The project planning of activities is aimed at determining the required size, types of work, and time for their implementation to obtain the final results and achieve the project objective. Activity planning covers:
- Description of the scope of project activities;
- Structure of activities;
- Developing a sequence of activities and the relationships between them;
- Identification of key (and critical) activities;
- Assessment of the duration of the activities.
The action plan takes account of the problem analysis guidelines and is based on goal analysis. In describing the scope of project activities, the activities to be carried out within the project must be clearly defined and specified. An accurate picture of the project activities is formed, and the appropriate environment is created for the next planned actions - time and cost.
Work breakdown structure (WBC)
A useful tool for activity planning is the work breakdown structure (WBC). The basic concept is to break down a complex activity into smaller tasks - into their smallest and most manageable units. The structure of work packages can be presented as a detailed list of project activities and tasks.
Activities should be geared towards completing tasks in a logical sequence according to their technical feasibility. Each task can consist of one or more activities. Linking activities ensure feasibility. The task description is a description of the status of the project at a certain stage.
Particular attention should be paid to the task of expressing the state, i.e. what the project should achieve, not process or action. The structure of activity packages is a management tool for identifying all work, assigning tasks, tracking activity development, and evaluating it.
In the process of implementing this tool, it is essential to note its role for other management activities - time planning, quantification of accounts, project valuation, project organizational and personnel support, risk management, and information and documentation, and reporting system of the project.
The scheduling of implementation deadlines and the optimization of the project implementation time is related to the preparation of implementation preparation schedules and the optimization of the deadlines.
Based on the scope of activities and the structure of work packages, time planning is carried out. The expected duration of each activity is evaluated, and a project timetable is developed. The schedule defines the start and end dates of each activity defines their logical sequence and the relationship between the activities. This information is used in the planning, financing, and management of resources.
A schedule is a tool for managing and executing the project. It is used as a basis for assigning responsibilities and for monitoring and controlling project implementation. The schedule is updated on an ongoing basis throughout the project life cycle and reflects its actual progress.
A basic approach to project planning is to develop a scheduling system. There are two types of techniques used for time planning: linear scheduling and network scheduling.
A line graph (Gantt chart) is a tool for charting and monitoring its implementation. It illustrates the duration and chronological order of tasks that can be submitted weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. It sets the start and end times for each activity on a horizontal timeline. The linear graph is used to illustrate the plan. It shows the status of the project, the expected completion time, the forecast of the duration of the tasks, and their sequence.
The Gantt chart is easy to build and read. It shows the development of the project and facilitates the process of its monitoring. It also serves as a useful tool for communication between project team members. However, this technique does not allow the interdependencies between different tasks to be established, and it is almost impossible to assess how a change in one area affects the rest of the project.
Network Schedule (Bar chart)
The network schedule (bar chart) depicts the relationship between the activities and the sequence of their implementation. This model consists of two elements - activity and event. The activity is the main task in the project, which must be carried out during its implementation. The start and end times of each activity are defined as events. Each activity ends with a specific output. The most important (key) activities are those that determine the entire duration of the project. They must be completed in time to meet deadlines. It is necessary to define a time reserve that will allow flexible time planning and efficient use of resources.
The Network Schedule outlines milestones as a sequence of key events that allow for monitoring and control feedback and form the basis of funding, planning, and resource management. With the development of the project, the model should be updated to take into account the inclusion of new activities, the successful implementation of other changes to the project, new needs.
The network schedule establishes the main tasks of the project at its beginning, beginning and end of each task, time for its completion, each dependence between results, tasks, and events. Unlike the line chart, this model shows the progress in the execution of each task or the whole project and enables much better knowledge of all its parts.
Critical path method and the PERT method
Several basic methods are applied when planning deadlines for implementation and for optimizing project timelines. For example, construction projects use the critical path method to analyze the logical constraints and relationships between different activities. Logical schemes (schedules) are drawn up, showing the dependencies and relationships at the beginning and end of the project. The method can be used to construct a logical task chain before the deadlines are set and before the resources are known. For the preparation and implementation of large projects, for example, preliminary research projects, the PERT method is used to evaluate and monitor the implementation of projects.
Resource planning is a logical consequence of planning activities and timing for their implementation. It is based on an assessment of the resource provision of the defined activities within the specified time.
Cost planning takes place at different stages of the project. The planning may be linked to a preliminary justification for the cost-effectiveness of the project, as well as to the true justification for cost-effectiveness.
Resource and cost planning covers the following basic processes:
- Identification of all resources needed to carry out the planned activities, incl. Management and support activities;
- Calculation of the costs of providing the necessary resources - economic evaluation (valuation) of the resources;
- Classification of expenditures by source of their funding - for example, government financial instruments, state and local budgets, loans provided by banking and financial institutions, or other sponsors.
Resource planning begins with identifying the resources needed to complete the project activities. It is based on information from the description of the scope of activities and the developed structure of work packages that details the components of the project.
The list of activities should be copied to the resource and cost schedule. For each activity, a detailed statement is created as a pledge of its assurance with the means necessary for its implementation. The detailed description of the required resources is subject to refinement and changes in the early stages of the project.
As a result of this process, a specific description of the type and amount of resources provided for each element of the project is drawn up.
