Step 2.5: In this step, the team will black out known non-working periods such as the holidays, training, and mandatory vacations, since in principle, there would be no work carried out during that time.

Step 2.6: In this step, the team marks hard milestones in the work package scheduling canvas. Hard milestones will act as anchor points for the plan.

Steps 2.7, 2.8, & 2.9: In these steps, the team iteratively builds the Work Packages Schedule by posting sticky notes on an empty space in the work package scheduling canvas, according to its domain,  technical and process knowledge and its timing and staffing strategies, such as the project must be completed in six months, do not use more than six people, and so forth.

Figure 12 below shows a typical Work Packages Schedule. The Work Packages Schedule is a key piece of the process since it is there that the plan materializes. As the planning involves the physical positioning of sticky notes representing the effort required by a work package on a scheduling canvas, there has to be a correspondence between the work hours represented by each note and the canvas’ physical dimensions. If, for example, we choose each 3”x 3” sticky note to represent 40 hours of work, each three-inch span on the date axis of the canvas will correspond to a week, and three inches on the resources axis will correspond to a full-time equivalent (FTE) resource. Had we chosen the sticky note to represent 150 hours of work, for example, for a larger project, each three inches on the time axis would correspond to a month instead of a week. Whithin reason, sticky notes might be ripped off to express fractions of effort or time.

The first thing to do when creating the Work Packages Schedule, is to account for the effort required by process meetings and background work, which, might have been listed as WI or not, but in any case, will consume between 10 and 20% of the total hours available.[1] The team does this by laying the corresponding amount of sticky notes at the bottom of the scheduling canvas, along the makespan of the project. After doing this, the team lays on sticky notes that correspond to the effort required by the milestones’ work packages, starting with those corresponding to the hard milestones followed by those corresponding to the soft ones. All the effort required by a milestone’s work package should be fitted in a time box to the left of it while respecting the milestones’ order. The shape of a time box does not need to be regular. As much as possible, its contour should reflect the nature of the work performed, such as front loaded, back loaded, flat, early peaked, late peaked, and so forth. In any case, the time box’s height cannot surpass at any point the amount of resources available that could reasonably be applied to the execution of the work package, nor can the cumulative height of any stacked time boxes go above the total number of resources available for the project. The time box’s length would be such that the area enclosed by it is equal to the work package’s effort. Time boxes cannot overlap, as this would imply that somebody is actually performing, not switching, between two tasks at the same time.

Figure 12. Work Packages Schedule. Adapted from [18]

The leftmost side of the time box will indicate the time at which work on the milestone is planned to start, and the rightmost will mark the date by which they should be reached at risk of delaying other milestones or the whole project. If somehow the plan is not feasible, for example, if there are not enough resources or the hard milestone dates cannot be met, the project scope should be renegotiated, the work approach should be reformulated, or the constraints should be lifted.

Step 2.10: In this step, the plan is completed by sprucing the milestone sequence diagram, assigning due dates to the soft milestones, adding responsibility information, and integrating all of them in a common document. The approximate due date for each soft milestone is found by looking in the Work Packages Schedule for the date aligned with the right edge of the time box associated with the milestone. Hard milestones have, by definition, a set date.


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