Project Schedule Management

Project Schedule Management #

Managing the operation of a project promptly in a timely manner is the job of project schedule management. It involves plan schedule management, define activities, sequence activities, estimate activity durations, develop a schedule, control schedule. From establishing policies, procedures, and documentation to monitoring the status of the project and updating the project schedule to meet the changes.

It provides a detailed plan of the way the products need to be delivered within the project. Project scheduling also takes care of communication, managing stakeholders’ expectations, and performance is the job of the project management team to create a scheduling method that includes project-specific data such as activities, planned dates, durations, resources, dependencies, and constraints.

Project schedule management trends and emerging practices #

Long Term scope is hard to define and predict with the age of uncertainty and unpredictability is right at our doorstep. The competitive market has companies looking for other ways to gain the trust of people. It is becoming more important for companies to adopt a contextual framework for effective adoption and create practices that respond well to the changing environment.

Project scheduling has taken some methods to make the system much more effective, they are 

  • Iterative scheduling with a backlog 

This provides an agile or adaptive approach to product development.

  • Here the requirements documented
  • Product features get developed using a time-boxed period of work
  • It allows changes to happen during the development life cycle.
  • On-demand Scheduling 

Mostly used in the kanban system, the system follows the theory of pull-based scheduling concepts from lean manufacturing. 

  • This type of scheduling will limit a team’s work in progress to balance the demand against the delivery.
  • It doesn’t rely on any type of schedule
  • It pulls the work from the backlog or intermediate queue

Tailoring in Project schedule management #

Each project has a unique structure, the project manager must make the changes to the project schedules management to fit more to the requirements of the project. Here are some considerations for tailoring:

  • Life Cycle Approach – The appropriate life cycle for a more detailed schedule.
  • Resource Availability – Understating the duration of resources.
  • Project Dimensions – The presence of complexity, technological uncertainty, product novelty, progress tracking impact pig the desire for control.
  • Technology Support – Accessibility of technology that is used to develop, record, transmit, receive and store project schedules.

Adaptive environments #

The adaptive approach takes care of short cycles to take care of work, review the results and accept it if the situation demands. The cycles provide rapid feedback on the deliverables, scheduling, pull-based scheduling. Long-term road maps are required to manage the development of the programs in large organizations. The role of the project magner never changes in managing the project that follows adaptive approaches or predictive development. It is all the tools and techniques that take the center stage, the project magner has to take their time to get themselves familiar with the concept.

Plan Schulde Management #

This process establishes the process, procedures, and documentation that is related to planning, managing, executing, controlling, and developing the project schedule. It provides direction on the management of the project schedule throughout the project. They are highly important to maintain the initial aspect of the project. The direction is what will keep the flow of the process at a constant rate.

Schedule management plan #

A schedule management plan sets up the criteria and activities for developing, monitoring, and controlling the schedule.

  • Project Schedule model development – Includes methodology and schedule tool that gets used in the project schedule.
  • Release and iteration length – In the adaptive life cycle, time-boxed periods for releases, waves, and iterations are specified. Time boxed periods are duration where the team puts a higher priority on the completion of the goal.
  • Level of accuracy – it specifies the acceptable range used in setting up the realistic activity duration.
  • Unit of measure – Measurement gets defined for the resources.
  • Organizational Procedures links-  It provides a framework for schedule management p[an
  • Project Schedule model maintenance – Updates the status and records the progress of the project in the schedule.
  • Control Thresholds –  This gets placed for monitoring schedule performance.
  • Rules of performance measurement – setting the earned value management or physical measurement rules.
  • Reporting formats – Defining the formats and frequency of the scheduled reports.

Define Activities #

Identification and documenting the actions that need to be performed to produce project deliverables. The critical factor of this process is to decompose the work packages to schedule activities that focus on the basis for estimating, scheduling, executing, monitoring, and controlling the project work.

Define Activities Techniques and Tools #

Decomposition #

It helps with dividing and subdividing the project scope and deliverables into management parts.  Activities are efforts that are needed to be performed to complete the work package. Involving team members can result in better outcomes and accurate information.

