The stages of project planning and control

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Stages of Management, Project Planning and Control

The process of project planning and control is one of the essential and fundamental processes in any project.

Perhaps, for project planning and control experts and managers, the question may arise

What are the stages of project planning and control ?

Project planning Even though most of them perform these stages in practice, providing a concise and categorized answer to this question may be somewhat challenging. Additionally, applicants for management, Project planning and control positions who participate in job interviews are expected to be familiar with the stages of project planning and control.

The stages of project planning and control are categorized into the following:

First Stage : Project Initiation – Defining the project’s purpose and objectives.
Second Stage : Project Planning – Creating a detailed project planning including tasks, timelines, and resource allocation.
Third Stage : Project Execution – Carrying out the plan and coordinating activities to achieve project goals.
Fourth Stage : Monitoring and Controlling – Continuously tracking project planning progress and making adjustments as necessary.
Fifth Stage : Closure – Finalizing the project, evaluating its success, and documenting lessons learned.

These stages are crucial for effective project management and ensuring that projects are completed successfully and within the defined parameters.

Analysis and Evaluation of Organizational Activities

1. Review of Objectives and Operational Conditions of Activities

• Why should these activities be carried out?
• What is the purpose of undertaking this project?
• What achievements will the organization gain upon the completion of these activities?
• Under what conditions is this project intended to be executed?

The initial answers to these straightforward questions shape the decision regarding the execution or non-execution of activities.

2. Prepare of the Project Charter

It is a document issued by the project sponsor and includes high-level objectives, key constraints, major requirements, major risks, budget, scope, key stakeholders, project manager, and more. This document is completed and published at the beginning of the project (the best time to select the project manager is when this document is completed).

3. Phasing of Organizational Project Activities

Phases are sets of interconnected project activities that yield a deliverable upon their completion. The PMBOK Guide considers five phases for each project: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.

In addition to this phasing, in the operational and utilization phases of large projects, the entire project does not reach the operational stage all at once. Instead, it progresses step by step and phase by phase. One of the reasons for this approach is to generate revenue from completed phases and secure the budget for completing the remaining phases and gradually delivering to contractors.

4. Preparation of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for Activities

The project Planning manager can categorize and subdivide activities in various ways. One of the reasons for doing this is to gain a better and more precise understanding of the project’s scope and better manage its components.

5. Preparing the Activity List and Schedule

After creating the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and activities, we refer to the lowest level of the WBS as “Work Package.” Subsequently, the work package represents the smallest operational unit of the project with defined time, cost, and resources required for execution.

6. Examining Relationships and Overlaps Between Activities

There are four types of relationships that can be defined for activities, determining their precedence and dependency

Finish to Start (FS) Relationships: Activity B cannot start until Activity A is finished.
Start to Start (SS) Relationships: Activity B cannot start until Activity A begins.
Finish to Finish (FF) Relationships: Activity B cannot finish until Activity A is finished.
Start to Finish (SF) Relationships: Activity B cannot finish until Activity A begins.

These relationships are crucial for understanding the order and dependencies among project activities and are used to create a project schedule or timeline.

Preparing the Activity List and Estimates

After creating the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and activities, the lowest level of the WBS is referred to as a “Work Package.” The work package represents the smallest operational unit of the project with defined time, cost, and resources required for execution.

Examining Relationships and Overlaps Between Activities

Typically, 90% of relationships in a scheduling plan are of the Finish to Start (FS) type, while 10% are either Finish to Finish (FF) or Start to Start (SS). The use of Start to Finish (SF) relationships is rare.

7. Drawing the Project Activity Schedule Network

With the help of project planning and control software such as MSP (Microsoft Project) and P6 (Primavera P6), this task is carried out more easily.

• Project planning : Estimating Activity Durations, Costs, and Resources

Now we move on to the stage of estimations. A key aspect of a good and practical schedule is to calculate accurate and realistic estimates for activities. These estimates are derived from project design blueprints.

Due to the nature of Rolling Wave Planning at the start of the project, where designs may not be fully completed or are in the preliminary design stage, the initial estimates have a high level of tolerance. These estimates become more precise as the designs and documentation are completed.

1. Estimating the volume of work and required resources for activity execution

The work volume of each activity, such as excavation, concrete pouring, and framework, must be estimated. Based on this, the required resources for timely activity completion are calculated.

