CREATING ROBUST PROJECT NETWORKS Repeatable process in 10 steps The problem I stopped planning, because the plan changes every day The dilemma Detailed High level define measu re analyz e impro ve control explore design engine er validat e
transfe r The goal of the plan Achieve the goal of the project help to execute the project in the shortest possible time Provide room to handle variation Help to orchestrate the team What is it not A process description A work instruction
An agenda A todo list Risks Planning Execution The main risks to be avoided are: Missing or unnecessary tasks 1. Prior input was needed and is not ready Missing or unnecessary dependencies 2. Scope is missed Wrong estimates 3. Resources are wasted
Too much detail 4. Scope creep Not enough flexibility Repeatable process (1/3) The following 10 steps process has proven to be effective in determining a good project network: 1) Define the projects measurable goals, tangible scope, and sponsor criteria 2) Define the tasks required for the backbone of the project network (one main path), starting at the end of the project and working towards the beginning. 3) a) tip: use sticky notes, do not build this on the computer b) use a tangible deliverable, defined in step 1, as the 1st note. Eg. perform the 1st commercial flight c)
sentence what must be completed or finished immediately before the task on the right can start d) sentence is there anything else that must be completed before the task on the right can start e) choose the task which you expect to require most work to be done f) continue until you are at the task that could start today Add the tasks required to build the skeleton (other paths), working backwards from the end, completing all other paths. Repeatable process (2/3) Read the network forward, from the beginning, rigorously looking for additional dependencies 4) a) sentence must be done before because ... b) rigorously look for other tasks that also depend on this task 5) Check every task against project goals, scope, and sponsor criteria 6)
Determine resources (skill level and maximum number) that could be assigned to perform the task. a) Do not assign named resources b) This also includes critical equipment (large expensive) c) Note where resource continuity is required d) Break a task down if resource hands of to another resource e) Best from left to right Scrutinize the network logic using subject matter and/or skill set experts 7) a) Check your assumptions b) Ensure the work is correct c)
Find the critical workers for the estimates Repeatable process (3/3) Define time estimates, with range of variability 8) a) Ask the experts b) Ensure the work is well understood c) Ambitious, standard, pessimistic d) Consider iterations Seek ways to reduce overall project duration without compromise 9) a) Critical path, critical chain: Focus on the critical tasks b) Was there sufficient understanding when making the estimate c)
Can task be shortened by higher skilled resources d) Can task be shortened by more resources e) Does 100% of predecessor need to be completed (are we extremely conservative) f) The same for the long feeding chains Complete a final, overall project assessment 10) a) Holistic view, with the original team of sponsors, key stakeholders and experts Practical checklist Every task has A clear description which can be understood, also out of context uses a verb
No more than ~ 200 activities Only finish -> start dependencies Prevent dependencies on summary tasks tells something about the state A task manager Skills assigned (not named resources) Realistic estimate FS relationship on last and 1st
Do you really need to wait for the last? Prevent fixed dates, other than the finish date A successor Prevent bypasses A contribution to the goal Feeding chains Just-In-Time Use workpackages when possible Best practices The following items are considered as best practices: Keep the project as simple as possible. Only add complexity if this is required. Pool protection for the entire project in one place at the end of the project
Use protection for non-critical paths in the project only where variability is either high or unpredictable. Put as many resource as practical on the project. Even if resource efficiency suffers slightly, this is better than spreading resources thin. Stagger the project in a manner that recognizes the capacity of the organization to do project work. Use workpackages instead of many detailed tasks Quotes Sophisticated problems require simple solutions Make it as simple as possible. And as complex as needed Dictionaries - masterlists States Skills draft
architect concept designer final system engineer approved verification engineer communicated validation engineer shared
quality engineer regulatory engineer SW development engineer Mechanical engineer ...
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