Rolling wave planning #

Here the work gets accomplished in the near term, where the work is planned at a higher level. Information can not be controlled, new information will find a way to impact the project early static planning will have information less defined in the work packages. As more information comes in, work packages need to be decomposed into activities.

Meeting #

It can be face-to-face, remote, formal, or information. It helps with defining the activities that are required for the work.

Define Activities Outputs #

Activity List #

Includes the scheduled activities that are required for the project. 

Activity Attributes  #

It helps with identifying multiple components associated with activities. The components that are part of the activity get evolved over time. Activity attributes help with developing schedules for selecting, ordering, scheduling activities in various ways.

Milestone List #

As it says, it identifies the project milestones and decides whether it is important or not. They are generally seen as a point rather than time limits.

Sequence Activities #

It is the process of identifying and documenting relationships amongst the project activities. It defines a process that creates a logical sequence of work to obtain successful results.

Sequence Activities Tools and Techniques #

  • Uses a precedence diagramming method to represent activities by nodes that are graphically linked to show the sequence of activities that need to be performed.
  • Involved mandatory dependencies to involve physical limitations.
  • Discretionary dependencies are sometimes preferred when knowledge of best practices gets performed over other sequences.
  • Leads get placed to determine the amount of time a successor activity can be advanced.
  • Lags show the amount of time a successor activity will be delayed.

Sequence Activities Output #

  • Project Schedule network diagram – this helps with a graphical representation of the logical relationships. This gets created using project management software.
  • Project document updates – updates may happen to activity attributes, activity list, assumption log, milestone list.

Estimate Activity Durations #

This process handles the number of work periods that are needed to finish the individual activity with estimated resources. It provides a time duration for each activity that needs to be completed. Thai processes are a continuous process throughout the project. Information such as the scope of work, resource types, estimated resource qualities, resource calendar, and various other factors helps in estimating the duration of the activity.

Estimate Activity Durations Tools and Techniques #

  • Expert judgment 

Training in schedule development, management, and control, expertise in estimating.

  • Analogous Estimating 

It helps to estimate the cost of an activity or project using historical data from a similar project.

  • Parametric Estimating 

It uses an algorithm to calculate the cost and duration based on the data and project parameters.

  • Three-point estimating 

Most likely, Optimistic, Pessimistic. This form of estimating gets used when the historical data or judgemental data is insufficient.

  • Bottom-up estimating 

It is a process that helps to estimate project duration by aggregating the estimates of lower-level components of WBS. when the duration of an activity can not be estimated or predicted then the work within the activity gets decomposed into more details.

  • Decision Making – The process of voting.
  • Meeting – Meeting gets held between project teams to estimate activity durations.

Develop Schedule #

This process analyzes the activity sequence, durations, resource requirements, and schedule constraints that help create a schedule model for project requirements. Therequrments include project execution, monitoring, and controlling. Basically, this process creates a schedule model and planned dates for the activities that matter in the project.

Develop Schedule Tools and Techniques #

  • Schedule network analysis helps generate a project schedule model.
  • The critical path method gets used to estimate the minimum project duration within the schedule model. It also determines the amount of schedule flexibility on the logical network path that operates in the schedule model.
  • Resource optimization helps with adjusting the start and finish dates of activities.
  • Data analysis techniques such as What-if and simulation are used for the creating schedule.
  • Leads and lags are also applied during the network analysis phase to create available schedules by adjusting the start time.
  • Schedule compression – This technique gets used to shorten or rush the schedule duration without limiting the project scope.
  • The project management information system helps with scheduling by using the software.
  • Agile release planning helps with providing a high-level summary timeline of the release schedule based on the roadmap and vision of the product.

Develop Schedule Outputs #

Schedule Baseline  #

It can be changed only through formal change control procedures. Schedule baseline is an approved version of a schedule model. It is a component of the project management plan.

Project Schedule #

It shows linked activities with planned dates, durations, milestones, and resources. The schedule here includes the start date and finished date for each activity. Formats such as bar charts, milestone charts, project schedule network diagrams help create a more accurate project. A bar chart is perfect to represent schedule information (activity duration and dates). Milestone charts share some similarities to bar charts but they describe the schedule start or completion of major deliverables and external interfaces.

