Hanging Activity

Posted on April 30, 2010 by

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This is what happens in old Western movies when the good cowboys apprehend the bad guys and justice is served. It’s also a scheduling term used in project management. Imagine a project schedule network diagram. For all but the smallest projects, there will be various paths of activities. These paths represent logical sequences of activities that tie into the overall network diagram. An activity at the start or end of a sequence that does not tie into the overall network diagram is called a Hanging Activity. For example, imagine that Mr. and Mrs. Flowers are doing a landscaping project in their front yard. Mrs. Flowers works on the activity path that includes the activities of driving across town, selecting her favorite kind of tulips, and returning home. Meanwhile, Mr. Flowers researches what type of tools they need, decides to rent them, and has a backhoe delivered to the house. Unfortunately, having a backhoe delivered to the house is a Hanging Activity. As Mrs. Flowers pointed out, this activity does not tie into the later activity of digging holes because they are only planting tulips and a small shovel will suffice. Mr. Flowers objects and says that the Dig Moat activity is simply missing on their project schedule network diagram and that if Dig Moat is added, the backhoe delivery will tie into that and no longer be a Hanging Activity.