5th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Step 6: Memorizing Inputs & Outputs (Time Management Part 1)


1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 47 processes.   In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am breaking down the processes in the 10 knowledge areas into 2 or 3 posts each.

This post covers chapter 5 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Time Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 7 processes, six of which are in the Planning Process group, and the last of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

(I am splitting the discussion of the Inputs & Outputs into three different posts; this post will cover Processes 6.1 through 6.3.)

2.  Review of processes 6.1 through 6.6 ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs)

There are a total of seven processes in the Time Management Knowledge Area.   Because of the large number of inputs and outputs, I am splitting my discussion of the inputs and outputs into three different posts, each one of which will cover two of the processes.    In that way, I can describe the inputs and outputs for these processes in a little bit of detail without the post becoming too long.

Here is a chart which shows the first, second and third processes, 6.1 Plan Schedule Management, 6.2 Define Activities and 6.3 Sequence Activities together with their tools & techniques (which are discussed in a previous post) and their inputs & outputs.

NOTE:  the generic inputs known as Environmental Enterprise Factors and Operational Process Assets are given by their acronyms EEFs and OPAs, respectively.

Process Name Tools & Techniques Inputs Outputs
6.1 Plan Schedule Management 1. Expert judgment2. Analytical techniques

3. Meetings

1. Project management plan2. Project charter

3. EEFs

4. OPAs

1. Schedule management plan
6.2 Define Activities 1. Decomposition2. Rolling wave planning

3. Expert judgment

1. Schedule management plan2. Scope baseline

3. EEFs

4. OPAs

1. Activity list2. Activity attributes

3. Milestone list

6.3 Sequence Activities 1. Precedence diagramming method (PDM)2. Dependency determination

3. Leads and lags

1. Schedule management plan2. Activity lists

3. Activity attributes

4. Milestone list

5. Project scope statement

6. EEFs

7. OPAs

1. Project schedule network diagrams2. Project documents updates

3.  Outputs for processes 6.1 through 6.3

a. Schedule management plan (6.1 Plan Schedule Management)

It should be obvious than the main output of the process 6.1 Plan Schedule Management is the Schedule Management Plan.   What are the important elements of the Schedule Management Plan?   These include …

  • Project schedule module development (scheduling methodology and scheduling tools)
  • Level of accuracy (used in determining realistic activity duration estimates)
  • Project schedule module maintenance (used to update status and record progress of the project)
  • Control thresholds (agreed-upon amount of variation to be allowed before action takes place)

b. Activity list (6.2 Define Activities)

Includes all schedule activities required on the project.

c. Activity attributes (6.2 Define Activities)

The activity attributes are the identifiers for each activity that include who is going to do the activity, the resources and costs required to do the activity, and other helpful descriptions of the activity.    These have the same relation to the activity list that the WBS dictionary has to the WBS.

d. Milestone lists (6.2 Define Activities)

This is a list of significant points or events in the project.    Milestones may be required by contract, or may be optional, based on historical information (what was done on previous projects).

e. Project schedule network diagrams (6.3 Sequence Activities)

This is a graphical representation of the logical relationships (also called dependencies) among the project schedule activities.   This output is crucial for figuring out the critical path of a project, which represents the longest path through a project, which determines the shortest possible duration that the project will require to be completed.

f. Project documents updates (6.3 Sequence Activities)

The documents that may be updated are the

  • Activity list
  • Activity attributes
  • Milestone list

which are the outputs of the 6.2 Define Activities process, but updated to include for each activity the predecessor and successor activity, after the 6.3 Sequence Activities process has been completed.

4.  Inputs for processes 6.1 through 6.3

a.  Project management plan (6.1 Plan Schedule Management)

In particular, the following parts of the scope management plan are the most important inputs from the project management plan:

  • Scope baseline (project scope statement, WBS)–used for defining activities and duration estimation

b.  Schedule management plan (6.2 Define Activities, 6.3 Sequence Activities)

In particular, the prescribed level of detail necessary to manage the work.

c.  Project charter (6.1 Plan Schedule Management)

Defines the summary milestone schedule and project approval requirements that will influence the management of the project schedule.

d.  Scope baseline (6.2 Define Activities)

The WBS contains the deliverables which must be broken down into the activities required to achieve them.

e.  Activity Lists, f. Activity Attributes, g. Milestone lists (6.3 Sequence Activities)

Activity lists includes all schedule activities required on the project.

Activity attributes are the identifiers for each activity that include who is going to do the activity, the resources and costs required to do the activity, and other helpful descriptions of the activity.    These have the same relation to the activity list that the WBS dictionary has to the WBS.

Milestones are a list of significant points or events in the project.    Milestones may be required by contract, or may be optional, based on historical information (what was done on previous projects).

These three are outputs of process 6.2 Define Activities are the inputs of the process 6.3 Sequence Activities.   This is the usual pattern of inputs and outputs, where the outputs of one process become the inputs of the following process.

h. Project scope statement (6.3 Sequence Activities)

Contains the product scope description, which may include product characteristics that affect the sequencing of the activities.   The project deliverables, project constraints, and project assumptions may also affect activity sequencing.

i. EEFs (6.1 Plan Schedule Management, 6.2 Define Activities, and 6.3 Sequence Activities)

The EEFs that are used as inputs in 6.1 Plan Schedule Management and 6.2 Define Activities are:

  • Organizational culture and structure
  • Resource availability and skills
  • Project management information system
  • Organizational work authorization systems

j.  OPAs (6.1 Plan Schedule Management, 6.2 Define Activities, and 6.3 Sequence Activities)

The OPAs that are used as inputs in 6.1 Plan Schedule Management and 6.2 Define Activities include:

  • Policies, procedures, and guidlines for formal and informal schedule control
  • Schedule control tools
  • Lessons learned database

These are the inputs and outputs for the first three processes.   The next post will cover the inputs and outputs for process 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources and 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations.

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