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NUMBER OF ACTIVITIES

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I WILL LIKE TO KNOW FROM EXPERIENCES OF FRIENDS THAT WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF ACTIVITIES CAN AN AVERAGE PLANNER HANDLE WHILE DEVELOPING, RESOURCE LOADING AND REGULARLY UPDATING THE SCHEDULE. I WILL LIKE TO HAVE YOUR VIEWS ON IT.

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Philip Jonker
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Hi Alex,

The tilos report is just another report, and the quality is dependant on the amount of thought you put into what the picture should be.

Regards

Philip
Alex Wong
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Hi Philip

Welcome back, I had seen the Tilo product and its quit good in terms of the graph that is produce and the interface package. My question is whether summary(hammack) bar will be correctly represent the programme. Especially with the interface between differernt parties(Contractors) within an single area.

My point is not so much about the software but more on technique use in planning. Agree??

Alex
Philip Jonker
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Hi Guys,

If you see a diagram you might understand the concept, True linear activities (eg. continuous activities such as tunnels, trackwork, lateral drainage, finishing layers, viaducts, etc) are shown as sloped lines as the time is vertical and time chainage axis horizontal. Non-linear activities (or activities that is spread over a limited chainage eg. stations, shafts, culverts/utilities crossing the centre line at right angles, etc) is reflected as vertical bars, with the various sub-activies stacked within the bar. For Linear activities such as cuts and fills, where the work is spread over longer chainages (over the whole chainage) we use triangles. The reason for this is that you can use the direction in which the triangle is pointing to indicate where the cut is going, or where the fill is coming from. We use straight horizontal lines to indicate activities such as accesse over certain chainage distances. The beauty of it all is the you can spot clashes or incorrect logic very quickly, and make your corrections in the schedule, something which is much more difficult to spot in in ghantt chart of 200 pages.

Daniel, you are quite correct in that all you are doing is using height instead of chainage, hence, the term line of balance is probably more applicable. However, the symbols you use to depict activities still have to be picked correctly to get the right effect. It may also be interesting to use the horizontal axis for time and height vertically, as this can be done fairly simply. I find that these diagrams are very simply understood by all other disciplines, as the use of colours, patterns and outlines, can depict types of activities, resources etc.

Regards

Philip
Daniel Limson
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Philip,

Although the scheduling technique is similar, Line of Balance is more applicable to vertical construction or high rise buildings and repetitive tasks where there is a lot of interface between trades, say works such as construction of a village with 100 houses. Time Chainage on the other hand is good for horizontal construction, Roads, Bridges, Viaducts, Tunnels, Railways, etc. where you can plot your work chainage against time.

Cheers,
Daniel
Hi Philip,
glad you are back.
What you described is hard to do and produce results that are not quite correct. Hammocks will be represented by straight lines though on activity level the shape would be different. Maybe I don’t understand something.
Regards,
Vladimir
Philip Jonker
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Hi Guys,

Been absent for a while. There a several Line of balance or time vs chainage programs available, however after a serious evaluation, we decided to go with Tilos, a german product. I work in a joint venture company, international, on a linear works project. We use Primavera Project Managemet V5.0, and as a result had to find a product with the least finicky interface from our Primevvera schedule, to produce LOB or T vs Ch diagrams. It took a bit of thinking to get the process right. Firstly to try and produce the TvC diagram directly from P v5was impossible,as the number of activities cluttered te diagram to such an extent it was totally illegible. The question was how to export summary activities to Tilos in a form it could read without the minor detaild. The answer was simple, create a hammock (level of effort project) and export from there there to Tilos, the Hammocks had to be coded as per normal procedures, and voila we had a beautiful line of balance diagram, for anybody who is interested contact me. I can send you a PDF of what it looks like. It just requires a bit of lateral thinking.

Regaeds

Philip
Daniel Limson
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Clive,
Sorry for the late reply..I only open my email once a day.

anyway, 6 months ago when we were looking for a good "line of balance software" Grahpisoft Project Control 2005 was the only one we found in the internet, which corresponds with our needs. (Previously called Dynaproject)

Actually, we just started using it and had undergone training recently.

You were quite right in your brief view of its usage. It is like a time chainage in vertical position, which is good for high rise buildings or repetitive works where there is a lot of interface between various trades.

In addition to what you have said. The sofware requires quantities and production rates defined which will be the basis of your plan. Actual production on site is then monitored. The flowline view (line of balance chart) is an excellent tool for managing the project ilustrated on a single chart. You can then adjust your resources base on your actual production rates to bring it back on line. The beauty of it is that at any point in time you know where every trade is working and how they are doing by just looking at single chart.

The software has many features and includes reports and status of tasks which maybe be discuss in progress meetings of the construction team who are actually doing the work.

This is all for now, I might be mistaken as a Graphisoft representative.

