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Master of Business Administration-MBA Semester 3

Project Planning & Scheduling – PM0011 - 4 Credits


(Book ID: 1237)
Assignment Set- 1 (60 Marks)

Q.1 Explain the following


a. Rolling wave planning
b. Decomposition
c. Precedence diagramming method
d. Dependency determination

Ans:

Fundamentals of Rolling Wave Planning


Rolling Wave Planning is a technique that enables you to plan for a project as it unfolds.
Therefore, Rolling Wave Planning requires you to plan iteratively. The planning
technique is very similar to those used in SCRUM or other Agile Methodologies.
Essentially, when you use Rolling Wave Planning, plan until you have visibility,
implement, and then re-plan.

For example, suppose you expect to complete the project in eight months, but only have
clarity for the first three months. Then, you would plan only for these three months. As
the project progresses and you gain more clarity, you would then plan for the remaining
months. The Rolling Wave Planning technique uses progressive elaboration, which is the
act of elaborating the work packages in greater detail as the project unfolds.

Rolling Wave Planning does not exempt you from creating a list of milestones and
assumptions for the entire project. As a matter of fact, it is necessary to provide key
milestones and assumptions as it will help stakeholders see why you are using Rolling
Wave Planning and what to expect as the project progresses.

PMP Exam: Rolling Wave Planning and Progressive Elaboration are concepts that are
often quizzed in the PMP exam.
Usage of Rolling Wave Planning in Project
Management
Rolling Wave Planning is used when you just don’t have enough clarity to plan in detail
the entire project. This lack of clarity could come from various factors, such as emerging
requirements. Rolling Wave Planning is particularly useful in projects with high
uncertainty. Therefore, you must use the Risk Management best practices.

For example, in product development it is common practice to prototype before going


into the actual product development. Therefore, in such an environment you would use
Rolling Wave Planning to plan the prototype and then make a decision to proceed to
implementation. Post the Prototype phase, you would plan once again.

Benefits of Rolling Wave Planning


This iterative approach to planning is commonly found in SCRUM and other Agile
Project Management Methodologies. Similar to Agile, Rolling Wave Planning:

• Encourages adaptability
• Encourages planning
• Is great for R&D, High-Tech, Invention projects
• Is good for projects with changing scope

(b)

While it sounds like something you don’t want to happen when planning a project,
decomposition can be a useful tool when managing projects. Decomposition is a
technique used in project management that breaks down the workload and tasks before
the creation of the work breakdown structure. This important step can save time in the
long run.

Overview of the Decomposition Process


Roughly, there are six steps involved with the decomposition process. Once you have
determined the project objectives, you will need to gather the information involving the
project’s deliverables and the tasks that have already been determined. Knowing what
needs to be produced as the end products and knowing the important milestones will help
guide the project to keep it on course.

Once deliverable and task information has been gathered, decomposition takes a top-
down approach to determining tasks and subtasks. The project manager will break down
the biggest items (deliverables, milestones, major tasks) into the smallest tasks. This
process can occur in the work breakdown structure format, or it can be completed as a
mind map and structured later. The idea is to move from the most general aspects of the
project to the most specific and detailed tasks in the project. For example, if you are
writing a technical manual, you would break it down into its smallest components –
chapters. Each chapter could be broken down into research, outline, draft, revision, print-
ready copy.

Once the project has been broken down into the smallest tasks, then work packages can
be created. A work package is a collection of related action items that can be assigned to
a resource as a sub-set of the whole of work that must be created. Double-check that the
project has been sufficiently decomposed into the smallest parts possible.

Finally, the project manager will organize the work packages into the work breakdown
structure. Each package can be assigned a specific code. Once the work breakdown
structure creation is completed, then the work packages are assigned to resources.

When done properly, decomposition will make clear the relevance of each task to the
bigger project picture. The next article in this series deals with the benefits of project
decomposition in project management.

