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Most People Don’t Plan to Fail, They Simply Fail to Plan!


Table of Contents and Links

  1. Integration Planning (Chapter 4 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  2. Scope Management Planning (Chapter 5 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  3. Time Management Planning (Chapter 6 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  4. Cost Management Planning (Chapter 7 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  5. Quality Management Planning (Chapter 8 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  6. Communication Management Planning (Chapter 9 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  7. HR Management Planning (Chapter 10 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  8. Risk Management Planning (Chapter 11 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)

  9. Procurement Management Planning (Chapter 12 of PMI's PMBOK Guide)




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“When possible, make decisions now, even if action is in the future. A revised decision is usually better than one reached at the last moment.”

William B. Given, Jr.

Integration Planning

PMP Chart 1

Scope Management Planning

PMP Chart 2

Time Management Planning

“Time management is only a set of skills and tools to help us more efficiently control the events of our lives.”

Hyrum W. Smith


PMP Chart 3

Figure PMI PMBOK PMP Certification Chart 3


6.1 – Activity Definition 


Activity Definition involves identifying and documenting the specific activities that must be performed in order to produce the deliverables and sub-deliverables identified in the WBS.


Activity - A specific task or set of tasks that are required by the project, use up resources, and take time to complete.


Event - The result of completing one or more activities with an identifiable end state occurring at a particular time.  Events use no resources.


Network - The combination of all activities and events.  Used to define the project and the activity precedence relationships on a project.




6.1.1    Activity Definition - Inputs    Enterprise Environmental Factors    Organizational Process Assets    Project Scope Statement    Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)    WBS Dictionary    Project Management Plan


6.1.2    Activity Definition - Tools and Techniques    Decomposition


Decomposition - Decomposition during the activity definition process means subdividing the work packages into smaller, more manageable components called schedule activities.  This is performed by the team members responsible for the work.  If there is any doubt as to how the work is to be done on an activity, then it should be decomposed at least one level lower.  

  • Decomposing the project WBS

  • Brainstorms

  • “Post-It” notes are great for teams working on a schedule in a group format.  Brainstorms & post-it notes are techniques within decomposition, and    Templates


Prior similar projects are one of the basis for developing or modifying your templates.    Rolling Wave Planning


Rolling Wave Planning is just what it sounds like.  In a company you may do five year plans every year.  Each year you plan for the next five and update the plan from last year.  In a project you may plan near term work in greater detail and at a low level in WBS, but plan work farther in the future at a high level.  The key is you keep rolling the wave of planning.  Every month you may plan ahead for five months.


Consider Rolling-Wave technique for large, complicated, and unfamiliar projects/sub-projects.    Expert Judgment    Planning Component


Think of a Planning Component as a point on WBS that cannot be decomposed to work package level and one that may require a high-level schedule and cost estimates.    Other Tools (not in PMBOK Guide)

  • Define activities to complete WBS elements

  • Action Verb/Noun Format “Conduct Meeting” “Test Software”

  • Document assumptions



6.1.3    Activity Definition - Outputs    Activity List


Activity Definition begins by building from the WBS. The WBS from Scope Definition is a set of deliverables. The WBS lists and categorizes all potential project deliverables.  Then we divide these into the tasks or activities that will provide these deliverables.

In some PM software the WBS and the activity list are developed concurrently into a Task List type of WBS. You may either have two related documents or one integrated document.  It is important to understand which of these an organization uses.  When someone says WBS, they may be talking about different things.,  link owner: UOW


This website helps by explaining what a task list is and does “The Project Task List is used by the team as a guide to reaching milestones and eventually completing the project. The task list changes over time. The initial task list is a list of tasks that need to be accomplished in order to at least reach the first milestone. Additionally, you should have at least a high level task list for the entire project. Detailed task lists become more apparent as you move through the project.”

Found by Frank Merrell, UoP 2005    Activity Attributes    Milestone List    Requested Changes






6.2     Activity Sequencing:


Activity Sequencing involves identifying and documenting interactivity dependencies.