Cheers,
Daniel

Clive Randall
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Dear Mr Winter
ok google it UK engine
Type in
"Line of balance planning"
Lots of good stuff here and the first report is the one I was reffering to.
Be interested on the ratings of the software from others the ASTA product I know about the others I do not but have used graphisoft family in other areas and always found it well written.
Hows it shaping up in Macau Daniel???
pmkb .
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Daniel, I know of 3 distinct line of balance applications. I don’t have any experience with any of them, however.

Stacy
PMKB
Ronald Winter
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Clive,

I get a "Page Not Found" error when I try your link.
Clive Randall
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Daniel
For the CPM freaks it may be worth explaining a little about the Venetian project so they gain an understanding of the power of this type of planning method.
Clive
PS the link I gave provides some pretty good output graphics in PDF and explains a little about the software
Daniel Limson
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There is only one Line of Balance software in the market today. The software was produced by Graphisoft of Finland.

We are currently using it on the Venetian Project in Macau. The software is good for high rise buildings or repetitive tasks.

You can browse the internet and look for Graphisoft.

Cheers,
Daniel
Clive Randall
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try this
strobos.cee.vt.edu/IGLC11/ PDF%20Presentation%20Files%5CP10.PDF
Clive
Brij Patwari
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Hi Clieve,
UR post seems making sense..
But a bit difficult to understand for me.
Can u eloborate?
Regards,

Brij.
Clive Randall
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Line of balance
Say you have a 20 storey building on each floor identical fitting out occurs.
So instead of 20 activities for say raised floor you place the storeys on the left and time along the bottom. You then draw a straight line from storey one to storey 20. Assuming it takes 1 week per floor the line runs for 20 weeks. Then assume ceiling finishes take two weeks per floor same principle. If ceilings start after floors thats ok you can start them say 1 week after floors and they will never catch up if the reverse is true you start at storey 20 with your raised floor line and work backwards ensuring that the two lines do not bisect. Monitoring progess means you colour in the line and ajust the angle for time. Simple graphical programming very suitable for projects with repetitive tasks and easy to understand after a few moments.
Easy to monitor as well.
I am sorry that the explanation looks a bit like the rules of cricket.
Clive
James Griffiths
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Edgar.....ouch!! That remark about "....has gold...breaks rules...". It has just hit a really sore point. We have a client who has done that....and all I can say is "kill, Rover, Kill....just bite his leg off and chomp your way up through his left bo**ock".

It was all politics. Unfortunately he’s paying our wages...so is it a case of Nuts to the professionalism and just bow to the politics? Oh God, do I have to compromise my principles, just to feed my children?

Oscar: Agreed. Like anything else, lots of it doesn’t mean that it’s any good. I like to minimise my workload but I also like to have a good handle on the job. If 500 does the job, then 500 it’ll be. By the way, could you expand on the term "Line-of-Balance". Although I’m fully au-fait with the term in manufacturing, I’ve not come across that one in Project Planning.

Cheers.

James.
Edgar Ariete
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or is it, He who has the gold, breaks or burns the rules? now ACT, ACT, ACT...
Oscar Wilde
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James good point
However
Often I see the same group copied and pasted across the entire programe in an effort to break a record
Complete worthless c**p and often better done on a line of balance now their is a thought
Oscar
James Griffiths
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Hi to all you you on PP. I’ve just come across this thread, owing to the fact that I’m new to PP. It was so interesting that, instead of doing my work, I just had to go back to the beginning and "read-all-about-it".

Great discussion; excellent viewpoints and experiences. It just goes to show that "planning" is a combination of an art, a science, management philosophy and contract definitions. There is no Golden Rule (as asked in another thread) other than the reply to said thread, being: "He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules".......brilliant!.

With regard to the number of activities in the schedule: My basic philosophy is: "The level of accuracy and detail to the answers, that you wish to extract from the programme, is proportionate to the amount of time and money you wish to spend on the planning function". KISS(ing) the programme too far means that you’ll save money on the planning/administration....but also you limit the detail and accuracy of the data. Conversely, too much detail and the administrative burden becomes overwhelming. The word OPTIMUM is the order of the day.

Ultimately, I suppose that the real test of the programme’s function is the accuracy of prediction relative to what actually happened. Without being too much of a smart-alec; I detailed my latest project from a basic 800 lines to 4000, running 30,000 manhours over 18 months. In our company, such a project size is not unusual, but the use of a 4000 line programme is unheard of. At 800 lines, on the Tender Programme, it looked achievable (I hasten to add that I wasn’t involved in the Tender Programme). At 4000 it was instantly obvious that it wasn’t achievable. Unfortunately, the budgets/contract had already been agreed. We were in for a really good stuffing!

During subsequent execution of the work, the programme has accurately predicted (relatively speaking) drawing-checking bottlenecks 9 months ahead of schedule. In our business, such a forward projection is pretty-darned good to correctly predict that level of detail so far in advance. Unfortunately, the company’s philosophy toward planning is one that is much more geared toward paying it lip-service than heeding its advice. It’s now paying the price!