(C)

ntroduction to PDM
PDM is a visual representation technique that depicts the activities involved in a project.
Precedence Diagrams are also known as Project Network Diagrams. In this article, both
terms are used interchangeably. PDM helps you to:

• Communicate: The visual representation make it easier for you to communicate


the flow of project execution or the project activity flow.
• Identify missing activities: When an activity is not identified, it’ll never be done.
By visually representing the activities, there is a greater chance for your team to
identify missing activities.
• Identify dependencies: Each activity is dependent on some other activity. When
a dependency is not identified, the project will be delayed until such a time that
identification occurs. For example, if there is a critical component that is being
produced by a third-party vendor, the final product is dependent on the vendor.
So, even if you complete all other activities, the project will not be complete until
the vendor supplies the critical component.
• Identify critical activities: Certain activities have a greater impact on project
schedule than others. By using PDMs, you can determine the activities critical to
the project schedule. This is known as the Critical Path Method (CPM).
• Create a project schedule: The final goal of PDM is to create a practical and
robust project schedule.

PMP Exam Tip: There are two visualization techniques, PDM and Arrow Diagramming
Method (ADM). Of the two, PDM is used most often.

Now, let’s look at dependencies further.

Types of Dependencies
There are four types of dependencies that you need to be aware of before creating a
Precedence Diagram.

• Finish-Start: In this dependency, an activity cannot start before a previous


activity has ended. For example, you cannot cook a stew before gathering all the
ingredients. Therefore, the activity “Gather Ingredients” needs to finish, before
the activity “Cook Stew” can begin. This is the most commonly used
dependency.
• Start-Start: In this dependency, there is a defined relationship between the start
of activities.
• Finish-Finish: In this dependency, there is a defined relationship between the end
dates of activities.
• Start-Finish: In this dependency, there is a defined relationship between the start
of one activity and the end date of a successor activity. This dependency is rarely
used.

Precedence Diagram Notation


The image displays a simple Precedence Diagram. (Click the image for a larger view.)

You’ll notice that the Precedence Diagram has the following features:

• Events: The Start and End oval shapes signify events. An event is a point in time
having no duration, which is also known as a milestone. A Precedence Diagram
will always have a Start and an End event.
• Activity: There are four activities (Activity 1, 2, 3, and 4), each activity is
represented by a node.
• Dependencies: Each node (Activities and Events) is connected by using uni-
directional arrows. This signifies the relationship between activities. The
relationship between activities can either be predecessor or successor. For
example in the image, Activity 1 has no dependency, Activities 2 and 3 are
dependent on Activity 1, while Activity 4 is dependent on Activities 2 and 3.

Note: Since the activities are represented by the node, Precedence Diagrams are also
called “activity-on-the-node” diagrams.

A Network Diagram will always have the Start and End events. They may also have
other events called milestones. For example, kill-points are milestones. In a Network
Diagram, the start of an activity must be linked to the end of another activity.

(d)

Dependency Determination

Three types of dependencies are used to define the sequence among the activities.

• Mandatory dependencies. The project management team determines which


dependencies are mandatory during the process of establishing the sequence of
activities. Mandatory dependencies are those that are inherent in the nature of the
work being done. Mandatory dependencies often involve physical limitations,
such as on a construction project, where it is impossible to erect the superstructure
until after the foundation has been built, or on an electronics project, where a
prototype must be built before it can be tested. Mandatory dependencies are also
sometimes referred to as hard logic.
• Discretionary dependencies. The project management team determines which
dependencies are discretionary during the process of establishing the sequence of
activities. Discretionary dependencies are fully documented since they can create
arbitrary total float values and can limit later scheduling options. Discretionary
dependencies are sometimes referred to as preferred logic, preferential logic or
soft logic. Discretionary dependencies are usually established based on
knowledge of best practices within a particular application area or some unusual
aspect of the project where a specific sequence is desired, even though there are
other acceptable sequences. Some discretionary dependencies include preferred
schedule activity sequences based upon previous experience on a successful
project performing the same type of work.
• External dependencies. The project management team identifies external
dependencies during the process of establishing the sequence of activities.
External dependencies are those that involve a relationship between project
activities and non-project activities. For example, the testing schedule activity in a
software project can be dependent on delivery of hardware from an external
source, or governmental environmental hearings may need to be held before site
preparation can begin on a construction project. This input can be based on
historical information

