Sikhana Seekho

Project Schedule Management deals with the timely completion of the project. 

It includes the establishment of policies, procedures, and documentation for identifying and documenting specific actions to be performed to produce the deliverables of the project. Establishing dependencies and relationships between activities and estimating the time each activity will take, developing of schedule based on the available information, and controlling that schedule during execution by updating the progress of each activity and managing changes if required.  

 

Manadatory Items in Project Schedule Management

The 3 mandatory items of a schedule are:

  1. List of activities
  2. Sequence of activities
  3. Duration of activities
 

A schedule cannot make if we don’t have information about these 3 items.

So, the first step is to identify and define the activities that need to be performed. Make a long list of activities. Try to keep your activities precise and concise. A good approach to defining project activities is using the VERB-NOUN format. However, project managers can use any other approach that they find appropriate.

 

Once the activities are defined, now we need to make their sequence. Each activity will have some dependencies, at least one predecessor, and one successor. We need to figure out all the dependencies and determine all the predecessors and successors. Make sure there is no activity with any predecessor and successor. If some activities are found without any dependency, they will be directly connected to the start and finish of the project.

 

Once all the dependencies are determined, a network diagram is made to represent the dependencies in graphical format, which is a good time to estimate the duration of each activity.

 

For estimation, multiple techniques can be used, for example:

  1. Analogous Estimation
  2. Parametric Estimation
  3. Three Point Estimation
 

All these different types of animations have their pros and cons. You can read my post regarding types of estimations for more details.

Once the estimations are done, we will have all the required information to develop a schedule. The schedule can be developed using project management software, Microsoft Excel, or manually on paper. This schedule will then distribute among individuals who may use this document for better project schedule management.

Now is the time to maintain and control the schedule. There should be no delays or slippage in the schedule, and if there is some slippage, the project manager may use some schedule compression techniques to ensure it does not affect the total duration of the project.

Project Schedule Management knowledge area, which comprises six processes in the PMBOK 6th edition. Each process has its own set of inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs, and we will cover them in detail below.

  1. Plan Schedule Management:

The Plan Schedule Management process is the first step in Project Schedule Management, which involves defining the procedures and policies for creating, monitoring, and controlling the project schedule. The primary objective of this process is to develop a roadmap that helps the project team to manage the project schedule effectively.

Inputs:

  • Project Management Plan: It includes the scope management plan, cost management plan, resource management plan, communication management plan, risk management plan, and stakeholder management plan.
  • Project Charter: It describes the project’s high-level objectives, scope, and stakeholders’ expectations.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors: It includes internal and external factors that can impact the project schedule, such as organizational culture, market conditions, government regulations, and industry standards.
  • Organizational Process Assets: It includes historical information, lessons learned, policies, procedures, and templates that can be used to develop the project schedule.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Expert Judgment: It is a technique that involves seeking guidance from experienced professionals who have completed similar projects in the past.
  • Analytical Techniques: It includes various mathematical and statistical techniques, such as Monte Carlo simulation, critical path analysis, and earned value analysis.
  • Meetings: It is an effective technique to gather information, discuss issues, and reach a consensus among stakeholders.

Outputs:

  • Schedule Management Plan: It includes the policies, procedures, and guidelines for developing, monitoring, and controlling the project schedule.
 

2. Define Activities:

The Define Activities process involves identifying and defining all the project activities required to complete the project scope. The primary objective of this process is to create a comprehensive list of project activities that will be used in the subsequent processes.

Inputs:

  • Project Management Plan: It provides the overall framework and approach to manage the project activities.
  • Project Charter: It describes the project’s high-level objectives and scope.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors: It includes internal and external factors that can impact the project activities, such as market conditions, government regulations, and industry standards.
  • Organizational Process Assets: It includes historical information, lessons learned, policies, procedures, and templates that can be used to define the project activities.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Decomposition: It involves breaking down the project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components.
  • Expert Judgment: It is a technique that involves seeking guidance from experienced professionals who have completed similar projects in the past.
  • Rolling Wave Planning: It is a technique that involves planning the project activities in detail for the near-term and leaving the activities in the future for further planning.

Outputs:

  • Activity List: It is a comprehensive list of all the project activities.
  • Activity Attributes: It includes the details of each activity, such as activity ID, description, and resource requirements.
  • Milestone List: It is a list of significant events or accomplishments that mark the completion of a major phase or deliverable.
 

3. Sequence Activities:

The Sequence Activities process involves identifying the logical relationships between project activities and arranging them in a logical order. The primary objective of this process is to develop a project schedule network diagram that shows the relationships between project activities.

Inputs:

  • Project Management Plan: It provides the overall framework and approach to manage the project activities.
  • Project Documents: It includes the activity list, activity attributes, and milestone list.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors: It includes internal and external factors that can impact the project activities, such as market conditions, government regulations, and industry standards.
  • Organizational Process Assets: It includes historical information, lessons learned, policies, procedures, and templates that can be used to sequence project activities.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM): It is a technique used to identify and graphically represent the logical relationships between project activities using nodes and arrows.
  • Dependency Determination: It involves determining the dependencies between project activities, such as finish-to-start (FS), start-to-start (SS), finish-to-finish (FF), and start-to-finish (SF).
  • Leads and Lags: These are time intervals added to the logical relationships between project activities to account for overlapping or delaying activities.

