5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 6: Process 6.3 Sequence Activities

1. Introduction

Once the project activities have been identified in process 6.2 Define Activities, the next planning process 6.3 Sequence Activities identifies and documents the relationships among the project activities.

Which need to be done first? Which ones can be done in parallel? By analyzing this logically, you can create a logical sequence of work which will accomplish the work of the project with the greatest amount of efficiency given the other project constraints.

The following is a summary of the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs used in the process.

1. Schedule Management Plan Identifies the scheduling method and tool to be used.
2. Activity List Includes all scheduled activities on the project. This is an output of process 6.2 Define Activities
3. Activity Attributes Describes the predecessor and successor activities, as well as possible leads and lags, associated with each activity. This is an output of process 6.2 Define Activities.
4. Milestone List Gives specific dates for any milestones. This is an output of process 6.2 Define Activities.
5. Project scope statement The product scope description includes product characteristics which may affect activity sequencing. Project deliverables, constraints, and assumptions may also affect activity sequencing.
6. EEFs
  • Government and industry standards
  • Project Management Information System
  • Scheduling tool
  • Company work authorization systems
7. OPAs
  • Project files
  • Policies, procedures and guidelines, templates used with scheduling methodology
1. Precedence diagramming method (PDM) Used to construct a schedule model in which activities are represented by nodes and are linked to show the sequence in which they are performed.
2. Dependency determination Dependencies between activities are characterized by various attributes: mandatory vs. discretionary, internal vs. external
3. Leads and lags A lead is the amount of time a successor activity can be advanced with respect to a predecessor activity. A lag is the amount of time a successor activity can be delayed with respect to a predecessor activity.
1. Project schedule network diagrams A graphical representation of the logical relationships (also known as dependencies) among the project schedule activities.
2. Project documents updates
  • Activity lists
  • Activity attributes
  • Milestone list
  • Risk register

2. Inputs

The scheduling methodology and tools to be used are specified in the Schedule Management Plan (the output of 6.1 Plan Schedule Management). The activity list, activity attributes, and the milestone list which were the outputs of the previous process 6.2 Define Activities are now the inputs to this process. Some of the project constraints and assumptions from the project scope statement may be useful in helping analyze the logical relationships or dependencies between the various activities.

3. Tools & Techniques

The Precedence Diagramming Method is a tool used to represent activities by nodes (or boxes) which are then linked to show the sequence in which they are to be performed. Information from the project constraints and assumptions can help in the analysis of the dependencies among the various activities, as well as the leads and lags required between predecessor and successor activities.

4. Outputs

The Precedence Diagramming Method has an output a project schedule network diagram which will show the sequence in which all the activities are to be performed. If any of the attributes of the activities (particularly dependencies, as well as leads and lags) are altered as a result of the detailed analysis done in this process, those are updated. Activity lists, milestone lists, and risk registers may add details as well.

Before going on to the next process, I will take the next two posts to describe in more detail both the tool (Precedence Diagramming Method) and the techniques (Dependency Determination and Leads and Lags) used in this process.


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