I have stood-by my programme since the project. My PM knows that I will stand by the programme and argue with him, because it is derived from detailed discussion with engineers - and he is welcome to investigate any aspect of it. He wants to ignore the data, as would any other PM. However, he also realises that good data is invaluable and that there is no point in kidding himself. The data, however, is utterly useless and a complete waste of money if no action is taken.

All of the above is based on getting the right level detail. If it takes 500 or 50,000 activities, it is irrelevant. The question is: Are you professionally satisfied with what you’ve done?

I really do have to get back to work now.

James :-)
Oscar Wilde
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KISS KISS KISS
for those that dont know
this means keep it simple stupid
Edgar Ariete
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Henk,

just curious why you keep using "bid" instead of bit? would that mean you’re more concerned about costs rather than details?

thanks
Henk van der Heide
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Edgar,

Many times a milestones means an (important) start point or end point for a group activities. At least thats mostly the case in my schedules. So the total progres of this group of activities tells you someting about the progress of the activities how are leading you to the important milestone.

On the other hand If you use The milestone for example as an KPI (Key Peformance Indicator) and you measure by total float or time variance (against baseline) it also tell you something about the progress of the activities who are leading to this milestone.
This type of report (KPI) is used a lot for Management Reports.

Hope explaines a little bid.

Kind Regards

Henk
Edgar Ariete
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Henk,

I don’t understand. Would you mind explaining further?

Best regards,

Edgar
Henk van der Heide
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Edgar,

I think the progress of a milestone can be measured by the progress and total float of his predesessors. ?? (assuming that the milestone is fixed)

Ok the answer is a little bid deep, however i think it could be treu.

Kind regards

Henk

Edgar Ariete
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Everyone in the project team needs a clear, honest & reliable information irregardless of which side he/she is working.

The question here is what is the ideal total number of activities for a certain project? Say, a typical high rise building or a road construction? An engineer or a planner who knows how to build inside-out is supposed to understand the basics or the sequencing of the tasks & to organize the program as to produce the desired result.

I agree that there is no definite answer for getting the exact total number of activities (tasks) as each & every project is unique. Now, how can a program becomes measurable? Is it necessary for each & every task to be measurable? And what is supposed to be the ideal unit of measure? Or milestones enough & accurate to measure a project?

Oh, by the way, how is a milestone being measured?
Se de leon is right.
There is not a need for the detailed schedule if
1) you are on Client side,
2) your resources are not limited and the task of resource optimization does not exist.
My example of 3000 activities for 11 floor building construction project was taken from the real life contractor’s schedule. The schedule was used to estimate the optimal amount of frames to be used and the number of construction workers that are needed.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Se de Leon
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Hi guys,

Hi Walied. Are your working for the contractor or consultant/client side?

For me this question really depends on how you view project management culture in the organization you are working for whether resource allocation is a primary concern in coming up with an execution programme or if the only concern is the project strategy/achievements.

For example, some contractor’s project managers will require his planners to go deeper into resource optimization as what vladimir said. If this is the case, then most likely the activity number will increase. Some contractors doesn’t do this. Some consulting planners require such recource management outputs from the program. Some contracts requires such resource optimization and risk analysis.

To answer again the question, it really depends on the Proj. Management culture.

Just my 2 cents.

Hope this helps.

Se
Clive Randall
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I got into this myself a couple of months ago and I agree with you Walied.
Ifd the programme becomes unreadable its not read.
I prefer what you say limit the number of activities and alow the guys on site to use the programme activities as hammocks for their own tasks.
That way they feel they own it a little more and its not just a works prescription ie"do all this and it will be ok"
However
If you need to do it I would tend to monitor against a higher level programme and not at the lowest level
I know I am old and grey but when I had to programme with paper and letraset tape and hand write all the activities my progranmmes were simple and projects still got built.
Clive
W A
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Sorry, still not agree, i am doing all what you are saying wihout too much subdividing.

My methodology is the programme is a managment tool, not site tool.

However, I respect the difference in points of view.

If you use the software for resource usage optimization you will need to create the model that simulates actual activities on every villa in your project. Actually it is easy because you can use templates.
You will also need the detailed schedule of materials utilization to optimize supplies.
So you will need to create new activity each time when the character of work is changing (different resources, different materials, different productivity, different cost, different calendar).
Such model can be used for resource (and supplies, and cost) constrained scheduling and risk analysis.
You described high level tracking of project execution. It is different task.
Regards,
Vladimir
W A
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Vladimir,

I am currently working in project of 110 Villas, with only 1300 Activity, include material & Shop drawings submittals, and Procurment. every villa is 3 floors, include soft and hard landscaping, boundary wall, and of course external works of the site it self. the project is $50 million.

