M4 and M5 Project Guide (Project Plan and Resource Estimates

Now that you’ve built your work breakdown structure, it’s time to create a project plan and provide
resource estimates. You will start working on these two deliverables in Module 4. Both the project
plan and resource estimates will be due in Module 5 on Sunday, 11:59 pm ET.
Note: there is no template for the project plan. You will be expected to deliver your project plan in the
form of a Microsoft Project file (.mpp) and a Word document with a screenshot of the Network
Diagram and WBS view. You will also be expected to deliver the resource estimates as the
completed M4 and M5 Template (Resource Estimates).
Project Plan
There are four planning steps to making a schedule. The details follow.
1. Identify Task Relationships
First, you must place the detailed tasks of your WBS, known as work packages, in proper sequence.
Any time you perform a series of tasks there will be sequence constraints (i.e., tasks that must be
performed before you can start other ones). Two different ways of recording sequence constraints are
a predecessor table and a network diagram. There is an example of each of these on page 186 of
your textbook.
Note: Task relationships should reflect only sequence constraints between work packages, not
resource constraints. Changing a diagram because of a resource constraint is a common error.
Resources are irrelevant here. The tasks need to be performed in the same sequence, regardless of
resources.
2. Estimate Work Packages
Estimate the amount of labor and equipment you need for each detailed task, as well as the duration
of the task. Pages 190–194 in your textbook feature different examples of work package estimates.
3. Calculate the Initial Schedule
After estimating the duration of each work package and figuring in the duration of tasks, you should
calculate the total duration of the project. This initial schedule, while useful for planning, will need to
be revised further down the line. Calculate the initial schedule by using the network diagram and the
duration of each work package to determine the start and finish dates for each task, and for the entire
project. Schedule calculation provides a set of detailed schedule data for every work package,
including the following four dates: early start, early finish, late start, and late finish. Calculating these
Last updated on 14 August 2017 Page 2 of 2
Adapted from The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management
four dates is a three-step process: (1) doing a forward pass, (2) doing a backward pass, and (3)
calculating float. See Figure 9.4 in your textbook on page 197 for a clarification of this process. Pages
196–198 in your textbook outline the details of this three-step process.
4. Assign and Level Resources
Adjust the schedule to account for resource constraints. Reschedule tasks to optimize the use of
people and equipment on the project. The assumption is, whenever possible, it is most productive to
have consistent, continuous use of the fewest resources possible. Pages 204–212 go into much more
detail about how to complete this step.
Grading of the Project Schedule
Your deliverable is a Gantt chart using MS Project software. By using MS Project, your professor will
be able to see your network diagram as well. The professor will want to match up your Gantt chart
with your earlier WBS. You should follow your WBS to lay out the work packages over time in a
feasible schedule so they can be executed. You should also allocate a budget and build a schedule
based on constraints of the resources and the precedence relationships that exist in the network
diagram.
Before delivering your schedule, ask yourself the following questions:
• Does it contain a well-formed Gantt chart?
• Does the schedule meet the constraints posed by your resource estimates and precedence
relationships?
• Does the schedule execute the project as defined in the WBS?
• Are the precedence relationships realistic?
• Is the schedule realistic regarding planned duration and effort for work packages?
Resource Estimates
Once you make your schedule, you should include resource estimates. For these estimates, your
professor is looking to see if you have dealt with the realistic issues of associating resources with
each work package.
Use the provided template to show the loading of resources to work packages. The total budget is
fixed and stated in the project description. The resources are of two types: the staff-days of the five
staff members (do not convert to dollars) and the $200K nonlabor resources.
Grading of the Resource Estimates
Before delivering your resource estimates, ask yourself the following questions:
• Did you use the template?
• Are the allocations of resources to work packages realistic (including whether the loadings
reflect the major areas of emphasis in your project plan) and feasible?
• Did you keep within the overall total project budget?
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