Cost estimation requires the valuation of the resources needed to complete the individual tasks and activities and the calculation of the approximate cost. Cost forecasting and cost estimation should include an analysis of cost alternatives, as due to uncertainty, the inclusion of new activities, or other reasons, schedule changes may occur.
The cost estimate is presented as a quantitative amount of the cost of the individual resources needed to execute the project, such as human resources costs, organization, and management, construction, acquisition of facilities, equipment, intangible assets, etc.
Cost estimates are expressed in monetary units to facilitate cross-project comparisons. It is essential to determine the unit cost values, which must be based either on statutory amounts or real market prices.
When evaluating a project, it is appropriate to follow the rules proposed in the project management standards. The valuation must be following the requirements of the sponsor in terms of how the project is defined - as a whole or on a cost basis.
When determining project costs, account must be taken of the financing conditions of the project established by the financing party for the types of expenditure - acceptable, eligible or ineligible, ineligible. Also, contributors are required to co-finance project implementation costs. Valuation features of many projects are related to the duration of the project and the need to consider inflation.
The cost plan is the basis for forming the project budget
The cost plan is the basis for forming the project budget. Budgeting is one of the important management activities. The budget is drawn up through an estimate of activity and resource costs and is linked to the calendar. It lists the planned values in measurable quantities, indicates the prices of the resources required and the expected returns within a specified time.
Once the budget is developed, it serves as the main financial instrument for the project. As the project progresses, information on actual costs is accumulated and compared to the budget, which forms the basis for cost control.
Comments from the BVOP™ community on "Resources and Activities Planning"
Project planning aims to determine the necessary size, types of work, and time required to achieve the project objective. This includes describing the scope of activities, structuring them, sequencing them, identifying key activities, and assessing their duration. The action plan is based on goal analysis and problem analysis guidelines. The scope of project activities must be clearly defined, creating an accurate picture of the next planned actions regarding time and cost.
The work breakdown structure (WBC) is a useful tool for activity planning. It involves breaking down complex activities into smaller, manageable tasks. The tasks should be completed in a logical sequence based on technical feasibility. The structure of work packages is a management tool for identifying and tracking all work, assigning tasks, and evaluating progress. Time planning, project valuation, risk management, and information/documentation are also important aspects of the WBC. The expected duration of each activity is evaluated to develop a project timetable that defines the start and end dates of each activity and their logical sequence. This information is used in resource planning and management.
A schedule is a project management tool for assigning responsibilities, monitoring and controlling project implementation. It is updated regularly and reflects actual progress. A scheduling system is used for project planning, with two types of techniques: linear and network scheduling.
A Gantt chart is a useful tool for monitoring and charting the implementation of tasks on a timeline. It shows the duration and order of tasks and can be used weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. The chart is easy to read and shows the project's status, expected completion time, task duration forecast, and sequence. It's useful for communication between project team members but doesn't establish interdependencies between tasks or assess how changes affect the project.
The network schedule is a bar chart that shows the relationship between activities and their sequence. It has two elements - activity and event. The activity is the main task, and events mark the start and end times. Key activities determine the project duration and need to be completed on time. A time reserve should be defined for flexible planning and efficient resource use. The Network Schedule outlines milestones for monitoring, control feedback, funding, planning, and resource management. It needs updating to include new activities and changes to the project. The network schedule shows tasks, their start and end times, completion time, and dependencies between results, tasks, and events. Unlike the line chart, it shows progress and enables a better understanding of the project.
Projects use different methods to plan deadlines and optimize timelines. The critical path method is used in construction projects to analyze relationships between activities and create schedules. The PERT method is used for large projects to evaluate and monitor implementation.
Resource and cost planning is essential for successful project implementation. It involves identifying the resources required for each activity and calculating the associated costs. This process helps classify expenditures by funding source and ensures that each activity is adequately supported. The planning stages may be linked to cost-effectiveness justifications. The list of activities is copied into a resource and cost schedule, and detailed descriptions of required resources are refined throughout the project's early stages. Ultimately, this process produces a specific description of the resources provided for each project element.
Cost estimation involves valuing the resources needed for tasks and activities and calculating the approximate cost, including an analysis of cost alternatives due to uncertainties and schedule changes. The cost estimate is a quantitative amount of resources required for the project, expressed in monetary units for cross-project comparisons. The unit cost values should be based on statutory amounts or real market prices. Project management standards should be followed, and the valuation must meet sponsor requirements. Financing conditions and co-financing requirements must be considered, along with project duration and inflation.
The cost plan forms the project budget, which is crucial for management. It estimates activity and resource costs, lists planned values and prices and predicts returns within a specific timeframe. The budget serves as the main financial tool for the project and is used for cost control by comparing actual costs to the budget.
Comments on “Project Activities, Resource Planning and Scheduling”
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A project life cycle is the sequence of phases that a project goes through from its initiation to its closure.
Established project management models offer a system of knowledge about the logical process of project development. It starts with an analysis of the environment in which the project will take place.
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Project Logic Model (Logical framework approach)
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Resource planning is a process that may help with finding the resources for the project. To identifying resources, planning activities should identify exactly when each resource is required.
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Assessment and evaluation of public sector infrastructure projects
Assessment and evaluation of public sector infrastructure projects is an important project management activity and process that analyzes and evaluates all project factors.
Funding for Public sector infrastructure projects
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