The monitoring and control of the project is smoth and very effiencet, i would like to mention that at any time i can see exactly how many villa is completed and how many was planned by that time and also the number of the villas, (such as villa 44, villa 45, etc..), without the need to make seperate programme for every villa, just making zones.

From project management perspective, making too much activities will make the project team managing the schedule instead of managing the project, this issue is addressed clearly in the PMBOK of PMI, and in any project management book.

Walied Abdeldayem, PMP
Walied,
my experience shows that the model for construction of one 11 floors building consists of approximately 3000 activities.
Nobody will create more activities than necessary for proper modelling of resource work.
93000 is too large for one ship, but unfortunately the same Ship Yard resources are used for different ships construction. As the result you need to plan all of them.
For your information:
The model for construction of one ship body consisted of 11000 activities.
Regards,
Vladimir

Henk van der Heide
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I think i agree on that.
One of the worst things that can happen is planning one level to deep. What means that the project will not use your planning anymore because they cant read it. And it means for the planning engineer that he gets the progress on one level higher than his planning so he has a lot of work translating the progress into the planning.

So better try to keep the planning as simple as possible and try not to see it as a product it self.
Of course the planning needs to have the details so you can use it for the control. So it always comes back at the point that the structure must be ok and the level of detail must be ok, and for me this is never the same. (planning is not that easy)

Kind Regards

Henk


W A
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93000, 35000, 11000 !!!! what is that !!! guys we are modeling the project not more than that, MODELING !!!

making lareg number of activities (more than needed) violates the spirit of project management and planning. The minimum activities you got the moew effiecient you be, we are not making method statement in the programme, the project engineer and the formen know what to do.

I belive that the programme is a MANAGEMENT TOOL, it should be the link between the reality and the decision makers, just keep it that simple you got better life.

The rule of thump in decomosition the activities is untill you can assign one man or one group to do it, if you sub-divide more than that you got more activites than you should. I do not see any bad thing to say in the progress meeting that we achieved our plan in this week, and we have 10 acitivites done by 70%, or such like, What is the benifit to say that we have completed 200 activity in this week!! the execitives will only concern about overall planned, and overall actual perecentage.

From my experience in construction, 700-2000 activities are enough, not sure about the ships project though, but i am sure 93000 activities are just too much over the optimum.
Svein Myklebust
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A large number of activeties does not realy mean anything else than a large number of activeties.
It tells nothing about the level of control the managemnet got.

The goal is to get the right activeties into the schedule and
keep a structure that fits the rest of the project.
To many activeties can lead to a project within the project
and therby planning to be a burden and not the tools it’s supposed to be.

s
Izam Zakaria
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talking bout.... number of activities.....i had running around 11 000 activities......may I’ve ur prx file?
Paul Silver
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Sen,

The largest number of activities in a schedule I have run is around 40,000 with 60,000 logic links and 80,000 resource assignments. The job was for a maintenance turnaround in a nickel refinery, took six months for two planners and one planning assistant to prepare. Feed off to feed on was twenty three days which meant progressing an average of about seventeen hundred activities per day. Progress data entry was done via an Access Database front end on P3 by the planning assistant whilst the planners gathered the progress information in the field. (I don’t generally trust the supervisors to be completely truthful where progress is concerned)

Regards

Paul Silver
Sen Moc
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Now going back to topic, may I post this question again:

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM NO. ACTIVITIES EVER DONE SO FAR? And what type of project is this, why this big number? How was it done?

In Post #5, it was stated that a 93,000 activities was provided for a shipbuilding project. Are there other projects exceeding this no?

Sen
Sen Moc
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Guys,

My apologies for bringing up the topic on changing logics in Post Nos. 140, 141 & 143.

For those who are interested to discuss this topic please go to below link:

“Changing the logic when project is underway” http://www.planningplanet.com/forum/forum_post.asp?fid=1&Cat=5&Top=16233

Regards,
Sen
Daniel Limson
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We should be starting a new thread, as this is no longer related to the above subject. However, In addition to Sen’s post, I agree that we should be reviewing logic on a regular basis in line with the workflow on site and the availability of resources to make it a more realistic schedule.

In construction or whatever task it maybe. You have this inherent logic which you can not change (progressive way of doing a task) and the preferred logic or workflow (your preferred means and ways of attacking the work). The workflow should be agreed with the construction team and this should be done considering the availability of resources.

Regards,
Daniel
Sen Moc
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That is correct, Joel. Logic review, analysis and updating are part of the schedule progress updates. And I’m referring to the CURRENT Schedule not Baseline. I’d say the Logic should be reviewed, analyzed and updated because Project Team including the client are monitoring the project finish date. Without changing the logic, a lot of activities are becoming out of sequence, thereby not showing the true calculated total floats or project finish date – just as I’ve stated in "Changing the logic when project is underway" topic.


