estimates for your sequenced activities

Make a schedule using the two-pass method

Be sure to identify critical path

Calculate slack/float for all non-critical path activities

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Enumeration Method

List all paths through the network

All paths are identified & timed if the team needs to compress the schedule

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Enumeration Method

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Uncertainty in Project Schedules

Construct the best possible schedule

Manage the project very closely

OR

Estimate a range of possible times each individual activity may take

Examine the impact of each activity on the entire schedule

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Program Evaluation and Review Technique

How does variability in duration of individual activities impact the entire project schedule?

Sequence activities into a network

Create 3 estimates of time to complete each activity

Estimated time = Optimistic + 4(Most likely) +Pessimistic

6

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Program Evaluation and Review Technique

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PERT Considerations

Advantages

Reinforces uncertainty that exists in project schedules

Calculations often indicate expected time is actually longer than “most likely” time

Difficulties

Takes more effort to create 3 estimates

No guarantee how good the estimates are

May underestimate the risk of a schedule running long

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Project Managers and PERT

Infrequently used by project managers

PMs may informally use 3 time estimates for key activities

PMs may use Monte Carlo simulation instead

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Monte Carlo Simulation

An entire range of possible time estimates can be used for any activity

Project schedule is calculated many times (1,000+)

Estimates for a particular activity based on likelihood of various times as determined by PM

Monte Carlo Analysis – “a computerized mathematical technique that allows people to account for risk in quantitative analysis and decision making that furnishes the decision maker with a range of possible outcomes and the probabilities with which they will occur.”

-Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI)

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Monte Carlo Simulation

Computer output: how often project would be expected to take each possible length of time

Advantages

Flexibility allows more realistic estimates

Extent of information provided

Disadvantages

Time requirement

Software and skill required

PMs decide when this specialized technique is worth the extra effort to the project

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Initiatives to Improve On-Time Schedule Delivery

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Show the Project Schedule on a Gantt Chart

Easy-to-understand tool

Horizontal bar chart

A bar for each activity stretched over a time line

Units of time are units used to create schedule

Chart does not show critical path, predecessor-successor relationship, or late start & finish dates

Use scheduling software

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Show the Project Schedule on a Gantt Chart

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Using MS Project for Critical Path Schedules

Set up the project schedule

Build the Logical Network Diagram & identify critical path

Display and print schedules

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Using MS Project for Critical Path Schedules

Limitations to how fast a project can be completed

Consider each limitation in order when using MS Project

Logical order of the activities

Duration of each activity

Imposed dates

Number of key resources available when needed

Cash flow

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Set Up the Project Schedule

Define your organization’s holidays

Turn off change highlighting

Understand types of project data

Set up project schedule

Build Logical Network Diagram & Identify critical path

Display & print schedules

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Define Organization’s Holidays

On Project tab, click Change Working Time.

In For Calendar: box, enter Standard (Project Calendar) if not displayed.

Move to month and year using scroll bar to the right of calendar display.

Click on the day to change.

Click Exceptions tab, then click an empty row.

Enter a description in Name column.

Click another cell in same row to review results.

Repeat these steps until organizational holidays are defined.

Deleting a row restores previous definition.

Click OK.

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Details Dialog for Half Working Day

Select the day, enter a description, then click Details …Click Working Time and modify the From: and To: values.

Click OK twice.

Select the day and click Details…

Click Nonworking and click OK twice.

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Turn Off Change Highlighting

Click Task tab.

On Format tab, Text Styles, Item to Change, enter Changed Cells.

In Background Color, enter White.

Click OK.

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Understanding Types of Project Data

Task Data – WBS data and task data

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Understanding Types of Project Data

Resource Data

Describe each resource with information required for control

Determine assignment load, work, & cost

Identify resource in the resource name field

Assignment Data

Task duration, work values, cost values are calculated at the time of assignment

Calculated when a resource’s work, units, or duration values are changed

View in Task Usage or Resource Usage view

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Build the Logical Network Diagram

Enter tasks & milestones

Edit the timescale

Understand & define task dependencies

Assign task duration estimates

Identify the critical path

Understand the network diagram view

Set up the project schedule

Build the Logical Network Diagram & Identify critical path

Display and print schedules

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Enter tasks and milestones

Edit the timescale

See detailed instructions pp. 271-272 of textbook

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A task dependency definition

a logical relationship

associated lead/lag value.

Defaults:

Finish-to-start

Lead/lag value of zero days

View/create task dependencies graphically

3. Understand & Define task dependencies

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Use same unit of time for each task

Assign duration estimates to tasks and milestones only

MS Project calculates duration for WBS summaries based on durations for tasks within each summary

See detailed instructions in textbook, p.273 & Exhibit 8.23

4. Assign task duration estimates

Duration cell –

Enter duration value –

Assign zero to create a milestone

© 2019 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part, except for use as permitted in a license distributed with a certain product or service or otherwise on a password-protected website for classroom use.

Critical Path task Gantt bars and Network Diagram task nodes are red

Add Critical Path marking to Gantt Chart graphical view

See Exhibit 8.23

Click Task – Format – Bar Styles – Critical Tasks – OK

5. Identify the Critical Path

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Task tab – Task Views group – Network Diagram

**Detailed instructions p.275 in textbook**

6. Understand the network diagram view

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Display and Print Schedules with MS Project

Project scheduling software may not be available to all members of the project team, so emailing won’t work

Create an output that can be printed and easily read (pdf file format)

File – Print – appropriate settings (see p.275) – Print

Set up the project schedule

Build the Logical Network Diagram & Identify critical path

Display and print schedules

© 2019 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part, except for use as permitted in a license distributed with a certain product or service or otherwise on a password-protected website for classroom use.

Summary

Project schedules are created by listing all activities that will need to be performed (define activities)

Determine predecessors and successors to sequence activities (sequence activities)

Estimate how long each activity will take (estimate activity durations)

Develop schedule is an iterative process

How?

By whom?

How long?

How much?

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Incremental/Iterative Software Development Project Sample Project Schedule

PM IN ACTION

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Incremental/Iterative Software Development Project Sample Project Schedule

PM IN ACTION

Can be easily modified depending on project complexity

At end of each of 3 project stages, PM may reassess development & testing estimates

Change approval board (CAB)

Meets regularly to assess, approve, or reject proposed systems changes

Must be notified ASAP of any delays

Development stage broken into several components

Time set aside to test each component after development

New component development begins as soon as previous one is completed

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PMBOK Exams

You will see many scheduling questions on CAPM or PMP exam

Generally involve computation/application—use Exercises on pp.278-279 of text for practice

As general rule, always strive to preserve critical path, since any delays to it will delay the overall project

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Casa de Paz Development Project

Five features were placed in the product backlog.

Website further development was selected to schedule first.

Details for the website were determined.

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