Construction Scheduling. Activity Codes and Organization.

When the schedule is developed, how do we determine the Activity Coding for each activity?

What is an Activity Coding Structure?

Many PM’s don’t know or care about the Activity Coding. Unfortunately, they are missing out on the use of a great tool.

I’d like to offer several reasons for spending the time and energy to develop and use Activity Coding.

Activity Codes are developed for the schedule based on specification requirements and a Schedule Management Plan. It can be as simple as a specific assignment for phasing. More often an Activity Code Structure is developed to include specific phasing of the project, responsibility for work, areas of work, CSI assignment, weather sensitive or not, and type of work.

I like to develop the schedule Activity Code Structure prior to building the activities out. I usually do it when I set up the calendars, resources, and WBS. After all, it is based on the plan for organizing the schedule and reporting for the various stakeholders. It is also used for schedule analysis.

Once the Activity Code Structure is set up, (Along with the calendars and calendars, resources, and WBS) we can start building out the activities for the project schedule.

If you develop the string of activities for a specific trade, which is how I usually start out the development of each trades’ work, it is easy to assign the resource and activity coding as you assign the activity calendar and resource. By having already established the Activity Code Structure, there is already a ready list of choices. This prevents inadvertently assigning similar coding for the same item.

So, we develop all the activities by WBS with the appropriate activity calendar, resource and Activity Coding.

Now we can sort and group in a multitude of ways based on the Activity Coding Structure we planned and executed.

We can group by responsibility and sort by Start Date if we have already assigned the logic. Or we can sort by Activity ID if we added the activities sequentially in the order of execution. This makes it easier to manage adding the logic. We can then group by area to see how we need to coordinate the work between trades. This is very handy for establishing preferential logic.

We most often use the Activity Coding for Layouts and presentations.

Grouping the schedule by phase and then area is a popular layout.

We can also filter by responsibility which allows us to analyze the planned sequence for each trade and verify scope. If the logic is complete and there are many activities planned for the same work period, resource allocation may be an issue. This layout allows us to assign preferential logic to assign resource flow.

There are many reasons for developing a robust Activity Coding Structure. We use them often and they offer a great method of organizing the activities for analysis.

I’m sure many of you have comments or additional insight into this subject. Please share!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP

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