How To Use Dynamic Project Scheduling

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP

Dynamic project scheduling and the diagram of a predecessor network show us the sequence of tasks and let us design concurrent or parallel tasks. This can significantly shorten a project’s duration. Project Schedule & Software Main PageDynamic project Scheduling

Successful project managers use dynamic project scheduling because it saves them significant amounts of time and lets them quickly model the impact of changes to resources, work or cost. Dynamic scheduling automatically recalculates the duration and budget for the project every time you make a change in the resources, hourly rates, hours of work and predecessor relationships.

Dynamic Project Scheduling Tips

Many commercial scheduling software products allow for dynamic scheduling. But you must be aware of the critical elements required for the dynamic schedule to work.

Element number 1  –  your schedule must be based on the use of predecessor relationships between tasks, not the use of fixed start and finish dates. There are three primary kinds of predecessor relationships and the entire schedule must be built on these relationships. Predecessor Relationships

  • First is the finish-to-start predecessor relationship between tasks A and B. That tells the software that task B can’t start until task A has finished.
  • Second is the start-to-start predecessor relationship between tasks A and B. That tells the software that tasks A and B can start at the same time.
  • Third is the finish-to-finish predecessor relationship between tasks A and B. That tells the software that tasks A and B must finish on the same date, even though they may not start at the same time.

Element number 2  –  your schedule must be based on work durations that are calculated from resource availability and work estimates. You enter the amount of work and the resource’s availability, that is, how many hours a day each resource can work. As an example, say there is 80 hours of work for a team member who works on the project half-time, or four hours a day. The software calculates the task duration as 25 working days because the half-time team member can only complete four hours of work a day.

Dynamic Scheduling to Control the Task Sequence

You use dynamic scheduling with predecessor relationships to control the sequencing of the tasks in your project plan. As an example, you may specify a finish-to-finish predecessor relationship. That tells the project management software that you want to schedule two tasks and their resources so both tasks finish at the same time. When you are finished specifying all our predecessor relationships, your project plan becomes a network of tasks, linked by the predecessor relationships. The result is often called a PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) chart. It displays your project plan and its network of tasks.

Each of the task bars is linked to the project network which allows our dynamic scheduling to control the sequencing of tasks based on the predecessor relationships and the amount of work in the task.

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