Network scheduling techniques in project management

Network scheduling techniques in project management

During planning, the project manager needs to define the schedule of the project Networking and scheduling techniques are used for planning, and later, administering the projects' progress. These techniques help in managing the project effectively by identifying the project duration and critical activities more accurately, assessing the scheduling at specific intervals to take remedial measures in advance, aiding the optimum resource utilization and supporting the management in taking informed decisions.

The steps in developing the schedule of the project are as follows:

Create a List of Activities: The list of activities can be made by breaking down the work packages of WBS into activities. The question to be asked Is — What al! steps do you need to undertake to make the deliverable? Each step is an activity. For example, if you need to paint a room, the activities may be the following:

  • Choose and identify the color/shade to be applied
  • Procure paint
  • Prepare the walls by scraping and cleaning
  • Apply putty on the walls
  • Smoothen the surface after putty dries
  • Apply the first coat of paint
  • Apply the second coat of paint
  • Clean the room

This step gives the list of activities to be performed in the project.

Define the Sequence of Activities: Identify dependencies between the activities to understand whether activities can be done in parallel, or they must be done in a sequence. Besides, you need to define any lag between the activities. In the aforementioned example:

Procurement of paint can happen side-by-side while preparing the walls for painting.

After putty has been applied to the walls, it needs to get dried before you can start working further on it.

Estimate Duration for Each Activity: Understand how long an activity will take. Here, you can use techniques similar to what you used for estimating costs. Expert judgment, parametric, analogous, bottom-up estimating all of these techniques can be used for determining the duration of activities. When you are doing this, resources also need to be estimated for each of the activities, as duration will depend on the resources used. A senior resource may be able to finish an activity faster than an inexperienced resource.

Create the Schedule for the Entire Project: Using the inputs from abovementioned steps, you can develop the schedule. There are three important networking and scheduling techniques used in the project management, which are Critical Path Method (CPM), Programmed Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and Gantt Chart. Let's discuss these methods in detail.

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