2. Estimation Activity Durations

Estimating activity durations (Activity Duration Estimating) is the process of estimating the number of time periods required to complete each activity. This process is one of the more challenging aspects of schedule development and should be performed by individuals familiar with the nature of the work. Two important and key inputs in estimating activity durations are the required labor resources and the capabilities of those resources. Information and records obtained from other projects or databases can also be useful in creating an accurate, useful, and effective estimate. Methods like Three-Point Estimation or drawing from the experience of previous projects are used in estimating activity durations.

3. Estimate Project Costs (Direct and Indirect)

Direct project costs are those costs directly associated with project activities, such as machinery costs for construction operations or contractor costs. Indirect costs cannot be allocated to a specific activity or a group of activities. Examples include staff salaries. One of the responsibilities of a project planner is to estimate direct and indirect project costs.

4. Prepare Detailed Budgets for Project Activities

A budget is the amount of money allocated for the project and placed under the control of the project manager. In this regard, preparing a cash flow diagram for the project is also necessary. This helps to understand how much money will be received through progress payments by the client or through other sources like loans, investor capital, and other means at different time intervals, and how much money needs to be paid for direct and indirect costs and contractor fees in each time period.

• Project Planning : Activity Scheduling

The term “project activity scheduling” refers to understanding when each activity is expected to take place within the project, whether it occurs after, before, or concurrently with other activities.
The Gantt chart is the most commonly used method for presenting project scheduling.

1. Preparing a detailed schedule for project activities

All activities have specific start and end times and durations, and the sequence of all tasks is determined.

2. Determining working and non-working days and hours

Or the project calendar needs to be determined, for example, whether the project is supposed to work 7 days a week or less. Identify which days are holidays and the working hours, i.e., what hours the work should be from and to.

3. Determining key milestones in project activities

Milestones are key and important events in the project or each phase. Such as project initiation, land delivery, The date of advance payment or project completion. The dates of these milestones are of great importance to every organization, project manager, and other project stakeholders.

4. Analyzing the critical path of project activities

The critical path is the longest path in the project. In other words, all activities on this path have zero float, and any delay in any of the activities on this path will cause a delay in the entire project.
Every project has at least one critical path. For every project manager, identifying and controlling the critical path is very important, and a planner with the help of common planning and control software defines, identifies, and analyzes it.

5. Examining unfavorable weather conditions according to the 20-year report of the Meteorological Organization

Weather and geography conditions vary in each region. A precise planner extracts the report of 20 years of weather conditions in the project area and, considering this risk, prepares the project schedule. For example, in cold-weather provinces, you cannot have a similar schedule for the winter season as for the summer season. The number 20 years refers to Article 16 of the general contract conditions.

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6. Review of Other Issues and Potential Problems

Every project comes with its unique set of issues and potential problems, some of which may be quite distinctive in nature. Therefore, considering the specific circumstances of each project, it is important to identify, analyze, and assess its particular issues and challenges.

• Resource Planning and Understanding the Relationship between Time and Cost

Resource planning, which unfortunately has been somewhat neglected in our country, is often reduced to schedules lacking resource allocation. However, if resource planning is not properly executed, including human resources, machinery, materials, and supplies, it becomes highly unlikely that the project will be completed on time.

1. Resource Planning and Allocation

Resources can be broadly categorized as consumable and non-consumable resources. Consumable resources are those that are used up in the project and deplete over time, such as materials. Non-consumable resources can be used in other projects either concurrently or subsequently after the completion of the current one. Examples of non-consumable resources include human labor, machinery, and equipment. It is crucial to determine the extent to which each activity requires resources from each category.

2. Analysis of the Relationship Between Time and Cost (Optimal Time-Cost Tradeoff)

Reducing the duration of an activity (Duration) typically involves increasing costs, such as adding more work equipment or extending work shifts. Finding the optimal point involves determining how much cost to incur to achieve the most time-efficient state for carrying out project activities. In project management, this is often referred to as the “time-cost tradeoff” or “crashing the schedule.” Project managers need to strike a balance between completing the project as quickly as possible (reducing the project duration) and keeping costs within budget.

The optimal point in this tradeoff represents the most cost-effective way to achieve the desired project duration. It’s important to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to identify the optimal time-cost tradeoff for each project activity. This analysis helps determine when it’s worthwhile to invest more resources to accelerate an activity and when it’s more cost-effective to maintain the original timeline. The exact optimal point may vary from one project to another and is influenced by factors such as project constraints, available resources, and the project’s critical path.

