th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Step 6: Memorizing Inputs & Outputs (Time Management Part 2)


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 6 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 6.4 through 6.5.)

2.  Review of processes 6.4 through 6.5 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 fourth and fifth processes, 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources and 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations 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
6.5 Estimate Activity Resources 1. Expert judgment

2. Alternative analysis

3. Published estimating data

4. Bottom-up estimating

5. Project management software

1. Schedule management plan

2. Activity list

3. Activity attributes

4. Resource calendars

5. Risk register

6. Activity cost estimates

7. EEFs

8. OPAs

1. Activity resource requirements

2. Resource breakdown structure

3. Project documents updates

6.6 Estimate Activity Durations 1. Expert judgment

2. Analogous estimating

3. Parametric estimating

4. Three-point estimating

5. Group decision-making techniques

6. Reserve analysis

1. Schedule management plan

2. Activity list

3. Activity attributes

4. Activity resource requirements

5. Resource calendars

6. Project scope statement

7. Risk register

8. Resource breakdown structure

9. EEFs

10. OPAs

1. Activity duration estimates

2. Project documents updates

3.  Outputs for processes 6.4 through 6.5

Outputs are listed first because they are generally easier to understand than the inputs.   You can generally tell what dish a cook is going to make by looking at a list of ingredients; it takes a more experienced cook to taste a dish and tell you all the ingredients that went into it.    So let’s discuss the outputs for these two processes …

a.  Activity resource requirements (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources)

This identifies the types and amounts of resources available for each activity.   Optional information may include

  • the basis for the estimate of the amounts of resources available
  • assumptions made in determining the types of resources to be applied
  • availability of resources (when during the project are they available, and when are they “offline”)

b.   Resource breakdown structure (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources)

This is a hierarchical representation of resources available arranged by category and type.    Categories of resources include

  • Labor
  • Material
  • Equipment
  • Supplies

and types of resources include skill level and grade level.

c.  Project documents updates (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources)

These three types of project documents are inputs to the process, and they get updated as a result of this process.   For example, the activity resource requirements (described in paragraph a above) are used to update the activity list and activity attributes.

  • Activity list
  • Activity attributes
  • Resource calendars

d.  Activity duration estimates (6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

This is the main output of the 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations process.   Activity duration estimates are quantitative assessments of the likely number of work periods that are required to complete an activity.   The estimate may include some indication of the range of possible results, such as 2 weeks ± 2 days.

e.  Project Documents updates (6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

  • Activity attributes (duration estimates will be added)
  • Assumptions made in developing the activity duration estimate (such as skill levels and availability)
  • Basis for estimates for durations (based on historical information, commercial databases, etc.)

4.  Inputs for processes 6.4 through 6.5

a.  Schedule management plan (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources, 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

The elements of the schedule management plan that are relevant to the process 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources and 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations are

  • Level of accuracy of estimates
  • Units of measure for the resources to be estimated

b.  Activity list, c. Activity attributes (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources, 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

The activity list and the activity attributes are the next level down in specificity from the WBS and the WBS dictionary.   However, the WBS consists of deliverables which are nouns, and the activity list contains activities which are verbs (used to create the deliverables in the WBS).

The activity list is used to identify those activities that need resources.   The activity attributes provides primary data used in estimating the resources required for each activity in the activity list.    These inputs are used for both processes 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources and 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations.

d.   Resource calendars (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources, 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

This identifies the working days and shifts of the project on which each specific resource (human resources, equipment, or material) is available.    The type of resource available will have an affect on the estimate of the duration of activity; for example, an experienced staff member may be expected to take less time than a relatively less experienced staff member.

e.   Activity resource requirements (6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

This input to process 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations is an output of process 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources.   The types of resources available may have an impact on the estimate of the activity duration; for example, lower-skilled resources may take longer to do a particular activity than more experienced resources.

f.   Activity cost estimates (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources)

The cost of resources may impact resource selection.

g.   Risk register (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources, 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

Risk events may impact resource selection and availability.

h.  Project scope statement (6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

The assumptions listed in the project scope statement that may affect the estimate of activity durations are

  • Existing conditions regarding availability of resources
  • Availability of accurate information regarding type of resources available
  • Length of reporting periods

The constraints listed in the project scope statement that may affect the estimate of activity durations are

  • Available skilled resources
  • Contract terms and requirements

i.   Resource breakdown structure (6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

This input to process 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations is an output of process 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources.  The resource breakdown structure or RBS  provides a hierarchical structure of the identified resources by resource category (labor, material, equipment, supplies and resource type (skill level and grade level).

j.  EEFs (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources, 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

The resource location, availability, and skill levels may influence the Estimate Activity Resources process.   The following may influence the Estimate Activity Durations process

  • Databases and other reference data for estimating durations
  • Productivity metrics
  • Published commercial information on activity durations
  • Location of team members

k.  OPAs (6.4 Estimate Activity Resources, 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations)

  • Policies and procedures regarding staffing
  • Policies and procedures regarding rental and purchase of supplies and equipment
  • Project calendars
  • Scheduling methodology
  • Historical information regarding types of resources used for work on similar projects in the past

These are the inputs and outputs for the fourth and fifth  processes.   The next post will cover the inputs and outputs for process 6.6 Develop Schedule and 6.7 Control Schedule.

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