Representing and Scheduling Project Plans




  Representing and Scheduling Project Plans

A project manager has a wide variety of techniques available for depicting and documenting project plans. These planning documents can take the form of graphical or textual reports, although graphical reports have become most popular for depicting project plans. The most commonly used methods are Gantt charts and Network diagrams. Because Gantt charts do not show how tasks must be ordered (precedence) but simply show when a task should begin and when it should end, they are often more useful for depicting relatively simple projects or subparts of a larger project, the activities of a single worker, or for monitoring the progress of activities compared to scheduled completion dates (see Figure 3-20A). Recall that a Network diagram shows the ordering of activities by connecting a task to its predecessor and successor tasks (see Figure 3-20B). Sometimes a Network diagram is preferable; other times a

FIGURE 3-20 Graphical diagrams that depict project plans: (A) A Gantt chart, (B) A Network diagram

Representing and Scheduling Project PlansA

 

Representing and Scheduling Project PlansB

 Gantt chart more easily shows certain aspects of a project. Here are the key differences between these two representations:

  • A Gantt chart shows the duration of tasks, whereas a Network diagram shows the sequence dependencies between tasks.
  • A Gantt chart shows the time overlap of tasks, whereas a Network diagram does not show time overlap but does show which tasks could be done in parallel.
  • Some forms of Gantt charts can show slack time available within an earliest start and latest finish date. A Network diagram shows these data within activity rectangles.

FIGURE 3-21 A screen from Microsoft Project for Windows summarizes all project activities, their durations in weeks, and their scheduled starting and ending dates.

Representing and Scheduling Project Plans

Project managers also use textual reports that depict resource utilization by tasks, complexity of the project, and cost distributions to control activities. For example, Figure 3-21 shows a screen from Microsoft Project for Windows that summarizes all project activities, their durations in weeks, and their scheduled starting and ending dates. Most project managers use computer-based systems to help develop their graphical and textual reports. Later in this chapter, we discuss these automated systems in more detail. A project manager will periodically review the status of all ongoing project task activities to assess whether the activities will be completed early, on time, or late. If early or late, the duration of the activity, depicted in column 2 of Figure 3-21, can be updated.

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Once changed, the scheduled start and finish times of all subsequent tasks will also change. Making such a change will also alter a Gantt chart or Network diagram used to represent the project tasks. The ability to easily make changes to a project is a powerful feature of most project management environments. It allows the project manager to determine easily how changes in task duration affect the project completion date. It is also useful for examining the impact of “what if” scenarios for adding or reducing resources, such as personnel, for an activity.

 



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: The focus of project closedown is to bring the project to an end. Projects can conclude with a natural or unnatural termination. view more..
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Ans: Project execution puts the baseline project plan into action. view more..
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Ans: The next step in the project management process is project planning. Project planning involves defining clear, discrete activities and the work needed to complete each activity within a single project. view more..
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Ans: A project manager has a wide variety of techniques available for depicting and documenting project plans. view more..
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Ans: Project scheduling and management requires that time, costs, and resources be controlled. view more..
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Ans: One of the most difficult and most error-prone activities when constructing a project schedule is the determination of the time duration for each task within a work breakdown structure. view more..
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Ans: lthough Pine Valley Furniture has historically been a manufacturing company, it recently entered the direct sales market for selected target markets. view more..
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Ans: A wide variety of automated project management tools are available to help you manage a development project. view more..
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Ans: Defining the general project information includes obtaining the name of the project and project manager and the starting or ending date of the project. view more..
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Ans: A wide variety of automated project management tools are available to help you manage a development project. view more..
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Ans: Project identification and selection consists of three primary activities: identifying potential development projects, classifying and ranking projects, and selecting projects for development. Each of these activities is described next. view more..
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Ans: Many activities performed during initiation and planning could also be completed during the next phase of the SDLC—systems analysis. view more..
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Ans: Most information systems projects have budgets and deadlines. view more..
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Ans: All the information collected during project initiation and planning is collected and organized into a document called the baseline project plan. view more..
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Ans: Most businesses have discovered the power of Internet-based electronic commerce as a means to communicate efficiently with customers and to extend their marketing reach. view more..
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Ans: As stated earlier and shown in Figure 5-1, the two parts to systems analysis are determining requirements and structuring requirements. view more..
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Ans: Even though we called interviews, questionnaires, observation, and document analysis traditional methods for determining a system’s requirements, all of these methods are still used by analysts to collect important information. view more..
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Ans: Whether traditional or modern, the methods for determining system requirements that you have read about in this chapter apply to any requirements determination effort, regardless of its motivation. view more..



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