Regards,
Sen
Joel Gilbert
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Hello Sen,

Did I see you mention "Logic review", You better not mention that. You will get all sorts of questions. Did you not follow the topic "Changing the logic when project is underway"

Hey don’t worry, as I’m in the same business I understand.

Regards,

Joel
Sen Moc
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Project: LNG Plant(2 Trains)

Scope of Works: EPC (Engg, Procurement & Construction)

Duration: 36 Months

No. of Activities: 3000 (at Level 3)

Software: P3.1

No. of Scheduler: 1

Takes 3 days to prepare monthly progress update on P3 schedule including logic review, analysis and update.
Bill Guthrie
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Go back to the base question. how many activities can a good planner hanlde.

Again I have handled a 18k activity schedule but it took a lot of work and be honest, about 12k of that was a contractors work that I imported and exportd, so barring that 5k is a confort zone for me personally.

and the base queston does not address the factors
IS THIS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO
NO MEETINGS
NO SITE VISITS
NO DISCUSSIONS
NO COSTING
ONLY DO THE ONE DUMB SCHEDULE ??????

cheers Bill Guthrie
Jorge Taguinod
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I understand your point, Sen. But then again, this is relative. I can’t expound on a rebuttal since doing so would bring me out of topic.

But your point of view is well taken.

Thanks,

Jorge
Sen Moc
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Agree with you Jorge, but not on this one:

"Again, it boils down to: Fast, Cheap & Good -- pick any 2."


I think there’s no option on the above statement. It should be FAST, CHEAP & GOOD.


Cheers!
Sen
Sen Moc
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Guys,

From the more than a hundred posts on this subject, it is evident that the No. of Activities VARIES depending on so many factors such as project size, type/classification, planners involved, etc…

For the record, WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM NO. ACTIVITIES EVER DONE SO FAR? And what type of project is this, why this big number? How was it done?

In Post #5, it was stated that a 93,000 activities was provided for a shipbuilding project. Are there other projects exceeding this no?

Would be glad to know.

Regards,
Sen
Rolyn Jalea
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Good post Jorge....

I think no. of activities will vary from one project to another, from one discipline to another. say, we can’t expect roadworks to have more activities compared to building works or power plants.

It will all boil down as to what extent you need your programme to be detailed to suit your requirement & your client’s as well.

Regards

Rolyn
Jorge Taguinod
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I really think that the number of activities is derived from the desired level of detailed needed by the stakeholders. More detailed levels will increase the number of activities. And a bigger project will also increase it.

Now, the question is, do we bug the people who execute the works to submit reports? Will they be more productive doing what they’re good at (Executing)? If so, I guess controlling (i.e. collecting project progress info) should be left to project control. This then increases the staffing requirement for people who would monitor/control the project.

After reading what has happened (project performance analysis), the replanning part should involve the people who owns the work (the people who execute). I don’t think that planning should be left to theorists -- the people who will execute the work should have the largest say about how it will be done. They, after all, are accountable for their piece of work (WBS).

Bottomline, we need to perform a Needs Analysis answering the question: How detailed is the planning requirement as demanded by the stakeholders? Then we staff it or go into project procurement if we want to outsource this piece of work (planning and controlling, managing the project information system). Lastly, we ask ourselves: Is the resulting cost needed to deliver the need justifiable? If so, no problem. If not, we need to either improve the system to minimize resource requirements (for the PMIS), or sacrifice quality.

But then again, sacrificing quality might prove expensive in the long run. Even managing the PMIS should be planned (obviously). Again, it boils down to: Fast, Cheap & Good -- pick any 2.

Ideal, huh? Doable? Depends on the leadership. And the budget.

Best regards,

Jorge
Clive Randall
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Recently i reviewed how progress is updated by sending out a simple report sheet to foreman and subcontractors this required them to advise how many windows had been fixed at a date in the future
ie at 5.00pm on friday how many windows had been fixed
i had 10 variations
i then took the clients site planner on site this took some time as hat and boots could not be found
turns out the data gathered is not really very accurate so 9 times out of 10 the as built condition and the replanning is often based on false data
obviously if daily job or task sheets are correctly completed life is easier but with multi layering of subcontractors it is not often the case
"Houston i think we have a problem"
Clive
Joel Gilbert
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Interesting debate.
To stop the argie bargie and put us back on track.

How does a planner monitor 40000 activities on site? Or has the old planning concept changed ? and now we are supposed to be desk bound data capturers. The fun part was always to steer the job on site, getting involved and making sure everyone works to the schedule.

