Project plans should include activities grouped into deliverables. Deliverables are project milestones. Activities describe the work needed to complete a deliverable. Learning to create project plans that show dependencies between activities, including successor and predecessor relationships, is useful for planning and managing project work.
- Time management expert Alan Laken said: 'Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.' Developing your project plan is a key part of resolving to a course of action. There are many different methods and I've tried a lot of them. In this lesson I'll share a straight forward system for creating easy to manage project plans. We need to begin by explaining the difference between deliverables and activities. A good deliverable has to be something that actually gets delivered.
It is tangible or observable and it is either complete or it's not complete. Let me illustrate what I mean with some examples of the deliverables for H Plus Sport. Site layout, this is a deliverable because it is tangible and it describes an important work stream. The site layout is either done or it's not done. Someone needs to sign off on it being completed. Occupancy permit. Again it's tangible, it's either done or it's not done and it describes the work stream.
Internet connection, tangible, check. Done or not done? Check. Work stream? Check. Deliverables like these provide milestones for the project. Activities explain how they will get done. Activities are the steps that you take to complete a deliverable. They start with a verb. One of the deliverables we talked about for H Plus Sport is internet connection. So let's look at some of the activities for this deliverable.
Submit order to internet service provider, schedule installation, install internet connection, and test connectivity. Once the activities have been defined we can start to build a project plan. There are two activities which must be part of every project, the start and the end. Nothing else can happen before your starting point and nothing else can happen after the end. Depending on which software you use you may need to put these in manually but they are usually automatic.
The activities in a project plan need to be linked to show the order in which they occur. Every activity needs to have at least one predecessor and one successor. If an activity can start immediately then it should be linked to start as its predecessor, otherwise it should be linked to all of the other activities that need to occur first. You follow a similar process for successor relationships. If there are no activities depending on it then an activity should be linked to end as its successor.
Most software will build the successor relationships automatically. If activity A is a predecessor to B, well then naturally B must be a successor to A. The project leader needs to be able to organize the work of the project. I've found that the easiest way to do this is by creating a list of deliverables, defining the activities required for each of them and then linking the activities based on the sequence in which they need to occur. This system of deliverables and activities, predecessors and successors is so flexible that it can be incorporated into any one of several project management tools.
And I think that you'll find this approach is easy to use, really useful for building project plans that are easy to manage.
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- Describe the responsibilities of a project leader by using the DIRECT framework.
- Explain the role of Root Cause Analysis.
- Identify the common elements of a Project Charter.
- Describe the contents of a SWOT Analysis.
- Explain the difference between a weak project manager and a strong project manager.
- Understand the difference between qualitative metrics and quantitative metrics.List several tools that can be used for managing a project.
- Describe several techniques that can be used when managing the change created by a project.
- Explain the difference between a change and a transition.
- Explain the importance of capturing lessons learned from a project.