Discussion Board

1. One of the causes of project failure occurs when a project does not meet its scheduled deadline. What are some of the causes for schedule delay? How can project team members help maintain a project’s schedul2. Why is the critical path important to your project schedule and how can your project team members help in this area? 250 words or more

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MBA 6941, Managing Project Teams 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit V

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

2. Analyze the behavioral characteristics of individual project team members.
2.1 Outline the elements of a project schedule and how these elements can be affected by the

behavioral characteristics of project team members.
2.2 Describe key processes of project schedule management in relation to each project team

member and his or her behavioral characteristics.

6. Discuss conflict management and negotiation strategies.
6.1 Describe the implications of the precedence diagram method regarding managing team tasks

and avoiding conflicts.
6.2 Describe the role of the critical path regarding task assignments and the negotiation of resource

allocation within the project team.

Reading Assignment

Chapter 13: Time

Unit Lesson

One of the primary duties of the project manager is to make sure that the project can be completed on time with
the approved schedule while managing other project constraints including the amount of time each team member
has to spend on his or her part of the project. In addition, it is important for a project manager to understand the
behavioral characteristics of each project member in order to assign each individual the tasks that are best suited
for him or her to complete. One of the best ways to do this is to simply talk to people within your organization. Get
to know them and what their capabilities are. Also, speak to others who work with them or have worked with them
in the past, including immediate supervisors. These are the people who will know the strengths and weaknesses
of those you are considering to work with you. You cannot successfully manage a project schedule without a
clear understanding of the project resources and activities.

It is important to know that time is the only “triple constraint” typically owned by the project manager. The
output of time management is an element of keen interest in communications to senior management and
other stakeholders. The project schedule starts with the decomposition of the scope, which is performed by
the team. The project schedule according to the Project Management Institute [PMI] (2013) is one of the
primary sources of team conflicts.

In order to reduce the possibility of these conflicts, some key considerations to keep in mind regarding time
management include the following:

 Because time estimates are more accurate if they are based on smaller sizes, estimates should be
based on work breakdown structure (WBS) or how much time they believe a specific portion of the
project should take.

 Estimates should be provided by the person that has experience doing the work and not by the
project manager.

 Consider historical information such as activities duration estimation, resource estimation, and other
factors from previous and similar projects as they can help with estimating accuracy.

 The integrated change control should be the primary mechanism for affecting the changes in the time,
cost, risk, human resource and scope.

 Padding should be discouraged, and the project manager should ask for justification on estimates
from the team members.


Project Schedule

MBA 6941, Managing Project Teams 2



 Estimates should be as realistic and accurate as possible, and integrity should be maintained
throughout the project life cycle

(PMI, 2013).

PMI identifies seven key process that are associated with time management knowledge areas. Each of these
processes must be carefully negotiated between the project manager and the project participants before a
project begins and during the project’s duration. This helps to ensure that everyone is aware of how long each
activity of the project should take and how much time they should devote to each activity in order to
successfully reach the project’s deadline. These process are shown below:

1. Plan schedule management: The process of defining how the project schedule will be planned,
developed, managed, executed, and controlled

2. Define activities: The process of decomposing the WBS work packages into schedule activities that are
at a level small enough for estimating, scheduling, and monitoring.

3. Sequential activities: The process of identifying and documenting relationships among defined
activities and arranging them in the order in which they must be performed.

4. Estimate activity resources: The process of estimating the resources such as material, equipment,
manpower, and supplies required to perform activities in the project.

5. Estimate activity durations: The process of estimating the duration of the activities of the project by
utilizing scope and resource information, such as who will be doing the work, resource availability, and
number of resources assigned.

6. Develop schedule: The iterative process of analyzing activity sequence, dependency, logical
relationships, durations, resources such as materials, manpower, equipment, supplies, constraints, and
assumptions to develop a project schedule with planned dates for project activities completion.

7. Control Schedule: The process of monitoring the status of the project by comparing the results to the
plan, updating project process, and managing changes to the project schedule baseline (PMI, 2013).

Sequencing Activities

Activity sequencing is the process of placing all the defined project activities in the order that these activities
will be performed. Through sequencing, we identify activities that should be performed earlier within the schedule
and activities that will be performed later. Through this sequential identification, the project can then determine all the
dependencies between activities so that they can be well managed and reduce potential conflicts that may occur
within the schedules of the project team members. The primary tool for diagraming activity dependencies is called
the precedence diagramming method (PDM).

Network Diagrams

A network diagram is like a flowchart and is beneficial for schedule management for the following reasons:

 The network diagram allows us to see dependencies between project activities.

 The network diagram enables us to determine activity durations.

 The network diagram enables the project team to graphically understand the sequential relationships
between activities and their roles.

