Week 2 Lecture

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Date Submitted: 09/12/2012 02:03 PM

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Project planning is one of the keys to the success of a project. Last week, we learned about what a project is, and the life cycle of a project. The project charter was also introduced last week. This week, we will learn more about project planning and about more components of the project plan.

You may recall, these components are also called project artifacts. Many of the project artifacts build upon one another. They are not set in stone. They can be changed, preferably using the process documented in the change management plan. The artifacts that a team uses can vary widely. The artifacts we will use in this class for discussion purposes are based upon the recommendations that the Project Management Institute (PMI) makes in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

Notice that with this chart, the project team starts with the project charter, and then builds the work breakdown structure and a schedule using the following steps:

1. Obtain the project charter from the sponsor/stakeholder (sometimes the PM may help develop the charter).

2. Build a project scope based upon the project charter.

3. Decompose the scope into work packages.

4. Assign the work packages to their owners.

5. Work package owners build activity lists.

6. Activity owners estimate or calculate activity durations (Bottoms-up Estimate).

7. Activity owners sequence activities (often as a team).

8. Identify and document dependencies.

9. Build a schedule based on the above steps with some scheduling tool (post-its or some automated scheduling tool like Microsoft Project or Project Workbench).

Knowing which artifacts should be used as inputs to others makes building each artifact easier and more efficient. Project teams often struggle with the level of detail in the artifacts, saying "We cannot build the charter yet, because we do not know enough." It is important to remember that they are not set in stone. Changes can be made as new information becomes available,...