6.2 Define activities

The detailed scope is decomposed into a work break down structure (WBS). The detailed scope along with the WBS forms the scope baseline. Lowest level in the WBS is the work package. Work packages are again decomposed into activities which are grouped into activity lists.

Key points

  • Baselines – Common baselines under the project’s context are Schedule baseline, Cost baseline and Scope baseline. Once the first version of these documents are ready, they are brought under configuration management, and any changes there after will have to follow the change management procedure by raising a change request, performing change impact analysis, approving the change and implementing the change.
  • Rolling wave planning – For very long projects, it is not useful if we create an end to end detailed schedule, starting from day1 till the end of the project, because things are going to change as the project progresses. In such cases, it is advisable to;
    • Create a milestone chart for the project from the beginning till end. Milestones are major achievement points in the project, and do not consume any resources. When all the associated activities are completed, the milestone is accomplished. For example, for your PMP certification project, the major milestones are;
      • Identify trainer
      • Attend training
      • Apply for PMP
      • Exam practice
      • Write the final exam
    • Here the first milestone is identify trainer. When you are working on this particular milestone, you will have detailed activity level breakups and sequences. As the project progresses, we decompose the other milestones also into activities.
  • Activity lists – List of activities
  • Milestone lists – List of milestones, major accomplishments with probable dates.
  • Activity attributes – Successor, predecessor, lead, lag, budget, activity code etc.


  • Schedule management plan
  • Scope baseline
  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organisational process assets

Tools and techniques

  • Expert judgment
  • Decomposition
  • Rolling wave planning
  • Meetings


  • Activity list
  • Activity attributes
  • Milestone list
  • Change requests
  • Project management plan updates
  • Schedule baseline
  • Cost baseline

PMBOK Version6 Reference page : 183


Published by Project Management Research Institute

Project Management Research Institute, a not for profit organization involved in collaborative research, development and deployment of customer centric project management solutions.

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