Q.2 State and describe process of estimating resource & duration for the activity

Activity resource estimating is a process in which the project team carefully compiles a
thorough listing of the resources that will be needed in completing a project. There are six
inputs that are to be used in the process of activity resource estimating. Those six inputs
are the activity list, the activity attributes, the organizational process assets, the enterprise
environmental factors, and project management plan, and the resource availability. There
are a number of tools that can also be utilized in most effectively estimating the required
activity resources. Those tools include expert judgment, a complete alternatives analysis,
the use of published estimating data, project management software, and the use of
bottom-up estimating. The resulting outputs from this process include activity resource
requirements, activity attributes updates, requested changes, a resource breakdown
structure, and the development of a resource calendar. The successful utilization of
activity resource estimates will help assure that enough resources are acquired without
waste and excessive expenditure.

Activity duration estimating represents the act of quantifying the amount of time that it is
anticipated the activity will take to complete. This phase of the project, that which
consists of the estimating of the amount of time needed to complete all individual
schedule activities, typically and traditionally takes place before a project is kicked off,
during the conception phase, however, it is possible for the actual activity duration
estimating period to take place later, perhaps close to or even slightly after the project has
officially kicked off, however, even in those cases a draft or preliminary estimation has
typically been made. Estimations can be made in any calendar unit that seems
appropriate, such as months, weeks, days, etc., the entirety of the activity duration
estimate can be further broken down into subparts or milestones at which certain
elements, or deliverables, of the activity are to have been completed in final or draft form.

The process of estimating schedule activity durations uses information on schedule


activity scope of work, required resource types, estimated resource quantities, and
resource calendars with resource availabilities. The inputs for the estimates of schedule
activity duration originate from the person or group on the project team who is most
familiar with the nature of the work content in the specific schedule activity. The duration
estimate is progressively elaborated, and the process considers the quality and availability
of the input data. For example, as the project engineering and design work evolves, more
detailed and precise data is available, and the accuracy of the duration estimates
improves. Thus, the duration estimate can be assumed to be progressively more accurate
and of better quality.

The Activity Duration Estimating process requires that the amount of work effort
required to complete the schedule activity is estimated, the assumed amount of resources
to be applied to complete the schedule activity is estimated, and the number of work
periods needed to complete the schedule activity is determined. All data and assumptions
that support duration estimating are documented for each activity duration estimate.

Estimating the number of work periods required to complete a schedule activity can
require consideration of elapsed time as a requirement related to a specific type of work.
Most project management software for scheduling will handle this situation by using a
project calendar and alternative work-period resource calendars that are usually identified
by the resources that require specific work periods. The schedule activities will be
worked according to the project calendar, and the schedule activities to which the
resources are assigned will also be worked according to the appropriate resource
calendars.

Overall project duration is calculated as an output of the Schedule Development process

Activity Duration Estimating: Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs

Activity Duration Estimating: Inputs

.1 Enterprise Environmental Factors

One or more of the organizations involved in the project may maintain duration
estimating databases and other historical reference data. This type of reference
information is also available commercially. These databases tend to be especially useful
when activity durations are not driven by the actual work content (e.g., how long it takes
concrete to cure or how long a government agency usually takes to respond to certain
types of requests).

.2 Organizational Process Assets

Historical information on the likely durations of many categories of activities is often


available. One or more of the organizations involved in the project may maintain records
of previous project results that are detailed enough to aid in developing duration
estimates. In some application areas, individual team members may maintain such
records. The organizational process assets of the performing organization may have
some asset items that can be used in Activity Duration Estimating, such as the project
calendar (a calendar of working days or shifts on which schedule activities are worked,
and nonworking days on which schedule activities are idle).

