Project schedule management is sub-part of project management, in which the project team and the project manager discuss and decide many aspects of project scheduling.

Usually, project schedule management includes the following:

Schedule Strategy

A strategy is created about how to create the schedule, how to manage it and who will manage it. The project manager decides many other things such as scheduling software to be used, how detailed the schedule needs to be and how it will be managed.

During the strategy development time, the project manager and the stakeholders decides on contents and types of graphical reports that will need to be created. The graphical reports could be in form of a gantt chart, histogram, spreadsheet or any other form that is required by the stakeholders.

Schedule maintenance method is decided, which includes the way how data of activity progress would be collected, and the method for updating activity progress in the scheduling software.

The project manager, the project team and the stakeholders together decide on many of these things and the project planning, monitoring and reporting is then happened based on that strategy

Schedule Planning

In this phase, the project schedule is created. It is a resource loaded schedule, which contains all the details about the resources assigned onto the activities, their rates, their availability, associated costs and manhours needed.

At start of the schedule planning, activities needed to complete the project work are determined. The Work breakdown structure (WBS) is also created to categorize the activities. The activities are added in the respective WBS elements. Then the activity duration, start/finish dates and relationships with other activities are also determined. Other information the schedule could have include activity notes, activity steps, activity constraints, etc.

Once the activities have been planned, the resources are then assigned onto the activities. The final outcome is called 'schedule model'. Typically, all this work is done in scheduling software such as Microsoft Project or Primavera software. These software also creates gantt chart to show graphically start and finish dates for every activity. This is often also called the gantt schedule or gantt chart schedule.

Schedule Monitoring and Controlling

Once the planning has been completed, the project enters in the schedule monitoring and controlling phase. In this phase of project schedule management, the actual progress of the activities is collected and updated on every activity, in the scheduling software. The actual progress of the activities include the actual start/finish date, actual duration, actual man hours used and actual money spent.

When the activity progress is entered in the schedule model, the activities are also monitored and controlled for any delays, cost overruns or any other issue. This monitoring could easily be done in scheduling software by showing the planned information and actual information, or by just showing the variance between what was planned and what actually happened. Earned Value Analysis is also used to more understand the project health and to forecast the cost and schedule for the remaining work.

Schedule Closeout

In this phase, the project if formally closed. The contracts are completed, the documents are archived, unpaid payments are made and all the administrative activities are closed. Finally, acceptance on project schedule is obtained from the stakeholders.

Schedule Communication Management

The project project information is communicated to the stakeholders. This is done by the same method (e.g. email, letter) which was decided in the schedule strategy phase. The communications include sending of gantt chart, activity details, resource histograms, etc. These include the planned schedule and the actual and variance information for the completed project.

For more detailed information on project strategy, planning, monitoring, controlling, closeout and communication management, see here.


Benefits of PMI - Scheduling Professional (SP) Certification

Tags: project schedule management, primavera software, planned schedule, scheduling software