• Preparation of the Final and Executive Project Activity Plan

1. Preparation of the Final and Executive Project Activity Plan

After the above stages, a project scheduling plan is prepared, which must be approved by the client or consultant. If the client or consultant has any concerns or objections, their input should be considered, and the plan should be defended logically and rationally. In the end, this approved plan becomes the project’s baseline, which is the reference plan for all project stakeholders.

2. Planning for the Provision of Project Execution Resources

The execution of project activities is contingent upon the timely provision of the required resources. Many delays and interruptions occur due to a lack of necessary resources, as discussed earlier.

• Project Execution

Guiding Activities and Project Execution

If a well-structured and logical plan has been prepared, it plays a crucial role in guiding the project towards its goals. By identifying the project’s critical path and focusing on milestones, effective project management and guidance can be achieved.

• Project Planning :Evaluation and Monitoring

1. Calculation of Activity Progress

The calculation of activity progress is done using a Progress Measurement System. Physical progress is calculated as the ratio of work completed to the total work volume. For example, if you are supposed to pour 1000 cubic meters of concrete and have poured 500 cubic meters, you have achieved 50% physical progress. For cost progress, it’s calculated as the ratio of the actual cost incurred to the estimated budget for the activity.

2. Evaluation of Incurred Execution Costs

Evaluating the actual costs spent on project execution is the responsibility of the cost control unit within the project planning and control department. This involves analyzing how much was budgeted for activities, how much has been spent so far, and what the difference is, allowing you to forecast where you’ll end up.

3. Earned Value Management (EVM) Analysis and Calculation of Its Metrics for Project Managers

EVM provides an accurate view of a project’s performance, and its metrics help project managers understand the project’s status and performance.

4. Comparison of Results with Predictions

In project control, it’s essential to compare the work done with planned work, analyze deviations and their causes, and adjust the plan for remaining tasks accordingly.

Synchronization of the Project Scheduling Plan

The project scheduling plan needs to be updated and reviewed at regular intervals, typically on a weekly basis. Delays in activities and their impact on the project and project completion should be assessed. Proper updating of the scheduling plan is crucial for accurate project performance assessment.

5. Providing Remedial Solutions for Delay Compensation

When project delays occur for various reasons and have significant impacts, such as increased costs and loss of credibility with the client, you must consider ways to compensate for these delays or prevent further delays in the continuation of the project. These solutions should involve input from the technical office and the execution team to make them practical rather than theoretical or just on paper.

6. Preparation of Management Reports

The output of project planning and control includes reports in the form of tables, graphs, and charts. These reports not only reflect the current status of the project but also assist managers in making better decisions and finding ways to improve ongoing activities.

7. Budget Forecast for Project Completion

The forecast of the budget required to complete the project, often referred to as “Estimate to Complete (ETC),” is calculated using various methods, some of which are mentioned in the concepts of Earned Value Management.

• Assisting Management Decision-Making

1. Evaluation of the Project’s Time and Cost Status

Typically, an accurate assessment of the project’s time and cost performance can be made using Progress Measurement System charts (S-curves) and Earned Value Management (EVM) metrics such as CPI (Cost Performance Index) and SPI (Schedule Performance Index).

Assisting Management in Making Appropriate and Timely Responses:

The goal of project planning and control is to assist project managers and other operational managers in making better decisions for aligning the project on the right path. In essence, project control serves as the control gauges for the pilot of an aircraft. If the aircraft deviates from its course or altitude, the duty of those gauges is to provide timely alerts to the pilot for course or altitude correction. The most critical of these gauges in a project are deviations from the project’s baseline schedule and budget, often referred to as the “Baseline.” These deviations, with timely alerts, assist the project manager in making better decisions.

Author: Arash Beyazian Serkandi

Eizat Alhayat Project management Services

Consultation and Private Training in Organizational Management, Planning, and Control

Topic: What is Project Planning and Control?

شناسنامه نوشته
The stages of project planning and control
نام نوشته
The stages of project planning and control
Stage 1: Initiation – Defining the project’s purpose and objectives Stage 2: Planning – Creating a detailed project plan, including tasks, timelines, and resource allocation Stage 3: Execution – Carrying out the plan and coordinating activities to achieve project goals Stage 4: Monitoring and Controlling – Continuously tracking project progress and making adjustments as necessary Stage 5: Closure – Finalizing the project, evaluating its success, and documenting lessons learned
نام منتشر کننده
Peykaran Project management, Project planning and control
لوگوی منتشر گننده