Project Schedule and Cost Management for projects following predictive and incremental approaches

25/12/2023

Project schedule and cost management are two key aspects of project management that are closely intertwined and crucial for the successful delivery of a project. Here's an overview of each:

Project Schedule Management:

  • Processes: This includes processes such as defining activities, sequencing activities, estimating activity resources and durations, developing the schedule, and controlling the schedule.
  • Tools and Techniques: Various tools and techniques are used in schedule management, including Gantt charts, network diagrams (such as the Critical Path Method), resource levelling, and schedule compression techniques.
  • Importance: Effective schedule management ensures that project activities are completed in the right sequence, resources are allocated efficiently, and project milestones are achieved on time. It helps in identifying and managing project risks, dependencies, and constraints.
  • Definition: Project schedule management involves developing, maintaining, and controlling the project schedule to ensure timely completion of project activities and deliverables.

Project Cost Management:

  • Definition: Project cost management involves estimating, budgeting, and controlling project costs throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Processes: This includes processes such as cost estimating, cost budgeting, and cost control.
  • Tools and Techniques: Various tools and techniques are used in cost management, including cost estimation methods (such as analogous estimating, parametric estimating, and bottom-up estimating), cost baseline development, and earned value management (EVM).
  • Importance: Effective cost management ensures that projects are completed within the approved budget and that resources are used efficiently. It involves monitoring and controlling project costs, identifying cost variances, and taking corrective actions as needed to prevent cost overruns.

Integration between Schedule and Cost Management:

  • Schedule and cost management are closely related, as changes in one area can impact the other.
  • For example, delays in project activities can lead to increased costs due to additional resource requirements or contractual penalties.
  • Conversely, cost overruns can lead to schedule delays if additional funds or resources are needed to complete project activities.
  • Integration between schedule and cost management involves aligning project schedules with budgetary constraints, monitoring both schedule and cost performance, and taking timely corrective actions to ensure project success within scope, schedule, and budget constraints.

Overall, effective project schedule and cost management are essential for achieving project objectives, delivering value to stakeholders, and ensuring project success. They require careful planning, monitoring, and control throughout the project lifecycle.

Dependencies or Relationships between Tasks

In project management, there are four main types of dependencies or relationships between tasks, often represented using the acronyms FS, SS, FF, and SF. Here's a brief explanation of each:

  1. Finish-to-Start (FS): This is the most common type of dependency. It means that Task B cannot start until Task A finishes. Task A's completion triggers the start of Task B.

  2. Start-to-Start (SS): In this relationship, Task B cannot start until Task A starts. Both tasks can occur simultaneously, but Task B cannot begin until Task A begins.

  3. Finish-to-Finish (FF): With this dependency, Task B cannot finish until Task A finishes. The completion of Task A triggers the completion of Task B. This type of relationship is useful when two tasks need to be completed at the same time.

  4. Start-to-Finish (SF): This is the least common type of dependency. It means that Task B cannot finish until Task A starts. Task A's initiation triggers the completion of Task B. This type of relationship is often used in situations where Task B needs to be completed within a specific time frame after Task A starts.

Understanding and properly managing these dependencies is crucial for creating realistic project schedules and ensuring that tasks are executed in the correct sequence to achieve project objectives efficiently.

Lead and lag are concepts used to adjust the timing of these relationships.

  1. Lead: A lead allows the successor task to start before its predecessor task has finished. It means that there's an overlap between the two tasks. For example, if Task B has a lead of two days on Task A, Task B can start two days before Task A finishes.

  2. Lag: A lag, on the other hand, inserts a delay between the finish of the predecessor task and the start of the successor task. It means that there's a waiting period between the two tasks. For instance, if Task B has a lag of three days on Task A, Task B can start three days after Task A finishes.

In project management, particularly in scheduling and dependency management, there are various types of relationships between tasks. "Hard logic," "soft logic," and "external dependency" are terms used to describe different types of dependencies between tasks:

  1. Hard Logic: Hard logic, also known as "mandatory" or "internal" dependency, represents a relationship between tasks that is inflexible and strictly enforced. It means that the start or finish of one task is directly tied to the start or finish of another task. Hard logic dependencies are typically inherent to the nature of the work being performed and cannot be altered without changing the project scope or requirements.

  2. Soft Logic: Soft logic, also referred to as "preferential" or "discretionary" dependency, represents a relationship between tasks that is more flexible and discretionary. Unlike hard logic dependencies, soft logic dependencies are not mandatory and are based on the preferences or best practices of the project team. They allow for some degree of flexibility in scheduling and sequencing tasks. Soft logic dependencies are often used when there are multiple valid ways to complete a project and when specific task sequences are not critical to project success.

  3. External Dependency: An external dependency is a relationship between tasks where the completion of one task is dependent on factors outside the project's control. These factors can include deliverables from external vendors, regulatory approvals, or input from stakeholders external to the project team. External dependencies can introduce uncertainty and risk into a project schedule because the project team may have limited influence or control over the timing or outcome of these dependencies.

Understanding and managing these different types of dependencies is essential for creating realistic project schedules, identifying critical paths, and mitigating risks in project execution.


Time and Cost Estimation Techniques

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