Managing the schedule of a Project is not an easy task. Once the project schedule is delayed then the Project Manager and the team has to burn the midnight oil to get back the schedule on track. So, instead of waiting to cross that bridge when you come to it, better plan it properly as early as possible. During planning, one of the important steps is to sequence the activities using proper methods and techniques.
Sequencing the activities is the process of identifying the dependencies and relationships among the activities, and then putting them in a logical sequence to obtain accurate estimation.
Let’s discuss a possible scenario which can happen with any Project Manager while managing a project. Brend is a successful project manager, he already delivered many significant, small and medium scales projects before, which earned him many appreciations from the senior managements.
Recently he took over a challenging project as the assigned project manager left the organization in the middle of the project. The project is in the development phase and nearer to one of the important milestone.
Once he took charge of the project, Brend starts looking into the various available documents and artifacts to understand the project and its objectives. He spends some time to study the project charter, SOW, Project Plans and other such documents stored in the project repository. As one of the important milestones is round the corner, so he picked up the schedule management plans and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to check his current progress and required time to complete the important milestone.
On the project works front, he noticed that all the resources are very much occupied, and working hard to complete the work on its deadline. But by seeing the workload and current work in progress status, he has a feeling that they might miss the deadline to complete the upcoming milestone. So, he called an urgent team meeting and discussed with the team on their assigned works, and also tried to relate the current works with the upcoming milestones.
But to his surprise, he observed that the team is working on some of the activities which are not necessary for the current milestone. Also, some of the activities can be completed in parallel, rather than doing one at a time, which can save time, and make it possible to complete the target milestone without any hiccups.
Now, Brend has this difficult task to putting the project on track and to complete the important milestone. He looked for the Network diagram, Gantt chart and other such documents which can help him to know about the activities dependencies and their sequences. But to his surprise, those documents are not yet created for the project, which increased Brend’s problem to manifolds.
So, without wasting any time, Brend and his team burnt the midnight oil to identify and sequence the activities all over again. They identified the dependencies among the activities, established the relationships and creates the Network Diagrams, Gantt charts etc..
If these activities would have been done earlier at the planning stage, the current situation would have never happened in the first place.
As we discussed above, now we can understand the importance of activities sequencing. Let’s see the necessary input to this process which Project Managers across the world follows and also defines in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide.
To create any process successfully, we should apply the appropriate tools and techniques recommended across the industries. Let’s discuss the tools and techniques used to create the activities sequence.
The Precedence Diagramming Method is a graphical diagram, represented by nodes, and the nodes are linked by one or more logical relationships which show the activities to be performed. This is also called Activity-On-Node (AON) method.
While sequencing the activities, define the logical relationships among them, the predecessor activity logically comes before its dependent activity, while the successor comes after another activity.
There are four types of logical relationships –
So, today we discussed about the importance of activities sequencing. To manage the projects milestones, deadlines and to run the project in a smoother way, it is important to sequence your activities. The network diagram, Gantt chart are the most useful documents to look into, which can helps the Project Manager to take the important decisions when needed.