Enterprise environmental factors in this context refer to (company) guidelines which for example dictate the usage of a specific "scheduling software" or "information system" (comp. PMBOK3, page 127).

• And Organizational process assets in this context refer to "[...] existing formal an informal policies, procedures, and guidelines, that are considered in developing the activity definitions" (comp. PMBOK3, page 127)

(3.1) Activity Definition

(3.1.1) Process Input

... generated by predecessor processes

... introduced by external units

  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organizational process assets

(3.1.2) Process Definition

Activity Definition is the process of "[...] identifying the the specific schedule activities that need to be performed to produce the various project deliverables" (comp. PMBOK3, p. 123). This process identifies "the deliverables at the lowest level in the work breakdown structure" which is the level of "work packages": Each work package is "[...] planned (decomposed) into  smaller components called schedule activities to provide a basis for estimating, scheduling, executing, and monitoring and controlling the project work" (comp. PMBOK3, p. 127). On the base of the work packages (defined as deepest level of WBS entries (leafes)) one collects all activities (steps), which together constitute the work packages. Or shortly spoken: Activity definition is the decomposition of the work packages. During the activity definition one ansers the questions, what has to be done. Other questions like "who will do the activity", "how much time will it take", or "when has it to be started or finished" will be answered later: "In creating (the) activity list, you focus on what is being done, not who is doing it, how long it will take, or when it is being done" (comp. CROSSWIND7, p. 202)

The subject Time operates on the base of other time concerning concepts

(3.1.3) Tools and Techniques

PMBOK Mentioned Methods

  • Decomposition is the method by which "each work package within the WBS is decomposed into schedule activities required to produced the work package deliverables"
  • Templates often come from formerly executed projects by clearing their elaborated structured documents (like activity lists) or may be given as organizationel assets (like typical schedule milestones)
  • Rolling wave planning is "a form of progressive elaboration": What has to be done in the near future and what is already clear "[...] is planned in detail at a low level of the WBS". But what can be realized later and what is still more or less unclear "[...] is planned for WBS components that are at a relatively high level of the WBS" 
  • Expert judgement is used for answering the question which tasks have to be done for realizing a specific work package
  • Planning Component is a concept by which insufficient or irrelevant definitions or information are made usable: The contol account is a specific high level point in the WBS (above the work packages) by which one can communicate a high level project schedule (or cost estimate) to the management. And a planning package is a deeper wbs unit below the control account but above the work package "[...] for planning known work content that does not have detailed schedule activities".

(comp. PMBOK3, pp. 128f)

Open Source Tools

  • myPmpsFactory offers a structured template for activity lists and activity attributes. This template can be edited by Open Office 3 (Calc).
  • Planner offers a project schedule file. The leafs of the structure are the activity list.

(3.1.4) Process Output

  • The Activity List is " a comprehensive list including all schedule activities that are planned to be performed on the project". And it does not contain any activity which is not necessary for realizing the project scope.
  • The Activity Attributes are detailed specifications of the activities: you may think the activity list as a list of naming identifyers. And the meaning of each of these naming identifyers is the description of the connected attributes, likes predecessors, successors, durance, leads and lags and so on.
  • The Milestone List contains all mandatory milestone ("required by the contract") and optional milestones ("based upon project requirements or historical information"). The Milestone list is part of the project management plan and its content is used in the schedule model.
  • And Requested Changes may appear during the decomposition of work packages into sets of activities: by the way one can discover, that scope and WBS and activities still don't match and that one has to refine the project management plan.

(comp. PMBOK3, pp. 129f)

(3.1.5) Output Using Successor Processes

Successors using the initially generated output as own input(1):

  1. For details see FAQ::Q001:1