 The network diagram provides justification for the project time estimate.

 The network diagram points us to the critical path (PMI, 2013).

Precedence Relationships

The precedence diagramming method (PDM), which details the exact method for completing a specific
project, is sometimes referred to as the activity on node (AON) and is classified into four approaches:

1. Finish-to-start: Predecessor activity must be completed before the successor activity can be initiated.
For example, you should put the water pipes into the walls before you start painting the walls. It would
be much faster and less expensive to put the pipes in first, then put in the cement to actually build the
wall around the pipes, and then finally paint the walls.

2. Start-to-start: Predecessor activity must be started before the successor activity is started. For example,
design activity must be started before the coding activity is started.

3. Finish-to-finish: Predecessor activity must be completed before the successor activity is completed. For
example, design activity must be completed before the coding activity is completed.

4. Start-to-finish: Predecessor activity must be started before the successor activity is completed. For example,

MBA 6941, Managing Project Teams 3


a new shift must be started for a previous shift to be finished (PMI, 2013).

Network Dependency Types

The activity sequencing process is constrained or even determined by three types of dependencies (mandatory,
discretionary, and external dependencies) in the network diagram:

 Mandatory dependency: Unavoidable dependencies that are inherent in the nature of the work or are

contractually required. They are like laws of nature and are also called hard logic. For example,
pouring the foundation must precede raising the roof.

 Discretionary dependency: Also called preferred logic or soft logic as they are the preferences of the

project manager. For example, you may originally plan to complete all the design work prior to coding
but later decide not to work in sequential order but to work on items parallel.

 External dependency: Driven by circumstances or authority outside the project and must be

considered during the process of sequencing the activities (PMI, 2013).


A milestone is similar to a bar chart that represents the completion of major events or key deliverable in the
project. This means that milestones have no duration because they only show completed activities.
Milestones are good tools for reporting to management and customers.

Leads and Lags

A lead is an acceleration or a jump of the successor activity. It is kind of like getting a jump start. For example,
in a finish-to-start relationship between design and coding in a software project. Coding may start five days
before the design is completed. This can be shown as finish-to-start with five days lead.

A lag is a delay in starting a successor activity or a deliberate delay which is a waiting time between activities.
For example, you must wait three days after pouring concrete before you can construct the frame for the
house. This is represented in a finish-to-start with three day’s lag.

Duration Estimating Types

 Analogous or top down estimation: Occurs when the overall project estimate is given to the project

manager from management or the sponsor. This type of estimate measures the project parameters
such as budget, size, complexity, and duration based on similar project and historical information.

 Bottom-up estimation: If the resource requirements for an activity cannot be estimated due to the

complex nature of the activity, then this activity can be further broken down into similar pieces of work
until the resources can be estimated for these pieces and later summed up from the bottom back up
to an activity level.

 Parametric estimation: Uses mathematical models based on historical records from other projects. It

utilizes the statistical relationship that exists between a series of historical data and a particular
delineated list of other variables. Measures such as time per line of code, time per installation, and
time per linear meter are considered in this type of estimate (PMI, 2013).

Critical Path Method (CPM)

The critical path is the longest path through a network diagram and determines the shortest time to complete
the project as well as any schedule flexibility. The critical path is not the project schedule. Instead, the critical
path indicates the time period within which an activity could be scheduled considering activity duration, logical
relationships, dependencies, leads, lags, and assumptions and constraints. Elements of the critical path
method (CPM) include the following:

 identifies how much individual activities can be delayed without delaying the project,

 has zero float so none of the activities in the critical path can slip,

 calculated using the single point or PERT-weighted average estimates, and

 delays in any of the activities in the CP translates directly into delays of project completion date

MBA 6941, Managing Project Teams 4


(PMI, 2013).

Developing a Schedule Process

The development of the project schedule is a culmination of all the steps through an iterative process of
analyzing sequential activities and their dependencies, durations, logical relationships, resources (including
materials, manpower, equipment, and supplies), requirements, constraints, and assumptions to develop the
project schedule with planned dates for the completion of the project activities. The process of developing a
schedule produces the most vital and visible project schedule, which determines the planned start and finish
dates for project milestones and activities. It is helpful when a project manager and his or her project team
take the time to sit down and negotiate a project’s schedule and determine all of the tasks that need to be
accomplished before embarking on the project because doing this will limit potential conflicts that can delay a
project and cause a project to miss its final deadline. Communication is definitely the key to completing a
successful project.


Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (5th ed.).
Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Suggested Reading

Please use your favorite search engine to locate the following article. This article gives you an insight to
project process and how project integrated processes is helping organizations achieve success:

Casinelli, M. (2005). Guidelines to mitigate schedule delay, from the owner’s viewpoint. Cost Engineering,

47(2), 21-27.


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