What’s the forum opinion?
Clive Randall
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Philip
Is this one of those "if she is not good enough for her brother" analogies if not, what has sleeping and planning got to do with it

Philip
Your posts leave a lot to be desired so i would suggest dont start throwing the boulders as if you were the moderator of all good posts
Simply not the case yours are often on the border of nonsense
Clive
Philip Jonker
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Hi Oscar,

From reading your posts, they do not impress me, did you sleep with a planners sister? This vast experience you have must have stemmed from there.
Oscar Wilde
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I Like the first part

however does anybody on site plan???
are the foreman robots
are the site engineers moluscs (SP)
is the site agent oh never mind

plan 400000 activities nonsense
3 day duration drivel
total total nonsense
its not planning its bar chart generation

planning
to endeavour to work out the the smallest number of activities that have to be completed and to successfully demonstrate what activities need to be completed in longest logical sequence to complete the project in the shortest possible time and in the most economical manner.

40000 bars of nonsense sitting on the wall one went wrong and they all fell off
Jorge Taguinod
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The number of activities in a project depends on:
1. the size of the project
2. the complexity
3. the level of detail needed by project stakeholders
4. the type of industry (mining projects tend to have less detail than fabrication or refinery turnaround projects)
5. the number of competent planners available

Coming from the construction industry, i believe that an activity should have a duration of about 3 days. I have planned a design schedule for the construction of two whole cities (from the ground up). The design schedule alone came up to 40,000 activities. Updating was done using Primavera Post Office. It was fully resource loaded and was integrated with an accounting software. The whole schedule took 1 ream of A4 to print.

However, one does not really have to print the whole schedule during the execution and controlling phases. Lookaheads suffice. And during updating, we just check if the milestones are met. If not, we try to comperss the schedule and look at the resulting resource loading, and cost curves.

It is really not a matter of having thousands of activities. I think that the quality of the schedule should not be sacrificed by developing a high level schedule. Detailed planning is very important. For it is only through detailed planning that you really get to know how to go about executing it -- considering all the design works, procurement schedules, staffing, and actual execution (constructing, installing, testing, etc.).

So if you have a large complex project that needs a lot of activities, make sure that you have sufficient staffing to take on the planning and controlling works.

And I was just talking about the work P3 entails. When you go into Primavera Enterprise, you would need much more peope beucase this piece of software can really address a lot more project management information such as project expenses, risks, etc. Moving from P3 to PE is like upgrading from Microsoft Project to P3.

I’m working on a minesite development project with no smeltering equipment. So the schedule is really simple. Under 200 activities. Very relaxed. Problem is, the people in the mining industry is not as well versed in project management as construction people.

Oh well...
Oscar Wilde
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Charlie

Please answer David

He has asked a valid question on what appears to be games theory

Oscar
Philip Jonker
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Hi Vlad

pilplan@iafirca.com

Many thanks mate
As soon as you will send me your E-mail.
Philip Jonker
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Hi vlad,

How quickly can you get me a demo copy, I am on a linear project with possibly 150 000 activities.

Regards

Philip
Yes, it can.
We use it in building construction projects using floors metrics and in pipelines using km’s.
X-axis - km, Y-axis - time, different activity types are reflected as the lines of different colors and/or thickness in the diagram. These lines (curves) show where and when each type of work shall be done (or had been done).
Send me a letter to spider@mail.cnt.ru with your E-mail address and I will send back the screen shot of Linear Diagram as we call Line of Balance.
Regards,
Vladimir
Philip Jonker
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Hi Vlad,

Tell me if your Spider project can do line of balance, or distance vs time
David Bordoli
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And what, do tell Charlie, is N?

And, if we are working in UK, can we multiply USD by .5704 so we can work in GBP?

With regard to K, does a bad relationship with the Client result in a larger or smaller number of activities?
Charleston-Joseph...
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Hello,

This time I agree with Alex and Vladimir.

More on Vladimir since he did more than 40,000 activities with matching simulations (as Vladimir stated in his previous post) using Spider for some structures during the Moscow games.

The number of activities is directly proportional to the amount of the construction project (in USD) (IMHO and hypothesis) multiplied by a factor of K (a constant depends on the planners attitude, extent of relationship with the client) divided by N.

Cheers,

Charlie
Edgar Ariete
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And what’s the next Activity?


Thank You.
Alex Wong
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Vladimir

100% agreed, fit the purposes is most important.

Cheers

Alex
No, the number of activities does not depend on the project structure. It depends on the schedule purpose. If you need performance simulation that shows impacts of resources to be used, supply and financing delays, etc. you will need the same network model. But you can use different WBS, OBS, RBS.
Philip Jonker
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I think the last respondent who spoke sense was Clive. The number of activities you can handle and update, is dependant on how you structure your project. There has always been this question of how many activities a planner can handle, and the argument revolves around this issue. People independently have different ideas, and it varies between 700 and 500 000, but GF who proposes himself as the major planner seems to think in the order of 1000. There is a lot of factors which contribute, such as the duration of the project, cost etc.

The level of experience will dictate what any planner can handle. Therefore the argument becomes relatively ignonanimice. The point is if you drive a VW Polo, or a SAAB, or SABURA, what is the perfomance. If you doubt yourself and lsck the experience, you will never be able to complete a project on time, which is what we are employed for in the first place.
Gary France
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Thanks Bernard,

I was confused by Edgars reference to me in his last post. Scrolling down, I can see he meant your quotation.

its been a long day....

