Group of civil engineers working on a construction and looking at blueprints

Defining activities in project planning

This is basically  under time management of construction project management where in you have to breakdown all possible activities in the package and eventually you will be able to get your network work diagram, this will be used in creating your project schedule, here are the 4 important things on how to define activities in project planning.

1. Activity List

You need to make a list of all activities associated with the work packages to complete the project, this work package from our work breakdown structure is to be decomposed further in to activity level, where it can easily managed, monitored, and estimated. Our lists of activity will then be arranged and sequenced for the next process needed.

2. Activity Attributes.

When your list of activity is done, we can establish the more detailed description of an activity by specifying the resources needed for this activity assumption and constraints a, predecessor and successor activity.

3.Milestone List

The third process you need to establish will be the milestone list that specifies the relative time or event for the project, this document comprises all the milestones whether optional, mandatory, or based on historical data and information. Milestone list can be presented in the tabulation format like a schedule, this will be your milestone schedule.

Here is the sample templates for milestone schedule

milestone schedule

4. Network Diagram

Last in your list should be the network diagram, it is a type of diagram where activities involved in the project are to be arranged and sequenced according to how the entire work will be performed as a whole group of activities. It shows the dependencies of activities using critical path or time scaled diagram.

There are two (2) ways on how to draw network diagram. First is the Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) and the second one is the Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM). The PDM or Activity-on-Node (AON) involves boxes or nodes that represent activities connected by arrow that symbolize their dependencies. On the other hand, ADM or Activity-on-Arrow (AOA), involves arrows that represent activities and boxes that symbolize dependencies. This type of diagram usually has finish-to-start relationships and may use dummies for activities.

Network diagram templates


Defining activities is one of the processes involved in construction project management, this will be a preparation to define the duration of each activities that leads to the creation of the project schedule.

For your project success,

Marvin Gamboa