6.2.1    Activity Sequencing - Inputs    Project Scope Statement    Activity List    Activity Attributes    Milestones List    Approved Change Request


6.2.2     Activity Sequencing: Tools and Techniques    Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)


The Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) is a method for drawing CPM or PERT network diagrams using nodes to represent activities and connecting them by lines to show relationships (dependencies).

This figure is an example of an AON for Activity on Node or PDM.  In precedence diagramming, the individual elements of work that comprise a project are called activities. In an AON Diagram - activities are represented as boxes, or nodes, that can be connected using logic relationships, thereby defining the order in which activities occur. The combination of activities and relationships are graphically represented by the precedence network.


The performance of each activity in the network requires a discrete time interval - the activity duration. With durations assigned to activities in the network, start and finish dates can be calculated based on the logical relationships that have been defined.


This method of diagramming supports all mathematical analysis techniques discussed in the Schedule development section, except for conditional diagramming.    Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM)


The Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM) is a method for drawing CPM and PERT network diagrams using arrows to represent activities and nodes show relationships (dependencies).

Comparing PDM and ADM


PDM–Precedence Diagramming Method is also sometimes called Activity-on-Node (AOD) and sometime called Task on Node.



ADM–Arrow Diagramming Method (Activity-on-Arrow).  Sometimes called Task on Arrow. 


Although these to figures look the same they are very different projects with a different number of tasks.  According to PMI, which one you use depends on your preference.


Two Types of Network Diagramming




Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)


Activity Node Diagram (AON)

Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM)Output

Activity on Arrow Diagram (AOA)    Schedule Network Templates


Network Diagrams:  Project Network Diagramming starts as a tool and output of Activity Sequencing.  It is used to display and/or determine:

  • Activity dependencies (3.8.0.P)

  • Critical sequence of activities (3.8.0.P)

  • Length of schedule (3.10.0.P)

  • Float of activities (regular, free & negative) (3.11.0.P)

  • Early and late start and finish of activities (3.11.0.P)

It is rarely done manually, but always used by scheduling software.  The Network Diagrams are used to show activity dependencies and determine critical path.  Three that are common, Activity-on-node, Activity-on-arrow, and logic bar charts (a Gantt chart that connects the tasks). 



Bar Charts


Bar Charts, also called Gantt charts, show start and end dates, expected duration, and progress-to-date.


Milestone Charts


Milestone Charts identify scheduled start and end dates of major deliverables and key project interfaces.  It is best used for presenting the project at a high-level.    Dependency Determination


Mandatory Dependencies:  Mandatory Dependencies are specific to the nature of the project work. Absolutely must happen in the described manner. Referred to as ‘hard logic’

Example: You must file your tax return before you can receive your tax refund check. The IRS is not sending you a check without reviewing that return.

Discretionary Dependencies: Discretionary dependencies are set by the project team based on their experience. Also referred to as soft logic, preferred logic, or preferential logic. Here there may be a preferred order of events that reduces cost, risk or time, but other orders can be acceptable to the quality of the product.

Example: Refilling your gas tank when it hits the 1/4 full mark on the gas gage. If you do it at that point you will never run out of gas, but you could wait until later. You may run the risk of not being close to a gas station, or having to accept whatever price is at the closest station.

External Dependencies:  External Dependencies link between the project activities and activities external to the project.

Example:  The release date of a new government safety regulation related to your product might precede your definition of safety requirements. Before the OSHA Right to Know Laws came out, companies were righting Material Data Sheets into projects so as to be prepared for the time when they would be required.    Applying Leads and Lags




Leads–Allows an acceleration of a successor activity. May begin one task a couple of days ahead of another. 


Lag–Directs a delay in a successor activity. Must wait a couple of days before we start the next task. 



6.2.3     Activity Sequencing: Outputs    Project Schedule Network Diagram    Activity List (Updates)    Activity Attributes (updates)    Requested Changes


6.3     Activity Resource Estimating:







6.4     Activity Duration Estimating:



Expert Judgment:


Expert Judgment is a PMI tool the means guided by historical information and it often comes from team members doing the work.


