Schedule Strategy, Planning, & Design

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Successful projects are planned. This subject looks at the role of strategy, planning the project, and designing the project controls system to support the plan, in crafting success.

Topics included in Schedule Strategy, Planning & Design:

- Project strategy
- Project planning
- Designing an effective project controls framework
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI

- Organizational Strategy
- Portfolio Management
- Program Management

Project strategy

The project's objectives should align with, and support, the overarching organization strategy. Understanding the strategic intent of the organization helps ensure alignment is maintained. Click through for more on organizational strategy and alignment.

WP: Project Strategy. Defining the best strategy for the achievement of the projects objectives is key to achieving a successful outcome. One the key early decisions that determine project success is selecting the right approach to project delivery. One-size does not 'fit all':
-  Agile approaches work in some situations but need a very different management style.
   See more on Agile.
-  Traditional approaches need to be varied depending on the project type, size and procurement



Project planning

Planning Strategy From a practical perspective, to plan a successful project you need to answer three questions:

  1. What has to be achieved? (not always easy to answer accurately…)
  2. What is the best way of doing this?
  3. Who is available to do the work? (which leads to knowing how long it will take)

If the answers to the above does not ‘fit’ the requirements or expectations imposed on the project one of the parameters, or the expectations has to change. Once you are comfortable, then depending on methodologies used, you can start scheduling the work and allocating it to people/suppliers/organizations to do.   

Art: Philosophies & Principles Used to shape planning approaches. Any output from a planning process is an expression of the fundamental principles and philosophies (ie, approaches) applied by the planners to develop their plan. This article outlines some of the approaches that can be used in combination, or isolation to develop a project plan.

WP: Project Planning. 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.

Art: The Planning Paradox How much detail is too much? . Finessing project plans to present useful information at the right level of detail is not easy—decisions have to be made! This article sugests balancing the degree of risk against the rigour of the planning and controls system is beneficial.


Designing an effective project controls framework

Design the frameworkThe project controls framework needs to balance organizational requirements with the needs of the project factors to consider include:

Prs: Establish the project schedule. The steps needed to design, develop and validate an effective project schedule. Download the presentation.

DP: Schedule Levels provides a guide the 5 levels of schedule typically used on major projects from the 'Master Schedule' to the 'Detailed Short Term Schedule', adapted from Bechtel & Fluor standards. Open the paper.

Prs: Controlling Agile. A review of the decisions, questions and options for effectively integrating project controls with an 'agile' product delivery methodology.

Art: Scheduling For Effect. Three simple things anyone can do to make their project schedules more effective. 

The two capabilities needed for effective project management are an effective schedule supporting a sensible earned value management system (EVMS). Much of the information available on this website has been consolidated into two easy-to-read books Easy EVM and Easy CPM:

Easy EVM + CPM Both are designed as a course-in-a-book to provide practical training and guidance to individuals and organizations involved in developing or using, either earned value management, or CPM schedules based on the Critical Path Method (CPM).

Easy CPM is designed to act as a reference and practice guide for people implementing CPM scheduling after they have learned to use the CPM scheduling software of their choice.
See more, free preview and buy $35, immediate download).

Easy EVM is designed to provide practical guidance to people, and organizations, involved in either implementing an earned value management system, or using information created by an earned value management system. It provides guidance on concepts, responsibilities, integration, and processes, for the implementation and use of earned value management based on ISO 21508.
See more, free preview, and buy ($35, immediate download)


Useful External Web-links & Resource

Access the Guild of Project Controls Body of Knowledge. A suite of process-based documents which define Project Controls (membership required):



Work Performance Management

Easy CPM

Easy Stakeholder Management

Work Performance Management

Risk Register

Stakeholder Work Sheet

Work Performance Management

Easy EVM