All is clear now.

Gary.
Bernard Ertl
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Perhaps my quote added some confusion? Edgar, it’s from Douglas Adam’s superb work: The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Bernard Ertl
eTaskMaker Project Planning Software
Gary France
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Edgar,

I am really struggling to understand your point. Perhaps it’s time to call a halt to this!

Gary
Edgar Ariete
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What do you mean Mr. France?...that we’re only Human & not Machines? And they’ve been working on that for "seven & a half million years"?...

And maybe the reason why planning is endless...because of the Number of Activities...?

And what can we do as plain Human? Rely on Machines?

Well, I got some kind of religion too...


have a nice day to everyone...
Se de Leon
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Hi Raja,

If you can protect your employer and yourselves with 20 activities then manage your programme using the 20 activities. If you are just being forced to use it, i don’t think that would be beneficial for you and your organization. Again I say, this is about the programme should respond to the organizational needs. Number is just secondary. Of course i’m not discounting politics(covering your as#) in the work place. This is still part of organizational needs.

If only we can always do it that way(20,42,50 activities) ..... how i wish.

Cheers,
Se
Clive Randall
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This thread appears to have now come a long way from the initial question which was how many activities can a planner manage to update.

Gary has raised a concern not so much on what the planner can do as to how he can communicate it.

Again I would say its not Quantity but Quality and how you can comunicate your ideas.

I see a large number of programmes and in a similar vain to Gary have been planning for a considearble time.
Often I can see how a planner thinks in the way he structures his programme how he structures the coding and how he breaks down the levels.

More particuarly I should be able to see what the Project is about without reading the drawings or the spec. To an experienced planner the programme should be all he needs to read to gain a thorough understanding of the Project.

However I believe that since the advent of planning software, programmes have been much harder to follow and as time goes by I can see planners removing themselves from the site reality.

How many activities????
Only enough to get the message across and if you are on your own as many as you can understand and update.

Finally Raja nice to see you have experienced the Clients view and you can see where he is coming from.

Raja Izat Raja Ib...
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Hi Mr Leon,
U never know where the basis come from, If u dont go for CLIENTS Management meeting, U know somthing, last time I nearly got fired because asking for the basis of 20 activities, where it come from? Now i did understand, They didnt care about how u got the basis, critical path, manpwer, once u already dicide the commence date they will stated in minutes of meeting, and thats the date we have to commit with the Goverment. The only basis i know its related with dollar and cents they will try to achieve as per their target.
But in my brain still have so many question... Puzzle if i keep thinking of my 35000 activities is no relation at all with this 20 activities. Thats all...my nightmares history
Alex Wong
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Dear all

The following is my attempt interpret the query

What Se mentioned in terms of critical path, risk analysis, delay claims ... IMHO they are project management activities. Yes of course it is a matter where the contractor has to manage his project. That is a detail level program (usually refer to L3 or L4 schedule)

What Gary I think is refers to is a L1 or L2 schedule where the client is manage multi projects at a portfolio and programme level. Of course they will still need to have a details breakdown schedule for project management elsewhere. However, to manage a portfolio, they will need a wider view more than a deeper view in order to manage a portfolio

Therefore there is no correct answer to how many activities is enough for a schedule. IMHO it is more important to see whether the schedule is fit the purposes and achieve the outcomes.

As I stated in my previous post, in order to manage a project you need to cover all the different aspects of projects or program or portfolio and if some of the aspect is already manage outside the schedule, then there is no point to replicate the management effort and incorporate these details into the every schedule.

An example is procurement, if the detail of all the equipment is already managed in a Master Procurement Plan elsewhere, there is no point to load all equipment, plant and resource into your schedule and try to replicate the complete picture. However, if there is no such schedule existed then if the PM wanted, you can put all the equipment in your schedule like date ordered, manufactured shipped, arrived, arrived on site...

If you see a schedule without these detail of procurement then should you said it is insufficient number of activities or not??

HTH

Alex

Se de Leon
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Hi Gary,

I tried to go back to the previous postings(#88) because i feel i may have missed some views then i chanced upon one of your comments i.e.

"This inevitably leads to a different type of planning – one where hugely detailed programmes are not required. Many of the postings in PP are about clients approving programmes, claims, who owns the float, etc. These are appropriate for the more traditional ways of working, but are simply irrelevant for the more recent ways of working."

Could you elaborate on the term traditional and recent ways of working?

I’m just wondering how would a client work or manage a 50 or 42 activity project. How can he manage claims, how can he show critical path which is very important if the client wants to make sure that the project would finish for his business requirements. Let’s say the project is in delay, how can he know if the catch up plan is viable,doable,realistic...

Let’s face it, many clients does not really want to go into details because most clients view projects on a high level, business, operation aspect. While contractors view it on a contractual, profit view, lean scheduling, savings etc. etc. etc.

