Project Time Management (10 hours)
Project Time Management includes the processes required to ensure timely completion of the project. The main concern of time management is to define what elements of work must be done in a project, and when must that work be completed by.
The major processes are:
- Activity Definition - identifying the specific activities that must be performed to produce the various project deliverables.
- Activity Sequencing - identifying and documenting interactivity dependencies.
- Activity Duration Estimating - estimating the number of work periods that will be needed to complete individual activities.
- Schedule Development - analysing activity sequences, activity durations, and resource requirments to create the project schedule.
- Schedule Control - controlling changes to project schedule.
Time Management Processes
Activity definition involves identifying and documenting the specific activities that must be performed I order to produce the deliverables identified in the work breakdown structure. Implicit in this process is the need to define the activities such that the project objectives will be met. The major outcome of the activity definition process is the Activity List with supporting detail and any required work breakdown structure updates.
Activity sequencing involves identifying and documenting interactivity dependencies. Activities must be sequenced accurately in order to support later development of a realistic and achievable schedule. The sequencing process can be aided by computer software, or by manual techniques, or by a combination of both. The outputs of activity sequencing are Project Network Diagrams and any necessary updates to the activity lists.
Activity Duration Estimating involves assessing the number of work periods likely to be needed to complete each identified activity. The person or group on the project team who is most familiar with the nature of a specific activity should make – or at least approve – the estimate. The outputs of activity duration estimating include Activity Duration Estimates, the basis for these estimates, and any further activity list updates.
Schedule Development is the process of determining the start and finish dates for project activities. If start and finish dates are not realistic, the project is unlikely to be finished as scheduled. The schedule development process must often be repeated (or iterated) – along with the processes that provide inputs, especially duration estimating and cost estimating – before the project schedule can be finalised. The output of this process is the Project Schedule, together with supporting detail, a schedule management plan and resource requirements updates.
Schedule control has three main concerns:
- Influencing the factors that create schedule changes to ensure that the changes are beneficial.
- Determining that the schedule has changed.
- Managing an actual change when and as they occur.
The major outputs of schedule control include schedule updates, corrective actions, and lessons learnt.
Tools for Activity Sequencing
Arrow Diagramming Method – also called activity-on-arrow (AOA) project network diagrams:
- Activities are represented by arrows.
- Nodes or circles are the starting and ending points of activities.
- Can only show finish-to-start dependencies.
Process for creating ADM network diagrams:
- Find all of the activities that start at node 1. Draw their finish nodes and draw arrows between node 1 and those finish nodes. Put the activity letter or name and duration estimate on the associated arrow.
- Continuing drawing the network diagram, working from left to right. Look for bursts and merges. Bursts occur when a single node is followed by two or more activities. A merge occurs when two or more nodes precede a single node.
- Continue drawing the project network diagram until all activities are included on the diagram that have dependencies.
- As a rule of thumb, all arrowheads should face toward the right, and no arrows should cross on an AOA network diagram.
Precedence Diagramming Method – the most common method implemented in project management software. In this method activities are represented by boxes, and:
- Arrows show relationships between activities.
- Better at showing different types of dependencies.
Tools for Schedule Development
Gantt Charts provide a standard format for displaying project schedule information by listing project activities and their corresponding start and finish dates in a calendar format. Symbols include:
- A black diamond: milestone or significant events on a project with zero ducation.
- Thick black bars: summary tasks.
- Lighter horizontal bars: tasks.
- Arrows: dependencies between tasks.
Critical Path Method (CPM) is a project network analysis technique used to predict total project duration. A critical path for a project is the series of activities that determines the earliest time by which the project can be completed. The critical path is the longest path through the network diagram and has the least amount of slack or float.
Finding the Critical Path:
- First develop a good project network diagram.
- Add the durations for all activities on each path through the project network diagram.
- The longest path is the critical path.
Consider the following project network diagram. Assume all times are in days.
- How many paths are on this network diagram?
- How long is each path?
- Which is the critical path?
- What is the shortest amount of time needed to complete this project?
If one of more activities on the critical path takes longer than planned, the whole project schedule will slip unless corrective action is taken.
CPM misconceptions - The following ARE TRUE:
- There can be more than one critical path if the lengths of two or more paths are the same.
- The critical path can change as the project progresses.
- It is important to update project schedule information.
- The critical path may change as you enter actual start and finish dates.
- If you know the project completion date will slip, negotiate with the project sponsor.
PERT Analysis is a network analysis technique used to estimate project duration when there is a high degree of uncertainty about the individual activity duration estimates. PERT uses probabilistic time estimates based on using optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic estimates of activity durations.
PERT weighted average formula:
(optimistic time + 4X most likely time + pessimistic time) / 6
PERT weighted average =
(8 workdays + 4 X 10 workdays + 24 workdays) / 6 = 12 days
Using Software in Time Management
A variety of software packages are very useful in project time management. For example, software for facilitating communications helps people exchange schedule-related information, decision-support models help to analyse the trade-offs that can be made, and project management software can help in various time management areas. However, it is most important not to allow the software to control the time management processes. In particular, remember that:
- Many people misuse project management software because they don’t understand important concepts and have not had good training.
- You must enter dependencies to have dates adjust automatically and to determine the critical path.
You must enter actual schedule information to compare planned and actual progress.
For more details, please read:
Set Text: ch 6, pp 216-254 (essential)
Time Management ppt (180k)
Now do this
- The following case study allows you to exercise your skills in Scope Management.
- Time now for a practical hands-on Scope Management using Microsoft Project:
- Test yourself - and prepare for the final examination – by considering the following review questions:
- You should to discuss these exercises with the other students in the HIT241 class, which you can do on the LearnLine Discussion Group.