The key to a successful project is to complete it within the schedule and with high quality. Missing deadlines often reflects negatively on the project manager and affects the reputation of the organization. This necessitates project managers to devise a schedule management plan to execute the project on time. Schedule management assists in delivering a project on time. It describes how to create, manage, execute, and control the project schedule. The project scheduling process begins before the establishment of the schedule and continues throughout the project life cycle. It is a crucial component of any project as it keeps the project team on track and helps in handling projects effectively.
What Is Schedule Management?
Schedule management is a process of establishing criteria for planning, developing, managing, executing, and controlling the project schedule. The purpose of preparing a schedule management plan is to ensure that a project is completed on time.
Individuals aspiring to get the PMP Certification should be familiar with schedule management. It is an essential component of project management since it ensures that the project is completed on schedule. The following are the seven processes involved in schedule management.
Plan schedule management
During this phase, project managers define all policies, procedures, and documents required in managing the project schedule. It guides in managing schedules throughout the project. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for project managers to create separate schedules for handling their work.
Inputs: project charter, project management plan, enterprise environmental factors, and organizational process assets.
Tools and techniques: expert judgement, data analysis, and meetings.
Outputs: schedule management plan
Project managers identify and prioritize the individual tasks that should be performed throughout the project lifecycle. They evaluate scope-related papers to determine which tasks are needed to fulfill project deliverables. Furthermore, they divide major tasks into smaller activities to meet deadlines. At the end of this process, they create a list of defined project tasks.
Inputs: project management plan, enterprise environmental factors, and organizational process assets.
Tools and techniques: expert judgement, decomposition, rolling wave planning, and meetings.
Outputs: activity list, activity attributes, milestone list, change requests, and project management plan updates.
During this activity project managers arrange the list of project activities in the right order. This aids in understanding the relationships between project tasks and making efficient use of the project’s resources for delivering the project on time.
Inputs: project management plan, schedule management plan, enterprise environmental factors, and organization process assets
Tools and techniques: precedence diagramming method, dependency determination and integration, leads and lags, and project management information system
Outputs: project schedule network diagrams and project documents updates
Estimate activity resources
Following the organization of tasks, project managers determine the resources required to achieve the project objectives. They list all essential resources, such as human resources, equipment, and supplies, as well as the quantity required to achieve the goal.
Inputs: activity list, activity attributes, organizational process assets, the enterprise environmental factors, schedule management plan, and resource calendar.
Tools and techniques: expert judgment, alternatives analysis, published estimating data, project management software, and bottom-up estimating.
Outputs: activity resource requirements, resource breakdown structure, and project document updates
Estimate activity durations
After listing the resources required to complete the project, project managers should determine the time needed to perform tasks. They calculate the time required to execute tasks using the available resources. Calculating the time for each activity needs to be reasonable and consider holidays as well.
Inputs: project management plan, schedule management plan, enterprise environmental factors, and organizational process assets
Tools and techniques: expert judgement, analogous estimating, parametric estimating, three-point estimating, bottom-up estimating, data analysis, decision making, and meetings
Outputs: duration estimates, the basis of estimates, and project documents updates
Project managers develop a schedule after gathering all the information stated in the preceding activities. It is the most difficult aspect of project time management. An ideal schedule contains risks, scope, and project-related variables. It aids project managers in properly managing projects and delivering successful outcomes.
Inputs: project management plan, project documents, agreements, enterprise environmental factors, and organization process assets
Tools and techniques: schedule network analysis, critical path method, resource optimization techniques, data analysis, leads and lags, schedule compression, project management information system, and agile release planning
Outputs: schedule baseline, project schedule, schedule data, project calendars, change requests, project management plan updates, and project documents updates
This activity offers the tools required to monitor and update the project schedule. It aids in ensuring that modifications are managed effectively and in keeping the project timeline under control. Creating and managing a project schedule can be a time-consuming task, but it greatly assists in managing projects.
Inputs: project management plan, project documents, work performance data, and organizational process assets
Tools and Techniques: data analysis, critical path method, project management information system, resource optimization, leads and lags, and schedule compression
Outputs: work performance information, schedule forecasts, change requests, project management plan updates, and project documents updates
The earlier versions of the PMBOK Guide focused on best practices in the field of project management. However, PMBOK 7 focuses more on outcomes than practices. PMBOK 7 is a principle-based approach rather than a process-based approach.
- Its emphasis has shifted from creating deliverables to creating value
- Forty-nine processes and five process groups are replaced by twelve principles
- Ten knowledge areas are replaced by eight performance domains
- Inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs are replaced by models, methods, and artifacts.
Furthermore, the simple mention of tailoring in PMBOK 6 is expanded in PMBOK 7 as a comprehensive tailoring framework.
Schedule Management process assists project managers in developing a schedule plan to monitor and manage the project. In addition, modifications can be managed more effectively with the help of a project schedule. Furthermore, having such a schedule in hand helps project managers to keep track of the deadlines at all times.