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The PMBOK Guide favors the term Activity over Tasks but like you, I don't differentiate between the two.
Work packages would break down into activities (or tasks).
If you are using User Stories as a method of describing Work Packages, those could be disaggregated into Tasks.
I can't remember exactly in which book I read it but it's said there that the decomposition of an "activity" leads to "tasks". In other words TASKS MAKE ACTIVITY. In my opinion a task is smaller than an activity. For instance supposing the project is to build a big house and a work package is 3 toilets available one activity is the installation of plumbing tube. This activity can have tasks like the installation of big tubes first then the small ones.
From my view, activity: when we finish an activity, it necessarily produced a result (whether deliverable or not). Task not like that, just finish some actions, not necessarily produce results.
Both are same it depends on what convention you follow Is you are a heavy user of ms project you I tend to use task but pmbok consistently uses only activity. In fact there are some differences between project activities and schedule activities. I have written a blog post on this please follow the link
I agree they refer to the same thing. Perhaps born from software applications, MSP names activities tasks and this can be connected to tasks in Outlook to keep track of resources progress. Primavera calls it activities but the term is interchangeable. Packages is a grouping of activities/tasks around a common concept, i.e all the civil activities in different areas are collected into 1 package to be awarded to a civil's contractor.
I agree with Mahalmadane. Tasks are more granular version of activity
eg; "System Integration Testing" is an activity. "Creation of SIT Test Scripts" is a task
If you go to the PMI´s Lexicon of Project Mangement Terms you will find that the term "task" is not there. So, you will not find the use of "task" into the PMBOK, PMBOK Guide and others. But when you go to some domains to work as project manager you will find the use of task (for example I found it into government). What I find in those cases is that "task" is a piece of work to be done in a determined time while "activity" is related to a function to be performed by a business unit. The important thing, at least what I do with this type of things and others, is to stay clear about the common terms we will use with all the team along the whole organization.
An activity is a collection of tasks.
Same idea with Andrew Craig. Add some more words: An activity is a collection of tasks that in completion it creates one or more intentional results.
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