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Project Management For Dummies®, UK Edition by Stanley E. Portny, Nick Graham

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Chapter 6

You Want This Project Done When?

In This Chapter

Coming up with a list of activities

Creating an Activity Network Diagram for your project

Finding how long the project will take

Understanding that only a subset of the activities affect the total duration

Using the Gantt Chart

Knowing how to estimate activity durations

Project assignments often have deadlines, but even if you don’t have a deadline imposed on you, you’ll want to know when the job will be finished. For one thing, you have other work to move on to, but then other people may need to know when your project will deliver in order to fit in with what you’re delivering or changing.

When you find out the required end date, your immediate reaction is often one of panic: ‘But I don’t have enough time!’ Don’t worry, one major reason to do the planning is to make sure that you can meet any required end date with time to spare.

In Chapter 5 the planning started with products: what it is you’re going to build and deliver. But products don’t have durations – a wooden table doesn’t have a time span; rather, it’s the activities to build the table that have the time span. To calculate the length of the project and to know what work is to be done, activity planning isn’t only extremely helpful, it’s essential.

The first part of activity planning is to build an Activity Network. Some people think this first step is very difficult, so much so that computer project management software tools usually have an option to avoid the ...

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