Monday, December 3, 2007

The Inputs to Project Activity Definition

When a project reaches the activity definition phase, certain documents or documentable items have already been established. These "inputs to activity definition" include the Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS), scope statement, historical informaiton, constraints, assumptions, and expert judgment.
  • Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS)
    One of the principle inputs to activity definition is the WBS. This document defines project tasks and deliverables.
  • scope statement
    The scope statement refers directly to project justification, project objectives, project deliverables, and project product description.
  • historical information
    Historical information is another important input to activity definition. Consider activities required on previous, similar projects in defining current project activities. After all, if something works, why not repeat it?
  • constraints
    Constraints are also an input to project activity definition. A constraint is anything that can limit the project management team's options.
  • assumptions
    Assumptions are the fourth input to activity definition. For planning purposes, assumptions are factors that are considered to be true. Over the course of the project, these factors may turn out to be true or false.

    Assumptions always carry a degree of risk. For example, if assumptions about materials or costs are false, a project may be delayed or exceed its budget.
  • expert judgment
    The final input to activity definition is expert judgment. Expert judgment is advice from people with specialized knowledge or training that directly relates to your project. Some sources of expert judgment are:
experienced employees in the organization
outside consultants
professional associations
industry watch groups.
The inputs to activity definition are an important part of any project. These documents and documentable items help the project manager and team to determine project deliverables and the tools and techniques needed to achieve the deliverables.

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