Analogous Estimates:


Analogous Estimate are based on duration of a previous, similar schedule activity.  This methods is often used where there is a limited amount of detailed information available.


Parametric Estimates: 


Parametric Estimates are quantitatively determined based on units of work and productivity rate.  This method is often used where detailed work performance information is available and often based on industry or company standard.


Standard – A required approach or parameter for conducting an activity or task. Also, an acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value; a criterion.


Three-Point Estimates:


Three-Point Estimates determine pessimistic, most likely, and optimistic duration estimates.  Sometimes confused with PERT methods.  This method is use to calculate the durations found in the PERT chart. 


The first formula calculates one standard deviation + or - when added to the mean. 



The second formula calculates the mean duration to be used in the PERT chart related to one activity. 


When calculation time:


The Te represents the average time or the time estimate. 

The To represents the most optimistic reasonable possibility.

The Tp represents the most pessimistic reasonable possibility.

The Tm represents the most likely possibility.


6.5    Schedule Development


6.5.1    Activity Duration Estimating: Inputs    Organizational Process Assets    Project Scope Statement    Activity List    Activity Attributes    Project Schedule Network Diagrams    Activity Resource Requirements    Resource Calendars    Activity Duration Estimates    Project Management Plan

  •                 Risk Register


6.5.2    Activity Duration Estimating: Tools and Techniques    Schedule Network Diagram    Critical Path Method


CPM and PERT Methods:


With the exception of Gantt charts, the most common approach to scheduling is the use of network techniques such as PERT and CPM.


PERT - The Program Evaluation and Review Technique was developed by the U.S. Navy in 1958 during the Polaris Missile Projects


CPM - The Critical Path Method was developed by DuPont, Inc during the same time period.  Uses PDM (AON) or ADM (AOA) to calculate early and late start and finish dates for project activities and theoretical project length.


Critical Path – The sequence of activities that must be completed on schedule for the entire project to be completed on schedule. It is the longest duration path through the schedule. If an activity on the critical path is delayed by one day, the entire project will be delayed by one day (unless another activity on the critical path can be accelerated by one day). 



Float “Slack” or “Total Float”


Float is the amount of time an activity may be delayed without effecting the end date of the project or the critical path length.



(Early Start and Early Finish Dates) and (Late Start and Late Finish Dates)


For any activity with float the start and finish dates may move without effecting the end date.  However, for activities on the critical path, early and late (start & finish) are the same.  We use a forward pass to determine early start and finish dates.  We use a backward pass to determine late start and finish dates.  We must know the critical path length to calculate late start and late finish.


Below we will look at the PMI way and an easier "yet will not help you with the PMP" way.


Example of the PMI, PMP Way


Here is an awkward way of doing something easy.  To pass the PMP you should learn this method. Notice it is different from the AMA example (the way I learned it). 


Use a forward pass for Early Start and Early Finish.


Calculating Early Start -- When calculating the Early Start you do not "just" carry the Early Finish from the last activity forward.  Instead you carry the number for the largest possible Early Finish forward (+1) to represent the beginning of the new day.  Notice that task C starts on the 10th day.  That makes sense, but look at Early Finish.  Also notice that G uses the Early Finish of C and not D... because C is larger.


Calculating Early Finish -- When calculating the Early Finish you do not "just" carry the Early Start (+) Duration Forward.  Instead you carry the number for the Early Start  Forward (-1) to represent the beginning of the new day and then add the Duration.  Notice that task C starts on the 10th day and has a duration of 8 days and ends on the 17th day. 

Therefore, 10 + 8 = 17.  It may be best to count on your fingers...the first finger is 10...count out 8 including the first finger = 17.  The method used in the AMA example below does it differently. 

So if you are not crazy yet...this may push you over the edge.  The PMP method is more complicated than it has to be...But then this is one reason you would want to have us help train you. 


Use a Backward pass to calculate Late Start and Late Finish.

Calculating Late Start and Finish


Step One:  When calculating the Late Finish you use a backward pass and just carry the critical path's total (27) to the Late Finish Position on the last activity in each path (F, G, and H). But, don't get use to that, you only do that once.


