Hani Haham Owner & CEO of Wizard-Projects
Following my experience as a project manager there are six main technical steps that can help you when executing successfully your project.
First you should know the estimated duration for the whole project. Than you should provide a detailed plan include constraints and pre-requisites for the short term tasks and a high level plan for the long term tasks. The long term tasks will be drilled down dynamically when you will have more information. On this phase we usually will (1) set the high level milestones. A milestone is usually presented as a task with zero duration.
When start creating a schedule plan you should first understand the major milestones of the project and set the (2) Work Breakdown Structure accordingly.
Each WBS is a kind of title that may include sub-WBS and should include tasks. (3) Tasks duration usually will set to no less than 5 days and no more than 20 days. The reason for that is that less than 5 days of duration will not be easy to track and is more as a checklist and more than 20 days is also hard to track since those days should be drilled down so we will know exactly what is the status.
After understanding the project scope and the detailed tasks name and duration, we need to link the tasks that affect each other, which means (4) identify the predecessors and successors of each task.
There are four types of dependencies:
Finish to start (FS): A FS B = B can't start before A is finished or B will start only after A is finished.
Finish to finish (FF): A FF B = B can't finish before A is finished, i.e., B will finish only after A is finished.
Start to start (SS): A SS B = B can't start before A starts.
Start to finish (SF): A SF B = B can't finish before A starts.
Do we have any (5) prerequisite for starting the project or any specific tasks than I suggest to add it to the schedule plan. For example the developers need a new software in order to develop a specific feature.
In my projects at the beginning of the schedule plan I will usually set a “Kickoff Project” milestone this milestone is usually the Kickoff meeting that is set for the team leaders and stakeholders, on this meeting we usually review the schedule plan, agree on it and after the meeting I am setting a baseline with is actually freezing the schedule plan so while updating the status on the execution phase we can compare it to the initial schedule plan and can examine our overall status if we are ahead of schedule or delay to schedule. By the end of the schedule plan I usually set a milestone called “Project Completion”.
Good luck guys, hope I had helped, have a great project planning!