Sequence Activities –In Which Order The Project Activities Must Perform?

Sequence activities process will define the order of execution of the activities in the project.

In the previous process define activities, we have seen how the project scope decomposes into project activities.

Since we have the complete list of activities now it is time to plan the order of execution of these activities. Meaning which activities should go first, and which activity should follow next, etc..

For example, you figure out that activity B has to execute only after finishing activity A. Then the relationship between the activities A and B is known as dependency. In this specific cast the type of  dependency is referred to Finish to start dependency. Activity A is predecessor  with respect to activity B. Similarly activity B is successor with respect to activity A.

To know more about the different types of dependencies, please read through the blog post dependencies in project management.

Milestone List contains the high level significant stages in the project. Activity List has the all the list of activities and activity attributes has all the information about activities such as predecessor, successor, constraints, etc.

So using this information, project manager should sequence activities.

Sequence Activities Process ITTOs

Sequence Activities In A Project

The sequence activities process will use the milestone list, activity list, activity attributes primarily to sequence activities in the project.

Below are the ITTO s for sequence activities process.

Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs
Schedule management plan

Activity List

Activity Attributes

Milestone List

Project Scope Statement

Enterprise environmental factors

Organizational process assets

Precedence diagramming method

Dependency Determination

Lead and Lags

Project Schedule Network Diagram

Project Document Updates

Inputs

Schedule management plan

In every knowledge area, plan provides all methods and approach on how the rest of the processes in that knowledge area are going to perform

Schedule management plan provides all the information on how the rest of the time management process are going to perform.

Activity List

Eventually activity list is the list of all the activities that will cover the entire scope of the project. Remember from define activities process that the project scope baseline is decomposed into the activity list. So activity is one of the primary input to sequence activities process.

Activity Attributes

Activity attributes contain all the information that you need to know about each activity. For example this could be

  • Identification of the attribute
  • A detailed explanation about the activity
  • Predecessor and successor information of the activity
  • Limitation of the activity
  • Other information such as resources and duration, etc.

Milestone List

Milestones are nothing but all the important achievements or check points in your project, which you want to track the progress.

Milestone list contain high level check points above the activities. A milestone will have the set of activities corresponding to it. So depending up on the completion of activities the corresponding milestone completion is determined.

Project Scope Statement

Although activity list is an input to sequence activities process, project scope statement may have additional information related to scope and also keeping the scope statement handy will ensure that the project manager did not miss anything from the project scope.

Enterprise environmental factors

Enterprise environmental factors are common inputs to many project management processes. Please read through the blog post on common PMP ITTO s for more details on enterprise environmental factors.

Organizational process assets

Organizational process assets are detailed as part of common ITTOs blog post. Please read through the blog post on common PMP ITTOs for more details on organizational process assets.

Making use of historical information of similar projects may help the project manager to understand how past projects did the sequence activities process. Also he may utilize the historical templates not to start from the scratch.

Tools & Techniques

Precedence Diagramming Method

Precedence diagramming method (PDM) represents the project activities in a pictorial form, in the sequence that the activities needs to perform in the project.

Another name for precedence diagramming method (PDM) is activity on node (AON) diagram.

The diagram that is created using the precedence diagramming method is called as Network Diagram. The network diagram primarily represent the sequence of activities.

Also please refer to the detail blog post on how to create Network Diagram Using Precedence diagramming method (PDM)  or  Activity On Node (AON) to understand more on how to create the network diagram in a project.

Dependency Determination

Eventually dependency is a relationship between two activities. There are four type of dependencies exists in project management. They are

  • Finish To Start
  • Start To Start
  • Finish To Finish
  • Start To Finish

Also depending on the nature of dependency, they categorize into external/internal dependency, mandatory and discretionary dependencies.

Please read through the detailed blog post on type of dependencies in project management for more detailed understanding on the dependencies.

Leads and Lags

Lag is nothing but a delay to a successor activity with respect to its predecessor activity.  On the other hand, a lead is how much time a successor activity can be advanced (preponed) with respect to its predecessor activity.

Also please read through the detailed blog post on type of dependencies, and the definition of lead and lag to understand more on this topic.

Outputs

Project Schedule Network Diagram

Eventually project schedule network diagram tell us in a pictorial representation about the sequence of the activities in the project. Using either precedence diagraming method (PDM) or activity on arrow (AOA) diagram method, one can create the network diagram.

Also please read through the detailed blog post on how to create network diagram using precedence diagram(PDM) or activity on arrow (AOA) method for more information.

Project Document Updates

During sequence activities process, some of the existing project documents might require updates. Project document updates is also a common ITTO. Please refer to common ITTO s blog post for more details.

Conclusion

To conclude with, the key to understand the sequence activities process is to practice on how to create the network diagram and understand about the dependencies that can exist between the activities in the project.

For the purpose of this process, remember that the main inputs are activity list, activity attributes, milestone list and the scope statement.

As a matter of fact the main goal of the sequence activities process is to create the schedule network diagram, which is the primary output of this process.

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