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Schedule Network Analysis

Now that the activity definitions for the work packages have been completed, the next task is to complete the activity list. The project activity list is a list of everything that needs to be done to complete your project, including all the activities that must be accomplished to deliver each work package. Next you want to define the activity attributes. Here’s where the description of each activity is kept. It includes all the information you need to figure out plus the order of the work. Any predecessor activities, successor activities, or constraints should be listed in the attributes along with descriptions and any other information about resources or time that you need for planning. The three main kinds of predecessors are finish-to-start (FS), start-to-start (SS), and finish-to-finish (FF). The most common kind of predecessor is the finish-to-start. It means that one task needs to be completed before another one can start. When you think of predecessors, this is what you usually think of; one thing needs to end before the next can begin. It’s called finish-to-start because the first activity’s finish leads into the second activity’s start (Figure 10.3).

Finish-To-Start Predecessor
Figure 10.3: An example of a finish-to-start (FS) predecessor.
Illustration from Barron & Barron Project Management for Scientists and Engineers, http://cnx.org/content/col11120/1.4/
The start-to-start predecessor is a little less common, but sometimes you need to coordinate activities so they begin at the same time (Figure 10.4).

Start-To-Start Predecessor
Figure 10.4: An example of a start-to-start (SS) predecessor.
Illustration from Barron & Barron Project Management for Scientists and Engineers, http://cnx.org/content/col11120/1.4/
The finish-to-finish predecessor shows activities that finish at the same time (Figure 10.5).

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Figure 10.5: An example of a finish-to-finish (FF) predecessor. Illustration from Barron & Barron Project Management for Scientists and Engineers, http://cnx.org/content/col11120/1.4/
It is possible to have start-to-finish (SF) predecessors. This happens when activities require that another task be started before the successor task can finish. An example might be that the musicians cannot finish playing until the guests have started leaving the ceremony. In addition, there are some particular types of predecessors that must be considered.