Good Project Scheduling Practice
Project managers typically learn to use project scheduling software by the seat of their pants (or skirt), in other words, self-learning. They don’t have the time to attend a course so they battle through on their own or ask for help from a colleague whose seat of their pants is already worn through. Therefore, many people preparing schedules do not understand basic scheduling concepts and utilize incorrect techniques.
To prepare a correct schedule the Work Breakdown Structure and Critical Path Method (CPM) must be understood.
Schedule network analysis uses the logic relationship between project tasks and the duration of each task to determine how long the project will take. If resources, (with their availability), and the effort (hours of work) are identified for the project tasks, the network analysis will use this additional information to determine how long the project will take.
CPM consists of a forward and backward pass. The forward pass determines the earliest times that each task can start and finish, and the overall project duration. The backward pass determines the latest start and finish for each task. The critical path are the tasks whose early and late dates are equal (they have no float) which is also the sequence of tasks that adds up to the overall longest duration.
Total float is the amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the overall project completion date. Free float is the amount of time a task can be delayed without delaying the early start of any other task in the schedule.
Using a start-to-start means that Task B can start once A starts and the lag period is reached, and that Task B can go on to completion. However, it assumes Task A will be completed as planned – which may not be valid.
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