Schedule data #

It is a collection of information for describing and controlling the schedule. That data includes milestones, activities, activity attributes, and documentation of all assumptions that are identified.

Project Calendars #

It helps identify the working days and shifts that are made for scheduled activities. It differences between the time period available for complete scheduled activities from the data that are not available for work.

Change Request #

Change requests may modify the project scope or project schedule or other components of the project management plan. Integrated change controls take care of the change request process and review.

Project management plan updates #

Any changes that get made to the project management plan go through the organization change control via a change request. Updates can get made to the schedule management plan to reflect the change in the way of a schedule. And cost baselines were the changes will be made to the cost baseline factoring in scope, resources, and cost estimates

Project Document Updates #

Updates will be made to the project documents that include activity attributes, assumption log, duration estimates, lesson learned register, resource requirements, and risk register.

Control Schedule #

It is the process of monitoring the status of the project and making changes to the project schedule to the schedule baseline. The main job of this process is to handle the baseline management and making sure it gets maintained throughout the project. Updating the schema model requires details of the current performance. Any changes made to the schedule baselines should go through the integrated change control process.

It shows:

  • Current status of the project schedule
  • Factors that create schedule changes
  • Reconsidering necessary schedule reserves
  • Changes in Project schedule
  • Managing the changes that occur
  • In an agile approach, the control schedule determines the current state of the project schedule, reprioritizing the remaining work, determining the rate of the deliverables, project schedule, and managing the changes.

Control Schedule Tools and Techniques #

Data Analysis #

Schedule variance and schedule performance index get used to assess the original schedule baseline. This process is defined as an Earned Value Analysis. On the other side, with iteration burndown chart tracks all the work that remains to be completed in the backlog. It can be used to predict the likely variance at iteration completion. So the appropriate action can be taken to fix the issue.

Performance reviews help measure, compare and analyze the schedule performance against the baseline. Trend, variance, and What-if analysis help with tracking the performance over time, predicting or speculating various scenarios. These are the key components that maintain the data analysis.

Critical Path Method #

This process helps determine the schedule status. The variance on the critical path will have an influence on the deadline of the project. Any sort of schedule risk can be calculated before it affects the route of the project.

Project management information system #

They include software that provides the company to track the dates. It helps with maintaining the track dates and how they are different from the actual dates.

Resource optimization #

It involves scheduling all the activities and resources that are required by the activities while taking care of resource availability and the project time.

Lead and lags #

This helps to find ways to bring project activities that are behind to move alongside the plan. Another tool Control schedule uses that follows the same method as leads and lags is Schedule compression. Which does the exact same thing as lead and lags but it includes fast-tracking or crashing the schedule to finish the remaining work.

Control Schedule Outputs #

Work performance information #

It contains information on the work performance of the project compared to the schedule baseline. The duration of the data can be calculated at the work package level and control account level.

Schedule forecasts #

It operates as a forecast of estimates or predictions of conditions and events based on the information available at that time. Usually, forecasts always get updated as new information comes in. The information will be based on past performance and predicted future performance.

Change Requests #

It can happen to schedule baseline, scope baseline, and other components of the project management plan. It goes through an integrated change control process before it gets applied.

Project Management Plan Updates #

Any changes that get made to the project management plan happens via change requests. The changes that can happen to the schedule management plan, schedule baseline, cost baseline, performance measurement baseline.

Project Documents Updates #

The documents may get updated in the duration of the project. The update can happen on the assumption log, the basis of estimates, lessons learned from the register, project schedule, resource calendars, risk register, schedule data.

Conclusion #

Each aspect of project schedule management helps keep track of the flow of the work that needs to be performed and various elements related to it that get executed in perfect order. The job is to finish the work before it hits the deadline. The work here needs to be running in perfect order, that never becomes the case without project schedule management. Making sure the project flows through the workdays without facing any sort of difficulties. If things take a turn for the worse, then the project schedule management will have data and information to update the plan and change the course of the actions.

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