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c. Hire caterer
d. Provide kitchen access to caterers
e. Assign clean-up committee
f. Clean up
B. Halloween party
1. And so on . . .
Which one of these outlines is best for this project? That depends on how
complex these arrangements are — and on how narrowly you define the
project. Are you planning the entire year of company events or only one
party? How many people will perform the tasks and over what period of
time? Will one person research, budget, and hire the caterers in a single
hour? If so, a single task — Hire Caterer — might be enough. Will one person
do the research, another set the budget, and another hire the caterer — and
might these tasks be separated by days (or even weeks)? If so, having several
tasks might be the way to go.
If one task must happen before another can start, you might have to break
down the tasks to reflect the causality between certain events. For example,
if you can’t begin a new manufacturing process before people are trained, it’s
probably not prudent to lump training and the implementation of the new
process into a single task.
Too little detail might let some tasks slip through the cracks, while too much
detail might cause your project team to be inefficient, spending more time
reporting progress and breaking down activities than doing the work. Here’s
the bottom line: When you understand the scope of your project and the
relationship of each task as you create your project outline, you’re likely to build
in the right level of detail.
Building the outline
People approach building a project outline in different ways. Some create all
the tasks they can think of in random order and then promote and demote
tasks to different levels and move them around to appear in the correct order.
Other people create upper-level tasks first and then go back and fill in details
below each task. Still other people work one phase at a time, by creating one
upper-level task and filling in every possible task underneath it. Then they go
on to the next phase and create every task under that, and so on.
The approach that you use depends to some extent on how you think. Some
people think chronologically, and others group like information. You eventually