I Bet Barbie® Never Made a Network Diagram

HHere’s a little tidbit of information for you: Barbie® and Ken® were never married. This is according to a website called manbehindthedoll.com. I swear they had kids together. Perhaps out of wedlock? What a scandal! But my early childhood memory could be playing tricks on me.

Apparently Barbie’s friend, Midge® and her Husband, Allan® are the only married characters in the Barbie® doll line. I did a little quick research and found on Wikipedia that in 2004 Barbie® and Ken® decided to call it quits and then in 2005 rekindled their flame after Ken® got a makeover. That’s what you would call a modern day relationship. Anyhoooo, I digress. Needless to say since Barbie® never got married, she never had to do what I just did.

midge and allan wedding

from left: barbie, some child, midge, allan, ken, another child

It took me quite a number of hours, I felt like I had carpel tunnel, and was cross-eyed when I was done, but I guess that’s what it takes to make a network diagram for your wedding. Especially when you are a graphic designer who likes everything to be perfect.

In project management a network diagram is a graphical representation of each activity in the previously created wedding work breakdown structure and how those activities relate to each other in terms of precdence. For instance, one of my activities is designing and printing save the dates. I can’t start this activity before I decide on a venue, date, theme, and colors. And, likewise I can’t send out the save the dates until they are designed and printed, a wedding website is live, and a guest list is created.  This type of precedence is called activities in series. Basically, starting these activities relies on the completion of other activities. However, I can work on some activities at the same time. I can make a budget and decide on themes and colors at the same time.  I can also create a guest list, design the save the dates, and create a website at the same time. This type of precedence is called activities in parallel.

wedding network diagram sample


Did that make any sense? If not, here is a more simplified explanation:

Activities in series are done one after the other.

activities in series


Activities in parallel can be done at the same time.

activities in parallel


A network diagram is important because without it you won’t know what order to plan your wedding activities in when it comes time to create a wedding schedule. Now, I know it seems obvious what order you need to complete activities in. And I have to admit I could have probably written it down on a piece of paper. But I promised I would do this the project management way. The difference is that project managers have tools to create these network diagrams, I had graphic design software. So I would recommend drawing it out by hand. It won’t be perfect but that’s ok, you just need an idea of the precedence of your activities.

If you’re interested in what a graphic designer can do with boxes, lines, and arrow take a peek.

And here is some fun reading on the Allan® doll thanks to my co-worker, Jason.

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