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Sequencing and Prioritizing Project Tasks

Sequencing Project Tasks

How much of your time is lost to waiting for others to complete their part of the job? Perhaps a more important question is this: how can you predict that your time may be lost and find ways to work around it?

To complete several different tasks, you’re trying to manage the time of a single resource: you.

The majority of tasks will have deadlines or completion dates, and some may also have start dates or dependencies. You may have to wait for someone else to finish her part of the job, or you may not be able to start the job until resources have become available.

Sequencing is a quick solution to planning your time and taking into account start dates. It enables you to quickly review what you need to do and to decide whether there is time available to complete the required tasks. Sequencing works best when you have several relatively large tasks to complete, and when you’re aware of what needs to be done in advance.

Steps to sequencing

There are three primary steps to sequencing:

  1. Distinguishing between sequential and parallel tasks — Sequential tasks are tasks that can’t begin until other activities have been completed. For example, it’s not possible to plan the layout of a meeting room before you decide on where the meeting will be held. Parallel tasks aren’t dependent on anyone or anything for their start dates. Start by finding out about what you need to do. The easiest way to do this is to answer three questions: When can you start and what’s the deadline? Does anyone else have to finish, or do you need anything before you can start? How long will the task take?