Types of activities
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Projects are generally complex attempts to achieve something. However, a precise schedule model allows the project to be abridged into manageable groupings or phases. Project performance is reported and monitored when progress against these activities and milestones is recorded. The different types of activities are relevant to scheduling and forms of changing and crashing (accelerating) a schedule. This practice standard is organized in five main sections:
- Section 1 - Define the Project's Activities. This section provides the definition of the project's activities.
- Section 2 - Sequence Activities
- Section 3 - Determine Resources for Each Activity
- Section 4 - Determine the Duration for Each activity
- Section 5 - Estimation of Activity Durations
Define the Project's activities
The development of a good schedule model is accomplished through the rational application of sound practices. Experience acquired over time helps to select proper responses to the design requirements for the schedule model. One of the key steps is to define the Project's Activities which is equal to create a list of activities that need to be implemented to complete the project, based on the WBS and expanded by the team responsible for the execution of the work. These activities should represent the expected sequence of the activities and represent the manner of how the work will occur. An activity is a measurable and discrete element (or block) of work that is a tangible element of the project scope. Reference!!!Activities are specific actions that are performed to produce the project deliverables. The characteristics of a well-defined activity include:
- Activity owner. Multiple resources may be required to accomplish the activity; however a single person is responsible and accountable for its performance. That individual should also report progress on the activity.
- Activity description. Activities describe the work that needs to be accomplished. As such, the description for each activity starts with a verb and contains a unique, specific object. Despite the fact that `pour concrete to the wall` may be descriptive of a task, the activity description needs to be more specific. Adjectives may be helpful to clarify uncertainties. Each activity description should be unique and leave no room for confusion, that is, it can be identified without ambiguity and it should be independent of the schedule presentation grouping or organization.
- Continuity of work activity. The work represented by an activity, once started, should be capable of proceeding to completion without interruption (except for naturally occurring nonwork periods in the calendar). When the work on an activity postponed or delayed, it is often beneficial for the activity to be split. This is noted by a single summary bar shown above the activities to reflect what is shown under that bar and coded to the appropriate group. Note that the start and finish dates reflect the early start date and the early finish date-not the late dates. Also the duration reflected on the summary bar matches the elapsed time from start to finish of the group activities. Some software programs accomplish this summarization automatically within the software. In doing so, the software rolls up the data according to specific rules and depicts it as a bar extending over the specific duration. Another example of a summary activity is an activity that can take longer than 2 or 3 update periods such as a procurement activity performed by someone outside the project and expected on the site at a particular date. The status of the work effort can not be incorporated in the schedule other than accounting for time until the event occurs.
- Level-of-effort (LOE) activity. A level-of-effort (LOE) activity is incorporated into the schedule to track , account for, and spread resources over a period of time. However, this does not accomplish a discrete, specific deliverable product. Generally, LOE activities should not appear on the project critical path nor drive the project end date. One example of this is accounting for project hours associated with administrative support. In this case, the activity duration should reflect the anticipated time for the activity. Care needs to be given to LOE activities, because when they are given static durations equal to the length of the entire project, they should never end up on or driving the critical path. By their very nature of supporting detailed work activities, LOE's cannot drive the project duration and cannot be critical. It is a good practice to define LOE activities in such a way that they will take their duration from the detailed activities that they support. Generally, the duration of an LOE is determined by its logical relationships and shown as a start-to-start (SS) predecessor tie and a finish-to finish (FF) successor tie and no others. When completed, the LOE activity list describes 100% of the work required to be completed for the project, although not all activities need to be fully detailed when rolling wave planning is used. Resource leveling should not be performed on LOE-type activities. Constraints should not be applied on LOE activities. LOE activities can have specific assigned resources and calendars to determine their start and finish dates.
- Hammock activity. A hammock activity is a bridging activity that uses and is confirmed by the SS and FF relationships to supporting activities. An LOE activity is unlike a hammock activity because LOE activities may have many types of relationships associated with them.
- Activities where the duration is determined by a process that must be implemented to achieve the desired result.
- Characterized by that it can't be rushed
- Examples: pregnancy, curing of concrete, training and education of employees
- Speed up example: Difficult, in some cases through e.g. change of equipment
- Activities where a certain procedure must be followed
- The uncertainty related to the outcome of the procedure.
- Examples: steering committee meetings, consultation of stakeholders
- Speed up example: Ebola and the change on regulation
- Activities to solve a problem.
- Innovation is paramount. Can be difficult to estimate the duration
- Examples: design tasks, development, creative tasks
- Speed up example: difficult, through intermediary deadlines or forcing an end - 'time boxing'