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Project Planning Cheat Sheet by

Approaches to planning, activity planning, and product flow diagrams

Prior to planning

Business Case should be set out. Outlines how projects benefits outweigh costs
Project object­ives should be ID'd and agreed. Objectives define successful project outcomes

Activity planning

Work out activity order. Draw up an activity network diagram. There are two ways:
1. Activity on node used in this cheats­heet
Activities are repres­ented on nodes
Used by most PM tools inc MS Project
2. Activity on arrow
Activities are repres­ented by arrow
Iden­tifying Milest­ones
Events which do not take up time or energy.
Esti­mating elapsed time
Estimate how long each activity will take
Add these to the nodes in your diagram
If task finishes on day 4, the next task should start on day 5
Float is leeway time between activities
Critical path (CP)
Chain of activities from beginning to end with no float. A CP activity delayed then project delayed. Activity span = total period during which the activity has to take place
ES = Earliest start, EF = Earliest finish, LS = Latest start, LF = Latest finish

Gantt Chart Example

Useful equations

Earliest finish = earliest start + duration
Latest start = latest finish – duration
Latest finish = earliest of 'latest start' activities dependent on the activity
Float = latest finish – earliest start – duration
Activity span = latest finish – earliest start

Product based planning

1. ID project delive­rables: project outputs delivered to client. Tangible.
2. ID interm­ediate products: created during project, but not delivered to client.
3. List delive­rables or display them in a work breakdown structure
4. Produce defini­tions for stakeh­olders
ID or name of the product
Product/s that need to exist before this one, those it is derived from
Components that make up the product
Quality criteria which explain how product will be judged as satisf­actory

Activity on node example

Each node then given inform­ation in image 'Layout of an activity node'

Resource allocation

Resources = raw materials, staff & equip
For each activity ID the resource type needed
For HR identify role to carry out the task
On activity network diagram for each node note resources needed
Problems you may encoun­ter
Not enough staff available – resource clash
Use the float to delay until staff available
Delay start even though float used up. Will delay completion
Buy in staff to cover defici­ency. ^ cost
Split into sub activities to spread evenly
Need to keep workflow steady
Put into a form that everyone will understand e.g. Gantt chart
Activities left hand side
Calendar units along the top
Block symbols used to show when activities will be taken out
Free float shown in light blocks
Arrows show depend­encies

Work / activity based planning

Very similar to 'Product based planning' but replace the products with activities

Product flow diagram (PFD)

Part of the Product approach
Visual repres­ent­ation of order in which a sequence of products is created according to product based planning principles
Should contain all of the products of the Product Breakdown Structure (equiv­alent to a Work Breakdown Structure) - the PFD should be kept simple
Flows top to bottom and left to right
Looping back is not allowed

Product flow diagram (PFD) - Example

The activity span

Layout of an activity node


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