• Project Planning Phases
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Written by Randall Floyd

Project Definition

  • Blueskying and brainstorming
  • What is the project, what is the goal?
  • Some very high-level idea of requirements, just enough to start a project plan
  • Output: A project definition statement

Work Breakdown

  • What is the breakdown of the work that has to be done to meet the project goal?
  • Work will typically be major phases, milestones, goals, areas of work, whatever
  • Output: A Work Breakdown Structure that lists distinct major areas of work

Task Development

  • What are the tasks for each major area of work?
  • Tasks should be a level of granularity that can be assigned to a resource and can be estimated
  • Tasks likely contain smaller tasks, but those are best left to document elsewhere if needed
  • Output: New levels of detail in the Work Breakdown Structure

Task sequencing

  • Within a major area of work, determine the proper sequence and identify dependencies
  • Find tasks that relate to each other across major areas of work and identify dependencies
  • Output: New levels of detail in the tasks' attributes

Resource Assignment

  • Assignment of major work areas to resources (like managers responsible for an area)
  • Assignment of actual tasks to resources
  • Output: New levels of detail in the tasks' attributes

Task Estimating

  • Estimation of time at the task level
  • Should be expressed in terms of the real amount of time as if there were no other time constraints, projects, meetings, time off, weekends, etc
  • Output: New levels of detail in the tasks' attributes

Iteration Planning: Plan the work!

  • Take all of the outputs and plan an iteration of this project, release, product, etc
  • Determine overall estimate based on combined task estimates
  • Determine each resource's velocity for their tasks, which is an attempt to measure an individual resource's natural rate and availability
  • Adjust overall estimate to account for velocity, task sequencing, and working days (weekends, time off)
  • If the plan has concrete requirements but no deadline, determine the completion date for this iteration
  • If the plan has a concrete deadline, determine what requirements will be met in this iteration
  • If the plan has concrete requirements and deadline, determine what additional resources are required
  • Output: A statement for this iteration including calendar estimate and requirements being met
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