Saturday, 5 October 2013

Sequence Activities Process - PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition

The Sequence Activities Process deals with creating the Project Network diagram from the list of available project activities. So, this process succeeds the Define Activities process. Most of the times, these are all processes overlapping one another as part of the Develop Schedule Process.

In case of the Sequence Activities process, for each of the activities in the list, the predecessor and successor is identified and they are arranged in an order. The project management software takes care of building the dependency into a diagram. The diagramming method is called Precedence Diagramming Method and it uses the concept of Finish-to-Start relationship wherein one activity's start is dependent on another's finish.

There are many types of dependencies:
1. Mandatory dependency called as hard logic wherein one activity cannot start until the preceding activity(s) is finished. Like, integration testing cannot start until and unless the product and its interfaces are built.
2.   Discretionary Dependencies: This is called as soft logic and the concerned activities can happen in parallel. For instance, development of two modules can happen simultaneously if they do not have any inter-dependencies. Similar to it, once the foundation of a building is ready, the two rooms situated in two corners of the house can be built independently without the need for the other to complete.
3. Internal Dependencies: Any dependencies falling within the project team boundaries are called internal dependencies. Or, in other words, the project team can do something about it.
4. External Dependencies: The project being dependent on something external to the boundaries is called external dependencies. This is not in the hands of the project team. This might relate to any laws or government process having its own processing time.

The following are the inputs to this process:

Sequence Actvities Process Inputs

Sequence Actvities Process Inputs
1. Activity List: Most important output from the Define Activities process providing the list of activities to be networked.
2. Activity Attributes: Another input from the Define Activities process and has additional details about the activity like description or any notes to be taken care in case of other processes or future iterations.
3 Schedule Management Plan: As any other process, the plan for the knowledge area details how each of the processes within the concerned knowledge area is going to be handled.
4. Enterprise Environmental Factors: What external factors have to be accounted in coming up with the project network diagram like any external dependencies.
5. Organizational Process Assets: Any specific software for coming up with the diagram or any lessons learnt from previous similar projects.
6. Milestone List: Milestones must be accounted in the diagrams to give a clear idea of dependencies to the stakeholders.
7. Project Scope Statement: In the initial iterations, the scope statement provides a guideline as to what are the product characteristics , the inclusions and exclusions to be accounted in coming up with the diagram.

Tools and Techniques:

Sequence Activiies Process Tools and Techniques

Sequence Actvities Tools and Techniques

1. Precedence Diagramming Method: The method used by most project management software to come up with the network diagam. It includes the following ways of ordering the activities :
a. Finish-to-Start
b. Finish-to-Finish
c. Start-to-Finish
d. Start-to-Start
2. Dependency Determination: What are the types of dependencies possible like mandatory, discretionary, internal and external is all accounted for analysis before coming up with the final network diagram.
3. Leads and Lags: Activities can have a waiting time or a cooling off period before the beginning of the next activity. This is accounted in leads and lags for the activity. Like drying time for the wet concrete is something that is important to be accounted for.


Sequence Activities Process Outputs
1. Project Schedule Network Diagram: The actual diagram with all the activities linked to one another with proper leads and lags along with marked duration.
2. Project Documents Updates: There might be updates to activity list or durations because until schedule is baselined, there can be multiple iterations within the processes in time , scope and cost knowledge areas.


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