Project Planning Using a Formal Time Line

Introduction

Project planning is a function that outlines how to execute a project within a given timeframe, usually with defined stages, and with allocated resources. Project planning divides activity into four key areas these are “setting objectives, identifying deliverables, planning the schedule and making supporting plans. Supporting plans may include communication methods, human resources and risk management” (Milošević, 2003). There should be a proper time management framework for project activities. This will ensure success during execution. There are several time management tools used during project execution. These are Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Gantt chart. Out of the two, the most common tool is PERT. PERT technique analyzes and represents activities that will be required in a given project (Schwalbe, 2003). These activities are represented in a chart. The chart outlines activities that have to be carried out to ensure the completion of the project. It also shows the other activities which need to be carried out alongside the main activities. The critical path is the path taken by the main activities in the chart. Activities that fall along the critical path must be executed within the allocated time. Any delays on these activities delay the whole project. Therefore, activities along the critical path must be monitored closely to ensure that they are completed within schedule. However, regardless of how well a project is well managed or evaluated, delays are inevitable. Such delays may arise from several factors such as sudden snowfall, delays in delivery of suppliers, among others. Causes of delays should be addressed as soon as possible. This will help in avoiding further delays (Microsoft Corporation, 2012). This treatise analyzes how to allocate resources among critical and noncritical activities on a construction project in the event of delays.

How to allocate resources

In the example of a large construction project, step B falls on the critical path while steps C and D do not. All three steps are at risk of being delayed. A project manager needs to identify the impact of delay on the whole project. As a priority, a project manager should first consider the possibility of continuing with other noncritical path activities. This is possible when delays are affecting critical path activities. This will help reduce the overall impact of delay on the project. In this scenario since the delay will affect both critical and noncritical activities, the project manager should allocate available resources to the critical step, that is, step B (Drive Your Success, 2011). This is because delaying any activity along the critical path delays the whole project. Therefore, all critical path activities should be completed within the scheduled time. Thereafter, resources can be allocated to the noncritical path activities. In this scenario, once the critical path activity has been completed, the project manager can then allocate resources to step C first then D because step C comes before step D.

Conclusion

Organizations are moving towards a project-based approach to carrying out activities. Especially in developing and rolling out new products or processes. This is because they believe that projects ensure that activities of the organization are completed within the expected time of delivery and with allocated resources. However, for any project to be successful, there should be proper time management. Besides, there should be buffer stock to items required for critical path (Wren, 2003).

References

  1. Drive Your Success (2011). PERT Project Management: Mid-Project PERT Correction.
  2. Microsoft Corporation (2012). Manage your project’s critical path.
  3. Milošević, D. (2003). Project management toolbox: tools and techniques for the practicing project. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  4. Schwalbe, K. (2003). Information Technology Project Management. USA: Jack Calhoun.
  5. Wren, A. (2003). The project management A-Z: a compendium of project management techniques. USA: Gower Publishing Companies.