Step Two:  Calculating the First Late Start -- When calculating the First Late Start, take the Late Finish and subtract the Early Finish, then subtract 1.  For (H) (27 - 19 -1 = 17).   


Step Three:  Calculation the Next Late Finish -- When calculation the next Late Finish, Select the smallest Late Start related to the appropriate paths, then subtract 1. 

For (D) you have two choices (G or F).  G's Late Start is 18 and F's Later Start is 14.   Use 14 then (-1) gives us 13 for D's Late Finish.


Continue with Step Two and Three to the starting point (Start Box).



Free Float: 


The amount of time an activity may be delayed without effecting the early start of any subsequent activity.  Float maybe positive or negative.


Example of An excellent Method that is Not the PMI, PMP Way



Example of a forward pass and backward pass as explained in American Management Association (AMA) information from 2000.




During Backward Pass Slack and Late Start Are Calculated Like This. 

Think Equilateral Triangles and Right Triangles.
, this link advises that CPM is for projects that involve a number of individual activities.

CPM can help you understand:

  • how long your complex project will take to complete

  • which activities are "critical," meaning that they have to be done on time or else the whole project will take longer

If you put in information about the cost of each activity, and how much it costs to speed up each activity, CPM can help you figure out:

  • whether you should try to speed up the project, and, if so,

  • what is the optimal plan for speeding up the project.

Found by Tara W. Mullins, UoP 2005, This link gives a good example of building a house using Activity-On-Node.  To find the critical path for the project we do two passes. The earliest start times for each task from its preceding tasks and their durations, the latest start from the descendants and the tasks duration.


Found by Tara W. Mullins, UoP 2005    Schedule Compression

  • Crashing

  • Fast Tracking    What-if-Scenario Analysis    Resource Leveling    Critical Chain Method    Project Management Software    Applying Calendars    Adjusting Leads and Lags    Scheduling Model


6.5.3    Activity Duration Estimating: Outputs    Project Schedule

  • Project Schedule Network Diagrams

  • Bar Charts

  • Milestone Charts    Schedule Model Data    Schedule Baseline    Resource Requirements (Updates)    Activity Attributes (Updates)    Project Calendar (Updates)    Requested Changes    PM Plan (Updates)

  • Schedule Management Plan (Updates)


Applying Calendar:


To apply the calendar means to use information about when work can be performed to modify a schedule.




Compression is to shortening the schedule without changing the scope. 

  • Crashing is decreasing the total project schedule duration (e.g. hire extra people).  While focusing on the critical path of the project.  To maximize your efforts focus on:

  • the critical path (nothing ease matters as much),

  • look for the largest duration tasks where a small percentage of a change will have the biggest impact, and

  • sometimes the tasks that are closest to you in time will give you other opportunities as time goes on.

  • Fast Tracking is performing activities in parallel (e.g. doing more than one task in parallel with another).  Do not place tasks in series unless there is a no other way. 



What if something happened?  This method may involve simulation (i.e. Monte Carlo analysis, or other methods) to calculate a distribution of possible schedule outcomes.


Resource Leveling:


Resource Leveling is modifying the schedule to consider resource constraints.  This may change the critical path and could drive estimating the critical path.  


Critical Chain Method:


Appling resource constraints to critical path may cause new critical path.  Used to identify and address bottlenecks by applying buffers.


3.8.1.D - Network Diagrams:


Network Diagrams are used to show activity dependencies and determine critical path - three are common, Activity-on-node, Activity-on-arrow, and logic bar charts (a Gantt chart that connects the tasks). 








PMI PMBOK PMP Certification Chart 4

PMP Chart 4


PMP Chart 5

5.0 -- Project Cost Management


Cost management processes focused on completion of the project within the approved budget.  The primarily concerned with costs needed to complete the schedule activities (e.g. labor, material, services).  Project managers must create budgets that set clear expectations and have a disciplined cost control program and costs should be measured and managed as the project delivers value.


