Location: PMKI > PMBoK Knowledge Areas > Schedule Management.
Other related sections of the PMKI:
The purpose of a project schedule is to define how the product will be created based on the resources available to undertake the work. This process traditionally occurred once at the beginning of the project. In iterative and adaptive projects it is more common to have a general overall schedule for the work and then to develop detailed schedules for each phase or iteration. Regardless of the method actually used, the three fundamental elements of good schedule are:
Project Schedule Management in the PMBOK® Guide covers:
Good Practice in the Management of Time in Major
Projects: Dynamic Time Modelling, 2nd Edition.
A practical treatise on the processes and standards
required for the effective time management of major
projects, including real life case studies dealing with
strategic time management and high-density, resource-based
scheduling. It is the definitive handbook for any project
and program management professional seeking to manage time
effectively on major projects. See
DP: A Guide to Scheduling Good Practice. Describes the work undertaken by a scheduler to create an effective schedule.
PP: 5-STEPS, Five Steps To Ensure Project Success. A proven process designed to focus the thinking of the key stakeholders onto the parameters required to achieve a successful project outcome.
The Schedule Management Plan is a sub-plan in the overall project management plan. It documents the project control limits, thresholds and tolerances for time variances that will be left for the project manager to control, and those that will require authorization through the change control system or escalation to higher authorities. It also specifies how the schedule will be developed and controlled, what code fields will be used, how the schedule will integrate with other control tools, and the software to be used. Planning the planning is a vital step in setting up a controls system that works.
Art: Scheduling For Effect. Three simple things anyone can do to make their project schedules more effective.
WP: Timeboxing. Timeboxing is a simple process used to measure the complete of a defined amount of work in a fixed period, plus or minus an allowed variation (the 'time box').
WP: Rolling Wave Planning. Rolling wave is a form of progressive elaboration, increasing the detail in a schedule as more information becomes available.
Planning how the work of the project will be accomplished, what methodologies will be used to undertake the work and how the schedule will represent these decisions. The schedule for a project being developed using an 'Agile' methodology will be very different to one using a traditional 'Waterfall' approach (even though the deliverable to be produced is the same). Similarly a decision to outsource or contract most of the work of a project will require a very different management approach to a project where most of the work is planned to be done 'in-house' and the schedule needs to reflect these differences.
WP: Project Planning -v- Scheduling. Planning is focused on optimizing the sequencing of the work and the methods to be used as a precursor to scheduling which focuses on how the method will be implemented.
Duration and Resource Estimating
The process of estimating activity durations combines the activity’s scope of work, the required resource types, estimated (or available) resource quantities, resource calendars, anticipate resource knowledge/skills and the resulting productivity factor to assess a likely duration. The constant that does not alter is the scope of work included in the activity. The variable is the resources assigned to do the work. The outcome of the estimating process is the duration.
WP: Duration Estimating. The challenge of assigning an accurate duration to a task.
PP: The Cost of Time - or who's duration is it anyway? The multiple factors that should be considered by competent planners and managers when determining a duration for an activity.
Prs: Estimating Fallacies - excessive detail does not help. Detailed is not synonymous with accurate! Excessive detail can reduce accuracy, devalue the estimate and create unrealistic expectations leading to failure when the project fails to achieve the impossible.
Links, Leads, Lags and Ladders
Activity sequencing involves the identification and documentation of dependencies (logical relationships) between activities. It is needed to support the development of a realistic and achievable schedule. Properly sequencing (connecting) the activities is also crucial for maintaining the integrity of the schedule. This is particularly important when assessing the impact of change and the addition of information from progress reports when the schedule is no longer running to the original plan.
When developing a logic network the key questions for each activity are:-
The resulting logic is the road map showing the sequence of work from the beginning to the end of the project.
DP: Links, Lags and Ladders - the subtleties of overlapping tasks. Focuses on the issues, problems and challenges of overlapping tasks in a schedule using various link types.
Art: Hammocks, LOE and Summary Activities in Schedules. Hammocks, LOE and Summary Activities are three completely different types of activity – the differences are defined.
DP: Dynamic Scheduling. Describes the benefits derived from developing a logically linked schedule.
DP: Schedule Calculations. A detailed guide the Time Analysis and Float calculations used in PDM schedules.
Blg: Schedule Calculations – Old and New. The difference between old manual calculations starting from Zero, and the correct calculations used by modern computers.
Prs: Resource optimization - a new paradigm for project scheduling. This paper looks at ways to reverse the paradigm that makes the activity duration central to scheduling. The work is the constant, the resources used, the variable and the duration the outcome.
Analyze and adjust the schedule to meet project objectives (particularly any required completion dates).
Schedule development is focused on determining realistic start and completion dates for all of the activities in the schedule. The process may be iterated (along with earlier ones) before baselining the agreed project schedule. It involves Schedule development brings together all of the outputs from previous schedule management processes, and analyzing the information in a holistic way to create the schedule model used for managing the execution of the overall work of the project.
WP: Defining the Critical Path. There are many different descriptions in regular use, this WP provides a concise and accurate definition.
DP: Schedule Float. Discusses the various calculations and definitions for Free float and Total float.
PP: Why Critical Path Scheduling (CPM) is Wildly Optimistic. The biases built into the CPM methodology that underestimate project durations.
Blg : Critical confusion – when activities on the critical path don’t compute…… The use of Finish-to-Finish and Start-to-Start links (particularly in combination) can cause significant issues in calculating the overall project duration.
Statusing and updating the schedule to reflect actual progress. Analyzing the information generated.
Schedule control is concerned with:
PP: Managing for Success - The power of regular updates. Updating a schedule should be more than a clerical process - well managed updates motivate and direct the work of the project.
WP: Schedule Compression. This WP focuses on the techniques and risks associated with schedule compression, including 'fast-tracking' and 'crashing'.
Art: Assurance for high risk projects. High-risk, high reward projects that have the potential to transform an organization require a robust, independent assurance function!
For papers on delay and disruption claims see: Claims and Forensic Analysis
Prs: Projects controls using integrated data. The future of project time management as an integrated part of an overall project information system.
Reporting, to stakeholders and helping to inform management decisions.
PP Understanding the Schedule. The challenge of informed consent. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” [George Bernard Shaw] presenting a schedule does not mean the recipient has understood the information!
Prs: Communication in organizations - making the schedule effective. The challenges associated with communicating controls information in a way that is understood and appreciated by stakeholders (particularly senior managers) so they can use the information to make informed decisions.
PP: Communications Control? Schedules cannot control anything - they are inert sources of information! These papers look at the challenge communicating the information to influence decisions and behaviour.
The different aspects of project management, planning and scheduling:
Prs: Project management vs Project scheduling. The different roles and responsibilities of project management, project planning and project scheduling.
Prs: Time management -v- Contract administration. A contrast between the static approach to scheduling in many contracts and the need for proactive time management to complete a project successfully.
Practice Standard for Scheduling is
available free of charge to PMI members, see: https://www.pmi.org/pmbok-guide-standards/framework
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Download the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Schedule Assessment Guide.
Developing an Effective CPM Schedule. This workshop focuses on how to develop an effective schedule in any software tool. Attendees will understand the importance of implementing effective schedule planing and control techniques in a structured way that directly involves the project stakeholders. (view course details).