In this article we will examine the project activities, their role and characteristics.
- What defines a project?
- 1. Clarify project goals and scope
- 2. Develop a work breakdown structure
- 3. Deliver a realistic schedule
- 4. Create a project risk plan
- 5. Manage change requests
- Project activities: planning and development
- 1. Setting up project activities
- 2. Defining relations between activities
- 3. Estimating resources needed to perform activities
- 4. Estimating activity duration
To do this, we would like to start from the basics, i.e. the definition of a project and then fully understand the activities necessary for its development.
What defines a project?
PMbok definition of a project is “a temporary effort undertaken to create a unique product or service.”
In other words, it is any endeavor, done individually or collaboratively, designed to achieve a particular goal.
Thus, projects are a temporary effort that is carefully planned, researched, executed, monitored, and delivered within a specified period and within a given cost.
Projects can range from simple to complex and can be managed by an individual or an entire project team.
1. Clarify project goals and scope
Before a project begins, the overall goal, scope and scale of the project must be clearly set out and agreed upon. You can read this article about project scope.
2. Develop a work breakdown structure
Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (Work Breakdown Structure – WBS) is an important part of the project management process, where deliverables are broken down into assignments and activities required to achieve them.
3. Deliver a realistic schedule
This is arguably one of the most common mistakes that project managers and teams make during project management. People often get overly optimistic and ambitious about when a project can be delivered, resulting in getting themselves and the project results in trouble.
The best way in this case is to visualize all aspects and needs of the project in one place, visualize the time sequence of the project, estimate how long each task would take and create a realistic schedule accordingly. This can be done by using the gantt of a project management software.
4. Create a project risk plan
After you have created a thorough list of activities, sub-activities, and milestones for the project, it’s time to ascertain all possible and potential risks involved. At this stage, you need to think about any risks that could impact the project by doing a proper project risk analysis while also estimating the severity of the impact. Once finished, you need to create a project risk response plan explaining the risk management.
5. Manage change requests
A project, by its definition, is something that does not remain static over time and is subject to some degree of change that may relate to workflow or workforce for example. No matter what change, or project change requests are received, a project manager must have a clear grasp of what the impact of this change will be and how to ensure it is handled smoothly and quickly.
Project activities: planning and development
As you can see, a project is therefore made up of activities, and it is through these activities – arranged in a relevant way – that a project can achieve its intended outcome and be completed successfully.
So let’s look more specifically at the role and characteristics of project activities.
Project time management comprises two sets of processes for planning and scheduling project activities necessary for timely project completion.
- Project activity planning and scheduling.
- Project implementation program development.
When planning and scheduling project tasks and activities, the project manager must perform the following four steps:
- Setting up activities.
- Defining relations between activities.
- Estimating resources needed to perform activities.
- Estimating activity duration.
1. Setting up project activities
The first phase of planning and scheduling project activities require the project manager to establish the amount of actions and activities needed to produce project deliverables in a timely manner.
The input to this process will be the definition of the project deliverables.
The project manager should also work on developing project activity templates to help streamline the project planning process.
Specific steps – or milestones – should be identified and approved for each of the listed activities.
2. Defining relations between activities
The next step in project activity planning involves the project manager sequencing all of the activities determined in the previous step.
The manager will use the project task lists, milestone list, and project scope statement per to define the relationships between the tasks.
With the help of project management software ou can set priorities for each of the project activities and make the sequences of activities organized and sorted by importance and urgency.
You also need to define dependencies between activities, which can be either internal or external.
Activities with internal dependencies are related to any actions the project team will take to produce deliverables within the existing work environment, while activities with external dependencies are related to non-project factors that define the success of project-related activities.
Both types of activity dependencies should be addressed and added to sequenced and prioritized task lists.
3. Estimating resources needed to perform activities
At this stage, the project manager should review the stakeholder requirements and scope statement to assess the amount of resources needed to carry out project activities.
Expert opinion and alternatives analysis should also be used in some cases for this purpose.
The project manager should then also develop resource calendars and define the types of resources required.
Once all of this information has been gathered and analyzed, it should be used to make a resource breakdown of activities sorted by type, priority, and time.
4. Estimating activity duration
The final stage of project activity planning and scheduling involves the project manager defining and estimating an amount of work time required to complete each identified activity.
The amount of time will depend on the amount of work effort and resources available for the activity.
The project manager should review the resource breakdown and project activity models to estimate the number of work periods required to complete the identified activities and thereby produce the desired results.
The output of this process is the activity estimates linked to the resource schedules.
The four stages of project activity planning and scheduling lay the foundation for creating a detailed timeline of project implementation.
In a nutshell, a successful project is therefore based on the effectiveness of the individual project activities that are part of the project.