5 Steps In Creating A Schedule Where Scope Has Been Defined

Paul Naybour

1) If the scope has only been defined at a high level then the next step would be to fully define the scope with a product and work breakdown structure. The PBS would define all the deliverables that the project has to produce, in a structured way. The WBS would define all the work required to produce those products. For examples a new house would have foundations, wall and roof. The Work would be laying the foundations, building the walls. By checking these deliverable sheet stakeholder expectations we can be confident in the scope.

2) The next stage is to develop a precedence diagram. This shows the dependencies between the deferring activities. To make sure it is robust we would need to review it with the technical leads. This would check that the dependencies follow the actual path for the work.
3) The next step is the accurately estimate the durations and enter these into the dependency network. This can be difficult if the work is novel or you are unsure how many resources are available. It is easier if you have done this type of work before. There we can use comparative, parametric or bottom-up techniques to estimate the duration of each activity. The more data we have, the better the estimate will be.
4) Once we have the duration, we can develop the critical path for the project. This will inevitably need to be optimised and review to make sure that it is realistic and robust. We can do this by comparing to similar projects or by peer review. Often measures may be needed to accelerate the deadline such as increased parallel working or increased resources.
5) The final step is the resource load the project and then optimise the resource demand vs availability. Here we can use resource levelling or smooth to get a realistic and achievable schedule. To make if robust we should make realistic assumptions about resource availability. We can also allow some contingency resources in case any risks occur during the project.

2 thoughts on “5 Steps In Creating A Schedule Where Scope Has Been Defined”

  1. Dear Paul. Thank you for your description of a robust schedule. I understand the importance of resource management on it. Specialist skills could be required in certain projects and project managers need to consider it when scheduling. Resource smoothing is a very good technique because it does not affect the target finish date. I wonder if resource levelling is appropriate, because it delays the project end date. I would have thought that a robust schedule does not compromise the end date. Contingency resources should be crucial. Don’t forget that graduates need more time to finish tasks because they do not have the experience. Senior engineers and experience staff can improve performance and support the project team to finish all the work required with quality and on time.

  2. Paul,

    I always believed this was a bit of a sneaky question in that it mentioned the Scope had already been defined, therefore the WBS/PBS has already been completed.
    I was planning on answering with this List (and of course the relevant paragraphs) with:
    Explaining about the WBS/PBS and then
    1. Precedence
    2. Estimate Duration
    3. CPA
    4. Gant Chart
    5. Resource allocation

    Thoughts? or would this be a max 30/50

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