Initially, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, the durations for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure. Project planning is often used to organize different areas of a project, including project plans, work loads and the management of teams and individuals. The logical dependencies between tasks are defined using an activity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path. Project planning is inherently uncertain as it must be done before the project is actually started. Therefore the duration of the tasks is often estimated through a weighted average of optimistic, normal, and pessimistic cases. The critical chain method adds "buffers" in the planning to anticipate potential delays in project execution.Float or slack time in the schedule can be calculated using project management software. Then the necessary resources can be estimated and costs for each activity can be allocated to each resource, giving the total project cost. At this stage, the project schedule may be optimized to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration to comply with the project objectives. Once established and agreed, the project schedule becomes what is known as the baseline schedule. Progress will be measured against the baseline schedule throughout the life of the project. Analyzing progress compared to the baseline schedule is known as earned value management.
The inputs of the project planning phase 2 include the project charter and the concept proposal. The outputs of the project planning phase include the project requirements, the project schedule, and the project management plan.
Project planning can be done manually, but project management software is often used.
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