.3 Project Scope Statement

The constraints and assumptions from the project scope statement are considered when
estimating the schedule activity durations. An example of an assumption would be the
length of the reporting periods for the project that could dictate maximum schedule
activity durations. An example of a constraint would be document submittals, reviews,
and similar non-deliverable schedule activities that often have frequency and durations
specified by contract or within the performing organization’s policies.

Q3.Describe the basic elements of a project plan

Project managers leading training development teams use project management tools, such
as plans, to organize and direct task completion. The basic elements of a training project
plan allow a project manager to succinctly communicate the types of tasks required to
complete a project. Using a free template, such as one available from the American
Society for Training and Development website, a manager can develop a comprehensive
plan that contains all the information required for sponsors and stakeholders to approve
the effort. Additionally, the project team uses the plan to adhere to schedule
commitments and accomplish training project goals by measuring, evaluating, and
correcting any issues that arise.

Background Information
The background information element of a training project plan typically describes the
purpose of the training program, expected outcomes, target audience, current
performance levels, and desired performance levels. The project manager uses
information gathered during the analysis phase of this project or previous projects to
complete these sections. Establishing clear performance objectives ensures that the
training program and its participants can be evaluated. Without defining this aspect, the
project manager cannot prove her work has made any difference in improving operations.

Risk Assessment
The risk assessment element of a training project plan usually lists the events that, if they
occur, could impact the completion of the project. This section also includes a description
of the strategies that can be deployed to minimize or eliminate the impact. Common risks
include lack of subject matter expert input, slow review cycles, and limited funding to
produce training products and services. Project managers handle risk throughout the
project life cycle.

Change Management
The change management portion of a training project plan describes what will change a
result of the training project. The project manager should include details about why the
change is necessary, implementation details (such as the scheduling of lectures,
workshops or seminars), the impact anticipated and type of resistance (if any) expected.
This section should also describe how to overcome obstacles and ensure the success of
the training project.

Communication Techniques
The communication techniques section of a training plan lists the messages, responsible
sender, format, and time frame of communication required for the project to be a success.
Types of messages include course announcements, testing results, and requests for input
on new training projects.

Scheduled Milestones
The milestones section of a training project plan summarizes the tasks, due dates, and
accountability for completing all tasks. Creating a realistic schedule (that everyone on the
team endorses) ensures that the project completes successfully. Listing a high-level
summary in the project plan sets expectations about when the project tasks will be
completed and by whom. Project managers may also use software tools, such as
Microsoft Project or Excel, to develop a work breakdown structure including additional
details such as dependencies and start dates.

Conclusion
The basic elements of a training project plan coincide with those required for any other
type of project plan. Training development and delivery projects do have some key
differences. The expected outcomes usually involve changes to human performance, not
products or services. Writing a training project plan for projects of even the smallest
scope, ensures that sponsors, subject matter experts, managers, team members, and even
students all agree on the intent and purpose of the effort.
This template walks you through building a very detailed and comprehensive description of your
project. The finished product can be useful
for:

• setting stakeholder expectations,


• developing a common understanding
of project details with your team,
particularly during project startup
• creating a very solid basis for
building a project schedule.
• Understanding the risks of the
project to the organization and how
it related to other initiatives already
underway,
• controlling it during its duration and ending the project.

The Plan is a contract between the Project Manager, Executive Sponsor, Project Team and other
management of the enterprise associated with and/or affected by the project. Each Project Plan
component is essentially a work product resulting from subtasks in the Make Plan Project
Management task, but can be revised during other project management activities. It is important
to document all parameters that will have an impact on the project, its planning and execution.
The finished product can be 30 pages long describes the following about the project:

• Purpose/background/approach
• Goals/objectives
• Scope
• Deliverables
• Constraints/assumptions
• Related projects/critical dependencies
• Schedule and milestones
• Budget/cost-benefit assessment
• Risk assessment
• WBS
• Quality management approach
• Tools and techniques to be used
• Resource estimates
• Standards
• Change and control procedures
• Roles/responsibilities
• Work plan
• Team contact directory
• Approval sign-off form