Project Breakdown: Every project is basically a set of tasks that are performed to bring you to the end goal/working product or service, etc. One of the main purposes of project management is to decide on the tasks to be performed in order for the project to succeed. The easiest way to do a project breakdown is to start from the end and one-by-one list the tasks that lead to it. You should also estimate the end date (project duration) and the specs of the product to be released. With large projects you will not be able to get away with just that. Most likely you will have overlapping tasks and dependencies throughout the project. Then you must evaluate each task based on the project team available\needed, additional resources and time that will have to be spent on it.
The Critical Path.
The Critical Path is a minimal number of tasks that are to be executed in order for the project to succeed. It is the backbone for your project breakdown. Once the end date is rescheduled for any of these tasks, there will be a delay in the completing the project. The monitoring process of these tasks is crucial for the project success. Even if the tings go wrong (they are most likely to, for any project), you must keep a positive attitude and keep your eyes on the task management. The good project manager will not accept the delay without going over means to avoid it:
- Running other task in parallel to save time
- Getting extra resources into the project
- Working differently based on experience
- Outsourcing certain task activities to speed up
There are plenty of ways to get the project back to running on schedule. But you must also consider the changes that the new plan will bring. If you will get extra human resources into the project, you will run into issues with extra monitoring, etc.
In any case, there must be a positive mentality. If your thoughts are other than “I can do it!”, you are most likely to struggle with delays. And the task of the project management is not only to implement the knowledge, but to radiate and implement the positive mentality into the team. It is nearly unnecessary to say that, but your project plan should initially have a certain reserve of time enclosed in it to cover possible delays and project issues.