LEARNING OBJECTIVE This chapter describes techniques used to plan the work elements and activities that need to be carried out in order to accomplish a project.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE You will become familiar with: -clearly defining the project objective; -developing a work breakdown structure; -developing a network diagram; -utilizing a project management methodology called the system development life cycle for information systems development projects.
Planning is the systematic arrangement of tasks to accomplish an objective. The plan lays out what needs to be accomplished and how it is to be accomplished. The plan becomes a benchmark against which actual progress can be compared; then, if deviations occur, corrective action can be taken. By participating in the planning of the work, individuals will become committed to accomplishing it according to the plan and within the schedule and budget.
PROJECT OBJECTIVE The first step in the planning process is to define the project objective – the expected result or end product. The objective must be clearly defined and agreed upon by the customer and the organization or contractor that will perform the project. The objective is the target – the tangible end product that the project team must deliver.
For, a project, the objective is usually defined in terms of scope, schedule, and cost – it requires completing the work within budget by a certain time. Ideally, the project objective should be clear and concise at the beginning of the project. However, sometimes the project objective needs to be modified as the project proceeds. The project manager and the client must agree on all changes to the initial project objective.
WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE (WBS) The next is to determine what work elements, or activities, need to be performed to accomplish it. This requires developing a list of all the activities There are two approaches to preparing such a list. One approach is to have the project team brainstorm the list of activities (small pr.)
For larger, more complex projects, creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) is a better approach. Its hierarchical tree of end items that will be accomplished or produced by the project team during the project. An example of a WBS for a town festival is shown in Figure. The graphic structure subdivides the project into smaller pieces called work items.
The lowest-level item of any one branch is called a work package. The WBS usually indicates the organization or individual responsible for each work item. There is not a single correct WBS for any project. For example, two different project teams might develop somewhat different WBSs for the same project.
WBS The criteria for deciding how much detail or how many levels to put in the WBS are (1) the level at which a single individual or organization can be assigned responsibility and accountability for accomplishing the work package and (2) the level at which you want to control the budget and monitor and collect cost data during the project.
RESPONSIBILITY MATRIX The responsibility matrix is a method used to display, in tabular format, the individuals responsible for accomplishing the work items in the WBS. Figure shows the responsibility matrix. RM use a P to designate primary responsibility and an S to indicate support responsibility for a specific work item.
RESPONSIBILITY MATRIX It is a good idea to show only one individual as the lead, or primary, person responsible for each work item. Designating two individuals as co- chairpersons increases the risk that certain work will fall through the cracks because each person assumes that the other person is going to do it.
DEFINING ACTIVITIES An activity is a defined piece of work that consumes time. When all the detailed activities have been defined for each of the work packages, the next step is to graphically portray them in a network diagram that shows the appropriate sequence and interrelationships to accomplish the overall proj. work scope.
DEVELOPING THE NETWORK PLAN Network planning is a technique that is helpful in planning, scheduling, and controlling projects that consist of many interrelated activities. Two network planning techniques, program evaluation and review technique (PERT) and the critical path method (CRM) were developed in the 1950s.
Since that time, other forms of network planning, such as the precedence diagramming method (PDM) and the graphical evaluation and review technique (GERT), have been developed. All of these fall under the general category of network planning techniques, because they all make use of a network diagram to show the sequential flow and interrelationships of activities.
Network planning techniques are often compared with a somewhat more familiar tool known as a Gantt chart, sometimes called a bar chart. The Gantt chart combines the two functions of planning and scheduling. Figure shows a Gantt chart for a consumer market study. With Gantt charts, the scheduling of activities occurs simultaneously with their planning.
NETWORK PRINCIPLES There are a few basic principles that must be understood and followed in preparing a network diagram. There are also different formats that can be used in drawing the diagram. One format is activity in the box (AIB), also known as activity on the node (AON), and another -- is activity on the arrow (AOA).
ACTIVITY IN THE BOX In the AIB format, each activity is represented by a box in the network diagram, and the description of the activity is written within the box. An activity cannot start until all of the preceding activities that are linked into it by arrows have been finished.
