About this lesson
Traditional projects often require tailoring during planning and adaptive projects require tailoring throughout the life of the project. The tailoring is often with respect to the timing of project events or the resources - both internal and external - assigned to complete those events.
Download this lesson’s related exercise files.Tailoring Schedule and Resources.docx
62 KB Tailoring Schedule and Resources - Solution.docx
Tailoring Schedule and Resources
Schedule and resource tailoring are normally done to reduce risk and improve the performance of the project. It is closely intertwined with project planning processes.
When to use
Project schedules and resources are tailored as part of the project planning processes. In predictive projects this occurs near the beginning of the project. In adaptive projects, this occurs periodically throughout the project at the beginning of each iteration.
Schedule and resource tailoring are done to reduce overall project risk. With predictive projects that have clear and unchanging requirements, the tailoring is done to eliminate unneeded effort and time and to add additional effort and time for high risk activities. In addition, the project can be tailored to take advantage of positive risk opportunities. With adaptive projects that have high levels of uncertainty, tailoring is done at each iteration to incorporate lessons learned and to leverage completed effort. With these, the project tailors the time and resources on the new prioritized backlog list of activities so as to maximize project performance. Many of the tasks are being progressively elaborated so the time and resource estimates are also being fine-tuned as information becomes available. This allows the project manager to tailor the time and resources in order to lower risk, based upon the current state of the project.
On one level, all schedule planning is tailoring. The unique characteristics of the tasks and resources are used to create a unique schedule estimate for each task along with start and end points. In essence, this is tailoring the schedule for that task. Adaptive projects go even further. The progressive elaboration of many activities and deliverables means that the schedule estimate for an activity can change with each iteration. This is due to changing resource assignments and a clearer understanding of the remaining work. Another technique often used in adaptive projects is Kanban scheduling. In this approach, an activity is scheduled as soon as the predecessor activities are done, not based upon an arbitrary calendar date. This will often lead to schedule acceleration allowing the entire project to adapt to the earlier planned end date. In addition to the progressive elaboration, schedule tailoring is often impacted by resource availability – which can change at any time. Further, the timeliness and accuracy of the project management information system will influence the timeliness and accuracy of any tailoring.
Resource tailoring is not as easy to do because the project management systems related to resources are also linked to business systems. These systems exert constraints on the project and limit some tailoring options. For example, the project cost management must interact with the finance system, the project resource management must interact with HR systems and the project procurement management must interact with purchasing systems. All of these systems have compliance constraints that can impact project tailoring options. However, there are some aspects of tailoring open to the project manager and core team. With upfront approval, waivers can be obtained for any of the systems. The use of high level cost estimates for tasks or deliverables that will be progressively elaborated can be used and then these estimates can be refined and allocated to detail tasks as the progressive elaboration occurs. Penalty and incentive clauses can be used with suppliers to tailor final contract value based upon performance. Self-organizing teams can be created, which provides more freedom for tailoring of resource assignments. And of course project reserves are often used to accommodate tailoring actions during the project.
A final comment on tailoring is the tailoring of documentation. Documentation that is a required deliverable is often progressively elaborated so that updates and revisions can be easily incorporated. The use of project management documentation is tailored based upon the characteristics of the project. The more complex the project, the more project management documents are needed to effectively manage it. But short simple projects need very little documentation and the unnecessary items should be tailored out to avoid wasteful bureaucracy. Adaptive and Agile projects normally use few documents and instead rely on visual control boards which are updated daily as tasks are progressively elaborated.
Hints & tips
- Use reserve tasks that have time and money assigned, but no specific deliverable. As the project unfolds and activities are progressively elaborated, the identification of the work can then be defined.
- Tailor when planning, then create a baseline that you track against for a phase or iteration. Use the results of the phase of iteration to update schedule and resource estimates then update the baseline before starting the next phase or iteration.
Lesson notes are only available for subscribers.
PMI, PMP, CAPM and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.