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PRINCE2 - Planning (PL) part 4

Identifying Activities and Dependencies (PL3)

Fundamental principles

Simply identifying products may be insufficient for scheduling and control purposes.
The activities implied in the delivery of each of the products need to be identified to give a fuller picture of the plan’s workload.


This sub-process is done when the Product Flow Diagram from the sub-process Defining and Analysing Products (PL2) has been agreed.
Identification of activities may reveal that extra products are needed, causing a reiteration of PL2.
As with the other Planning (PL) sub-processes, Identifying Activities and Dependencies (PL3) will be performed iteratively.
Activities and extra products may be required in response to identified risks, so the Risk Log should be checked.

Process description

This sub-process is divided into three steps:

  1. Identify all activities necessary to deliver the products
  2. Establish the interdependencies between activities
  3. Ensure that dependencies both internal and external to the project are covered

All the activities required to create or change the planned products have to be identified.
After the Product Flow Diagram has been created, the activities are most easily identified by using a transformation process.
Transformation identifies the activities needed to take one product or set of products and turn it into the next product or set of products in the sequence.

There may be only one activity or there may be a group of activities, depending on the level of detail required for the plan. These activities can be written on the Product Flow Diagram against the relevant products.

An example of a Product Flow Diagram for the organisation of a conference is shown in the file ‘conference product flow diagram.doc’ with the product package.
This is shown as tabular list of activities in the file ‘conference tabular list.doc’.

The list of activities should include management and quality checking activities as well as the activities needed to develop the specialist products.

Any constraints should also be identified.

External constraints may be:

  • The delivery of a product required by this project from another project
  • Waiting for a decision from programme management

Wherever possible, external constraints should be described as a dependency on the availability of an external product.
Resource-based constraints – for example, ‘Is the resource available to do the work?’ – are not considered here.
They are a question for the scheduling process.

The activities should include any that are required to interact with external parties – for example, obtaining a product from an outside source or converting external products into something that the plan requires.


The Project Manager is responsible for the sub-process for Project and Stage Plans.

Team Plans are the responsibility of the Team Manager(s).
There should be support from any Team Managers whose team contributes to execution of the plan n question.

Help should be also be found from any Project Assurance or Project staff allocated to the project.

The checking of the work is part of the responsibility of Project Assurance roles.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Product Flow DiagramInputThe products and their dependencies are the basis of defining the required activities and their dependencies.
Product DescriptionsInputThe deviation section of the description may contain information helpful in identifying dependencies.
Risk LogInputThe Risk Log may contribute risk monitoring activities that need to be added to the plan.
List of activitiesOutputAll the activities required to produce the products.
Activity dependenciesOutputAny dependencies between the activities in the preceding list.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘PL3 identifying activities and dependencies.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Can any activities be carried out in parallel?
  • Can any activities overlap?
  • Are any gaps needed between certain activities?
  • Have sufficient quality checking activities been included? (This question would at too low a level for the Project Plan).

Keep the level of detail and the number of activities appropriate to the level of the plan.

A plan should be as simple as possible which will help in interpretation, if in doubt don’t overlap activities.

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Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
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