E6S-167 Project Schedule Planning Part 4 - Yes, You Gantt!

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Intro:  Welcome to the E6S-Methods podcast with Jacob and Aaron, your weekly dose of tips and tricks to achieve excellent performance in your business and career.  Join us as we explore deeper into the practical worlds of Lean, Six Sigma, Project Management and Design Thinking.  In this episode number 167, we discuss the beautiful, the magnificent, the "I can't live without it!" Gantt chart, in part 4 of our "Project Shedule Planning" series.  If you're just tuning in for the first time, find all our back episodes on our podcast table of contents at e6s-methods.com. If you like this episode, be sure to click the "like" link in the show notes.  It's easy.  Just tap our logo, click and you're done. Tap-click-done!  Here we go. http://bit.ly/E6S-167 Leave a Review! http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes


I            Recall: Project Schedule Planning

a.       Break work down into estimable tasks (i.e. Work Breakdown Structure - WBS)

i.      E6S-039 Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

ii.      E6S-041 WBS in LSS

b.      Estimate the task time and arrange in Network diagram to find the critical path and float times

i.      E6S-098 Network Diagramming - Know your float before you crash .

c.       Develop project schedule

i.      E6S-158 Project Schedule Planning Part 1 - Near PERTfection Task Duration Estimation

1.      If you do not incorporate SD, you can almost guarantee you'll underestimate the total duration

d.      E6S-161 & E6S-162 Project Schedule Planning - The Agile (err SCRUM) Way (off-topic for this discussion)


And Now Gantt Charting


II         But First: Task Dependencies

a.       Finish to Start - Most common dependency. Finish one task before starting another

i.      What has to complete before another task begins?

1.      Install door after the doorway is framed.

b.       Start to Start - Activities done in parallel with end times independent

i.      What can be done at the same time?

1.      Install one door while someone else frames other doorways. 

c.        Finish to Finish - Activities done in parallel that must complete at the same time

i.      What needs to complete when another task ends?

1.      Dependent Parts of an Assembly: Door hardware shipment should arrive when the doors arrive, even with different supply chain times.

d.       Start to Finish - (rare) Activities that cannot start without knowing when a future activity will end. (I actually think it's common, but likely goes undocumented.  Part of human nature.)

i.      What can begin once an end date is known?

1.      Resource Commitments: Start door installation contract can be signed once the door installation end date is known.



III      Identify Lead or Lag Time -

a.       Lead Time (Start to Start) - The amount of time one task must start before another task can start

i.      Allows to shift from "Finish to Start" to "Start to Start." Removes larger level "batching" dependencies, and allows some portion to be done in parallel. (not the same as a customer order "lead" time or "process lead time")

1.      House must be primed before painted to vs. some walls must be primed beforehand, but once dry, they can be painted, while other walls are still being primed

b.      Lag Time (Finish to Start) - The amount of time one task must wait before another task can start

i.      Inserts Value-added "wait" time between tasks.  

1.      Painting the house while primer is still wet vs. Painting the house once the primer is dry.

IV      Convert your Network diagram into your Gantt - Changes the view of dependencies from a "map" to a visual timeline

a.       Use thetask estimates from PERT or 3-point method for each task

i.      Decide how you will incorporate Standard Deviation (task level?, overall roll-up?, major deliverables?) E6S-158

b.      Use Network diagram to determine start and end of each task.  E6S-098

c.       Start drawing boxes for each task, starting at the start date and filling in to the end date.

i.      Note any float or slack

1.      different from variation due to lag time, which is set, and Standard Deviation, which is pure uncertainty

ii.      Nice Simple video by James Marion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a0jh2VuhNI

V         ***OR*** Backwards Planning. (rather than stretching forward based on task times. Decide the task budget by setting a firm end date)

a.       Target an end date

b.      Decide when each deliverable must be done by, working backwards,

c.       Adjust your staffing, dependencies, budget, etc. to hit these milestones

VI      Gantt Charting Tools

a.       Microsoft Project - most popular. 

i.      Goes straight to Gantt. Creates WBS (list) and Network Diagram backwards from Gantt

b.      Instantis - Oracle Licensed Cloud software specifically for Six Sigma - A Black Belt's "favorite"

i.      Despite common perception, this is a project management tool, not a dumping ground for project data. But Gantt charts only

c.       Thomas’ Planner-www.thomasplanner.com

i.      Nice "Freemium" Online tool.  Again, Straight to Gantt charting

d.      Smart Draw-

i.      Nice tool, cheaper than most, Network Diagrams, Gantt,  plus full process mapping capability

e.       Microsoft Visio -

i.      Cheaper then Project, Network Diagrams, Gantt,  plus full process mapping capability

f.       Customized Excel Spreadsheet -

i.      Cheap, but may require elite skills. Many templates available, varying quality

g.      Pencil & Paper -

i.      Cheapest and perhaps the best option.  If it is a pain to change the project Gantt, perhaps project timelines wouldn't change as often.

VII   Time to execute.  Now that you've done all the planning... Do the hard part and MANAGE!


Outro: Thanks for listening to episode 167 of the E6S-Methods podcast.  Stay tuned for episode 168, where we discuss the "Know-nothing Black Belt." Don't forget to click "like" or "dislike" for this episode in the show notes. Tap-click-done!  If you have a question, comment or advice, leave a note in the comments section or contact us directly. Feel free to email me "Aaron," aaron@e6s-methods.com, or on our website, we reply to all messages.  If you heard something you like, then Clammr and share it.  Don't forget you can find notes and graphics for all shows and more at www.E6S-Methods.com. "Journey Through Success. If you're not climbing up, you're falling down."    Leave a Review! http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes

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