ACTIVITY ON THE ARROW In the AOA format, an activity is represented by an arrow in the network diagram, and the activity description is written above the arrow. In the AOA format, activities are linked by circles called events.
AOA The event at the beginning (tail of the arrow) of the activity is known as the activitys predecessor event, and the event at the end (head of the arrow) of the activity is known as the activitys successor event. All activities going into an event (circle) must be finished before any activities from that event can start.
DUMMY ACTIVITIES In the activity-on-the-arrow format, there is a special type of activity known as a dummy activity, which consumes zero time and is represented by a dashed arrow in the network diagram. Dummy activities are needed for two reasons: to help in the unique identification of activities and to show certain precedential relationships that otherwise could not be shown.
LOOPS In AIB and AOA formats is an illogical relationship among activities known as a loop. In preparing a network diagram, drawing activities in a loop is not allowed because it portrays a path of activities that perpetually repeats itself.
LADDERING Some projects have a set of activities that are repeated several times. For example, consider a project involving the painting of three rooms. Laddering indicates that expert, after finishing one room, can start working on the next room.
PREPARING THE NETWORK DIAGRAM First, select the format to be used- AOB or AOA. Next, start drawing the activities in their logical precedential order, as the project should progress from its beginning to its completion. Then you should ask the following three questions regarding each individual activity:
1.Which activities must be finished immediately before this activity can be started? 2.Which activities can be done concurrently with this activity? 3.Which activities cannot be started until this activity is finished? By answering these questions for each activity, you should be able to draw a network diagram that portrays the interrelationships and sequence of activities needed to accomplish the project work scope.
The following guidelines should be considered in deciding how detailed a network diagram for a project should be: 1.If a WBS has been prepared for the project then activities should be identified for each work package.(Figure). 2.It may be preferable to draw a summary level network first and then expand it to a more detailed network. 3.The level of detail may be determined by certain obvious interface or transfer points.
The choice between the AOB format and the AOA format is a matter of personal preference. The network is a roadmap that displays how all the activities fit together to accomplish the project work scope. It also is a communication tool for the project team because it shows who is responsible for each activity and how that persons work ties into the overall project.
PLANNING FOR IN. SYS. DEVELOPMENT An IS is a computer-based system that accepts data as input, processes the data, and produces useful information for users. A project management planning tool, or methodology, called the systems development life cycle (SDLC) is often used to help plan, execute, and control IS development projects.
SDLS The SDLC consists of a set of phases or steps that need to be completed over the course of a development project. The SDLC is a classic problem-solving approach. It consists of the following steps:
1.Problem definition. 2.System analysis. 3.System design. 4.System development. 5.System testing. 6.System implementation. The SDLC concludes with implementation of the system.
An IS Example:ABC Office Designs A corporation called ABC Office Designs has a large of number of sales representatives who sell office furniture to major corporations. ABC has decided to build an IS. The IS Department within the corporation has assigned Beth to be the project manager of the Sales Reporting System development project. Beth with the help of her staff developed the WBS shown in Figure.
After the project team developed the WBS, the responsibility matrix shown in Figure. After each task was assigned team members, the project manager put together a Gantt chart of the major tasks to be accomplished (Figure). After they created a list of all tasks to be done (Figure). With this list then prepared the network diagram (Figure).
PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE Common features of project management software allow the user to: Create lists of tasks with their estimated durations; Establish interdependencies among tasks; Work with a variety of time scales, including hours, days, weeks, months, and years;
Handle certain constraints; Track team members, including their pay rates, hours worked thus far on a project; Incorporate company holidays, weekends; Handle shifts of worker (day, evening, nig.) Monitor and forecast budgets; Look for conflicts(resources and time conf.) Generate a wide variety of reports; Interface with other software packages; Handle multiple projects;
Sort information in a variety of ways – for example, by project, by team member, or by work package; Work on-line and respond quickly to changes in schedule, budget, or personnel; Compare actual costs with budgeted costs; Display data in a variety of ways, including both Gantt charts and network diagrams.