When you begin the planning for your project schedule, are you defining the project scope and breaking it down into work packages? Do you ever discover that work may have been missed if you had not completed this exercise?
You are not alone.
It’s just so easy to take off and start building the activities to build the project. It’s already in our head and all we need to do is get that plan on paper. Right?
I’ve found that even for a simple project, it makes the schedule development much more effective if the project team goes through the process of breaking the project down into the basic work packages and cross checking with the bid documents. This is often when we discover some piece of the scope is not included in any bid package. It happens….
This is why planning is a very important part of the schedule development. During the planning process, the work packages are developed, the sequencing of the work package delivery is worked out, the coordination of the work package execution is worked out… The list goes on…
I like to work through the planning process and then develop the WBS for the project schedule. This helps me determine how to develop the activities that create the deliverable work package and also helps with the preferential logic to coordinate work packages and resource usage.
The planning process is also a good place to develop the project calendars, activity coding, and resources. I like having these in place before I start developing the activities. It makes it easier to make the assignments as I go and keep the momentum of developing the work flow going. Having to stop and create a calendar or activity code breaks my flow. I also hate going back and trying to make calendar or code assignments after all the activities are developed. Some activity coding is simple to assign, but activity coding for responsibility, area, level, or CSI is more difficult to go back and add. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The process of sequencing the activities and assigning the durations is easier for me then too. I can compare similar work through the use of activity coding. I can also use the resources I assigned early to make cost loading easier.
What other methods have you found to plan and develop your project schedules?
I’d love to hear what you think!
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Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP