Scheduling the Work

Scheduling the Work

The schedule is derived from the WBS and contains activity duration, important milestones and work products to be produced, and who is responsible for them. Generally represented as a Gantt chart, but equally useful as a table, the schedule adds flesh to the WBS backbone, bringing the project to life. Here is where the activity estimates come together with the WBS to form a workable schedule.

Good scheduling needs technique, and is almost an art form similar to the creation of a WBS. It starts with knowing the scope of the project, covered in "Defining the Goal and Scope of the Software Project" and is refined in "Considering Dependencies". In this section, we show some of the art of scheduling a software project in the real world as a necessary project management skill. The case study project follows no firm schedule so it drifts toward disaster. In this section, we look at some ways to prevent this kind of aimlessness.

Where We Are in the Product Development Life Cycle

Where are we in the basic software life cycle model that serves as our map? As shown in Figure 1, we are still at the beginning of the product development life cycle, planning the project. Particularly, we are still planning how to do the project that we already defined in "Defining the Goal and Scope of the Software Project", "Creating the Work Breakdown Structure", "Identifying the Tasks and Activities", "Software Size and Reuse Estimating", "Estimating Duration and Cost", "Assigning Resources" and "Choosing an Organizational Form". We are near the end of the how step, as the last significant work product is the project schedule as an addendum to the software project management plan (SPMP). The location of scheduling activities is shown in Figure 2.

Product Process Framework

Project Process Framework

"Scheduling the Work" Relation to the 34 Competencies

The art of scheduling exercises the product development skills of evaluating alternative processes in light of their scheduling implications, especially for subcontracted parts of the work. The project management skills used are WBS building (mostly for refinement) and scheduling. A big part of risk management is done in creating the schedule, since the risk plan is always made against a given schedule plan. Of course, understanding scheduling for selecting and using project management scheduling tools is also a required skill. As in many of the other project planning activities, the people management skills required include negotiating, leading a team to effective performance, and the interaction and communication required to run good meetings.

Product Development Techniques

4. Evaluating alternative processes - Evaluating various approaches

6. Managing subcontractors - Planning, managing, and monitoring performance

Project Management Skills

12. Building a work breakdown structure - Building a work breakdown structure for a project

13. Documenting plans - Identifying key components

16. Managing risks - Identifying and determining the impact and handling of risks

18. Scheduling - Creating a schedule and key milestones

20. Selecting project management tools - Knowing how to select PM tools

People Management Skills

25. Holding effective meetings - Planning and running excellent meetings

26. Interaction and communication - Dealing with developers, upper management, and other teams

27. Leadership - Coaching project teams for optimal results

29. Negotiating successfully - Resolving conflicts and negotiating successfully

31. Presenting effectively - Using effective written and oral skills

34. Teambuilding - Forming, guiding, and maintaining an effective team

Learning Objectives for "Scheduling the Work"

Upon completion of this section, the reader should be able to:

●  Build a real project schedule using the critical path method;

●  Explain what the critical chain is and how it differs from the critical path;

●  Describe several different schedule representations;

●  Explain how uncertainty affects the scheduling of projects;

●  Draw a scheduling network diagram using two different methods;

●  Explain the reasons behind resource leveling;

●  Explain the difference between an activity-constrained and a resource-constrained schedule.


gantt chart, scheduling, life cycle, spmp
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