As i said in my last post, it all depends on on how you want the programme to respond to your organizational needs.

Personally, if i would work again for a client side, i would strongly suggest to manage the programme with sufficient details for me to protect the interest of my employer.

Cheers,
Se

Paul Silver
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Well said Bernard,

Paul Silver
Bernard Ertl
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"Forty-two!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?"

"I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is."

Bernard Ertl
eTaskMaker Project Planning Software
Gary France
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Edgar,

There is no correct answer. How many activities go into a schedule that is of a good quality depends on the individual circumstances of the project. As I said in post #88 in this thread “For me, a programme of 50 activities might be absolutely the correct level of detail. Similarly, 40,000 activities might also the correct level. There is no right and wrong, but there are nearly always different circumstances.”

I am not saying 50 or 40,000 or indeed any number of activities is right or wrong.

Sorry I cannot answer your question more definitively, but I don’t think there is an answer that will be right for all circumstances.

Gary
Edgar Ariete
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I understand Stacy that he got a cool place too...but the chairman of the PEO still did not answer if how many number of activities really represents a Quality Schedule...?
Se de Leon
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Hi Gary,

If only projects can be managed with 50 activities, then we don’t need these expensive project management softwares. But unfortunately it’s not the case most of the time specially for a contractor on a huge let’s say for $2Billion project.

Yes I agree with you that some clients prefer a high level program but that is for the client’s use. But not all clients does this. For a contractor , who is very much interested on how many bags of cement he needs to bring to the site on a certain period in order that his warehouse will not overflow with materials, in this case a detailed schedule is very important. Another example is how can you know how many resources you need on a certain period if you don’t detail your schedule with real activities and resources. Some people call this lean scheduling. In my experience, it’s easier to prepare a claim if the schedule is "properly" detailed. Even for the client side, they need a deatiled programme to protect themselves from unnecessary claims payment.

In summary, for me this issue of making a detailed programme or not boils down to how you want the programme respond to your needs.

Cheers,

Se
Gary France
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Edgar,

Are you saying that 50 activities cannot be managed, or are not worthy of being managed?

If so, I think you might be missing the point. Try not to think of the 50 activities each being small. The situation could be that those 50 activities represent a huge volume of work. Imagine those each of those 50 activities representing, say, a building each in a clients portfolio of projects. Each building is only represented a single line because that is all the client wants - they only want to see when each building will be constructed or refurbished, so they can see the impact on their business and how they will have to move the staff around to suit.

The client is not interested in the detailed construction programmes - they simply want to see how the construction will fit their business plan.

I think that you can then see how a 50 activity programme does need to be managed!

Remember, detailed programmes of thousands of activities are not always the answer!

Gary
Edgar Ariete
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Management of what? 50 - number of activities? You call it management?
pmkb .
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Edgar, they are both cool places. The topic was started at pmkb before Vladimir’s post, so I mentioned it.

Gary, I’m not on the PMI Practice Standard Team. As far as I know, PMI is not publishing details of the development process. I started a discussion to find out what people think should be done.

Stacy
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Raja Izat Raja Ib...
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continue...
the detail schedule it is.. the more risk u can see, somtimes support, base plate, underground piping hydrotest,and etc. is most overlook items which frequently forgoten even 10-15 years experience engineer... its seem like fresh graduate engineer. So with the detail schedule following priority system / Area is the best to identify activities is ready or not... I do prefer Thousand activities for construction. ...I can say 50 activities is for Management....
Gary France
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Hi Stacy,

I am a little lost!

The link you provided takes us to a forum where people are complaining that not much is happening on the PMI Practice Standard of Scheduling, quoting it to be disappointing and that there are a few key individuals that are developing the document.

Clicking further, I found the Project Charter for the Practice Standard of Scheduling, which is dated March 2003. This is obviously quite an old document, but there is very little else on the website that says anything at all about where this is currently at.

Perhaps you can enlighten us on exactly what is happening with this? What progress has been made?

Wouldn’t making a copy of it available to planners via PP or the PEO be a useful step? - that way a lot of people can comment on it.

Gary
Edgar Ariete
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What do you mean Raja? They are looking for a Quality Schedule...what is that?

Can anyone define a Quality Schedule? (please?)
Raja Izat Raja Ib...
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Hi,
No matter what type and how many activities, as long u can interprete the schedule logically can be understand, as per job method,following BQ...i can say its acceptable, its the same as design drawing as long u can gave the image and the scale correctly, its no problem.
Edgar Ariete
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Why not do it here pkmb (superman)? this place is cool...
pmkb .
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Let’s do the next step and define what is the schedule quality (maybe in other thread).

Isn’t that what the PMI Practice Standard for Scheduling is trying to achieve? Follow the link if you are interested in discussing elements/essentials for schedule quality.

Stacy
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