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Week 3 – Assignment: Prepare Your Project Schedule

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Instructions

Planning is one of the most critical stages in PM; it is where most of the activities take place. The scope is defined, the budget identified and allocated, and resources are secured.

A sound and proper communication and control structure must be in place, along with the project charter, to start working on the WBS—which is a list of activities, estimated duration, and resources needed or assigned to each task.

Once you have completed your activities list, you can use automated tools to manage your schedule. Tools like Primavera Project Planner, Microsoft Visio, Wrike, Bitrix24, Forecast.it, and other project scheduling tools assist the project manager in managing time and balancing resource allocation and time duration of each in visual mode. These tools can generate a series of reports and visualizations that will be helpful when reporting or communicating project progress to stakeholders. A sample image of one scheduling technique is the Gantt chart as shown below.

A sample of a Gantt chart.
Access full-size version

Figure 3.3: Sample Gantt Chart

A sample WBS for an academic conference.

Figure 3.4: Sample WBS for an academic conference

Using your scenario from Week 1, you will design a list of activities and estimate the time duration for each. Once the activities list is completed, this list becomes the WBS.

You will develop a Gantt chart using one of the scheduling tools mentioned in this section, or any other scheduling tool of your choice. It is important that you mention the tool selected (it can also be Excel) and the rationale for developing your task list and estimating time for each.

The project schedule baseline is part of the project plan.  For this assignment, you will write the project schedule with a short introduction justifying the need of having a baseline schedule as part of project planning, discussing  techniques for schedule design and resource allocation using principles or criteria such as SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time bound), and discuss the impact of a delayed schedule in the project. Discuss how tools like the critical path method (CPM) and the program evaluation and review technique (PERT) can assist the project manager and team balance time and tasks and come to precise time estimates, identify slack and float time, and how they influence resource balancing. Also, present the benefits of using the critical chain scheduling or theory of constraints (TOC) approach to scheduling, and how techniques like padding and crashing might help or hurt the project, plus recommended alternatives for schedule refinement.

Software:

Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel or Visio can be used to complete the applied portion of this assignment (the Gantt chart). Other tools like Primavera Project Planner, Wrike, Bitrix24, Forecast.it, or their equivalents can be used to complete the assignments.

Length: 4-5 pages, not including cover page or references for the main assignment document

References: Support your paper with a minimum of 5 scholarly resources.

Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect graduate-level writing and APA standards. Be sure to adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

The document must observe APA formatting specifications for citations and references using the most recent APA standards. For this assignment, you must submit your paper, your WBS-Gantt chart, and Hoshin Kanri matrix. Make sure you insert the diagrams in your paper as part of your discussion. This will serve as Sprint 2 of your Signature Assignment—The Project Plan Proposal.







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