5.17.0.P -- Cost Estimate


Life Cycle Costing:


Life Cycle Costing considers the effect of project decisions on the cost of using, maintaining, and supporting the product of the project thought the entire life cycle. 


Types Of Cost:

  1. Fixed Costs – Cost that do not change based on level of other factors.

  2. Variable Cost – Cost that change based on level of other factors.

  3. Direct Cost – Cost directly attributable to the execution of the project.

  4. Sunk Cost – Costs that cannot be recovered whether the project moves forward or not.

Analogous Estimates:


Analogous Estimates are based on actual cost of previous, similar projects and is used where there is a limited amount of detailed information available.


Bottom Up Estimates:


Bottom up estimates are the cost estimates of individual activities or work packages.  These estimates are then summarized or ‘rolled-up to find the costs at higher levels.


Parametric Estimates:


Parametric estimates are quantitatively determined based on units of work (cost/unit).  It is used where detailed work performance information is available and is often based on industry or company standards.


Reserve Analysis (tool):


Reserve Analysis is use to determine the ‘reserve’ or ‘contingency allowance’ to deal with known unknowns.  The reserve analysis should be aggregated into buffers to avoid overestimating activity cost estimates.  The reserves are used at the discretion of the project manager.


 5.18.0.P -- Cost Budgeting


Funding Limit Reconciliation (tool): 


Does the total cost estimate for any budgeting period exceed a known funding limit?  What are the funding limits?


Cost Management Plan (CMP) (Input):


The Cost Management Plan is produced during the Develop Project Management Plan process.  The Cost Management Plan guides execution of all Cost processes and may include:

·       Precision level required for cost estimates,

·       Units of measure utilized (e.g. staff hours, weeks) for each resource,

·       Control account procedures,

·       Control thresholds,

·       Earned value rules (e.g. work units, 0-50-100%), and

·       Reporting formats.


5.18.1.D – Cost Baseline:


The Cost Baseline is a time-phased budget for the project.  It is used to measure, monitor, and control project cost performance and is often expressed as S-curve.  Cost baselines aggregate activity costs by period (day, week, month) and larger projects may have multiple cost baselines (i.e. labor, materials).  NOT THE SAME AS A BUDGET.






Budget is not a process output, it is the total approved cost estimate for a project, WBS component, or activity.


PMP Chart 6



8.0 -- Communication Management:


The communication management knowledge area includes processes to address the timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, and retrieval of project information.  It includes communication with all stakeholders (but especially project team, senior management, customer and sponsor).  Some say it is the most important skill for a PM to have.  PM spend up to 90% of their time communicating and therefore PMs must communicate:

  • Directly (always deal with the problem)

  • Truthfully (the whole truth)

  • Accurately (even if you don’t believe it)


Understand communication channels is important, the more people you add the more complicated communicating becomes. 


The Number of Channels = N

The Number of People = n


N = [n (n-1)]/2









PMP Chart 7






Planning Phase Processes

  1. Building the project team

  • Involve customer and other stakeholders

  • Upper management involvement - level
    - vendor/supplier dependencies/involvement
    - avoid the “ready, fire, aim” fiasco
    - establish five sections of project plan
    project definition
    project goal and purpose
    project phases
    major milestones
    team requirements
    - work breakdown structure
    - time estimates
    - recruit and assign
    - develop Task Network & Gantt charts
    - reporting procedures

Project Task List:



Craig A. Stevens on Problems With Planning



Requirements Documentation Links:

  1., (found by Josiah Wedgewood, UoP 2005)


Planning Phase


This Michigan State University website provides a basic high-level view of project management in a concise way. The website is primarily for the Administrative Information Services department at Michigan State; however, the site offers an excellent high-level view of project management planning in a very intuitive presentation.  The website offers a simple flowchart of the planning process that has links for explanation of inputs, outputs, and tools/techniques. The only limitation to the website is the fact that the information is very basic, and a basic knowledge or background is required in order to make the information useful.

Michigan State University. Ed. (2003). AIS Project Management Process. Retrieved September 9, 2005, from

Ronnie McCoy (UoP 2005)



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