Project Management Knowledge

Define Activities

Activity, in project management, is defined as the amount of work performed that converts input to appropriate outputs. Define activities refer to the process of identifying as well as documenting actions that need to be implemented and performed in order to produce the deliverables of the project. The benefits of this process are: it breaks down big work packages into smaller activities so that the project manager can estimate, schedule, execute, monitor and control the project work.

The work packages are very crucial to define activities. They are nothing more than the work breakdown structure items  that go into the scope baseline. This is the most important input in this particular process. Aside from work packages, it is also crucial for the project manager to use the schedule management plan because they contain guidelines when it comes to defining activities.

These inputs will be analyzed using tools used in the project management information system such as scheduling, change control, planning and budget cost management. Using this tool, project managers will be able to come up with great plans to define activities for the project.

When defining activities, it is crucial not to break down the work package into very small and specific activities as it can lead to increased management overhead that will result to more dependencies within team members. It is also important to get the rest of the team members to get involved with the decomposition process  because they are highly familiar with the tasks so they know where and how exactly to break them down.  Lastly, defining activities is a process that requires adequate information so if you do not have enough information, do not even attempt to break the work breakdown structure as this will create confusion in the final output.

This term is defined in the 5th edition of the PMBOK.

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