Outputs:

  • Project Schedule Network Diagram: It is a graphical representation of the logical relationships between project activities.
  • Project Document Updates: The activity list, activity attributes, and milestone list may need to be updated based on the sequence of project activities.
 

4.  Estimate Activity Durations:

The Estimate Activity Durations process involves estimating the amount of time required to complete each project activity. The primary objective of this process is to create a realistic timeline for completing the project activities.

Inputs:

  • Project Management Plan: It provides the overall framework and approach to manage the project activities.
  • Project Documents: It includes the activity list, activity attributes, milestone list, and project schedule network diagram.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors: It includes internal and external factors that can impact the activity durations, such as market conditions, government regulations, and industry standards.
  • Organizational Process Assets: It includes historical information, lessons learned, policies, procedures, and templates that can be used to estimate activity durations.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Expert Judgment: It is a technique that involves seeking guidance from experienced professionals who have completed similar projects in the past.
  • Analogous Estimating: It is a technique that involves using historical data from similar projects to estimate activity durations.
  • Parametric Estimating: It is a technique that involves using statistical data to estimate activity durations based on the quantity of work and productivity rates.
  • Three-Point Estimating: It is a technique that involves using optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely estimates to determine the activity duration.

Outputs:

  • Activity Duration Estimates: It is an estimate of the amount of time required to complete each project activity.
  • Basis of Estimates: It is a document that provides the assumptions, constraints, and methods used to estimate activity durations.
 

5. Develop Schedule:

The Develop Schedule process involves creating a realistic project schedule that considers the activity durations, logical relationships between activities, and resource availability. The primary objective of this process is to create a roadmap that guides the project team to complete the project on time.

Inputs:

  • Project Management Plan: It provides the overall framework and approach to manage the project activities.
  • Project Documents: It includes the activity list, activity attributes, milestone list, project schedule network diagram, activity duration estimates, and resource calendars.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors: It includes internal and external factors that can impact the project schedule, such as market conditions, government regulations, and industry standards.
  • Organizational Process Assets: It includes historical information, lessons learned, policies, procedures, and templates that can be used to develop the project schedule.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Schedule Network Analysis: It involves analyzing the logical relationships between project activities to create a project schedule network.
  • Critical Path Method (CPM): It is a technique that involves determining the critical path, which is the longest sequence of dependent activities that determines the project’s overall duration.
  • Resource Optimization Techniques: It involves leveling resources, adjusting resource calendars, or reducing the scope of the project to optimize resource utilization.
  • Project Management Software: It is a tool that automates the process of developing and updating the project schedule.

Outputs:

  • Project Schedule: It is a document that shows the start and finish dates of each project activity, the critical path, and the project completion date.
  • Schedule Baseline: It is the approved version of the project schedule that is used to measure project performance.
  • Project Document Updates: The activity list, activity attributes, milestone list, project schedule network diagram, activity duration estimates, and resource calendars may need to be updated based on the project schedule.
 

6. Control Schedule:

The Control Schedule process involves monitoring and controlling the project schedule to ensure that the project is completed on time. The primary objective of this process is to identify and address schedule variances before they impact the project’s overall performance.

Inputs:

  • Project Management Plan: It provides the overall framework and approach to manage the project activities.
  • Project Documents: It includes the project schedule, schedule baseline, activity list, activity attributes, milestone list, project schedule network diagram, activity duration estimates, and resource calendars.
  • Work Performance Data: It includes data on the actual start and finish dates of project activities and the progress made to date.
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors: It includes internal and external factors that can impact the project schedule, such as market conditions, government regulations, and industry standards.
  • Organizational Process Assets: It includes historical information, lessons learned, policies, procedures, and templates that can be used to control the project schedule.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Performance Reviews: It involves comparing the actual project performance to the planned performance to identify schedule variances.
  • Schedule Change Control System: It is a system used to review, approve, and track changes to the project schedule.
  • Schedule Compression: It involves using schedule compression techniques, such as crashing or fast-tracking, to bring the project schedule back on track.
  • Resource Optimization Techniques: It involves leveling resources, adjusting resource calendars, or reducing the scope of the project to optimize resource utilization.

Outputs:

  • Work Performance Information: It includes data on the actual start and finish dates of project activities and the progress made to date.
  • Schedule Forecasts: It is an estimate of the project’s future schedule based on the actual project performance to date.
  • Change Requests: It is a request to change the project schedule based on the identified schedule variances.
  • Project Management Plan Updates: The project schedule, schedule baseline, and project management plan may need to be updated based on the identified schedule variances.
  • Project Document Updates: The activity list, activity attributes, milestone list, project schedule network diagram, activity duration estimates, and resource calendars may need to be updated based on the identified schedule variances.

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