A Schedule Management Process Plan is an important part of Project Management, and something anybody taking the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification exam by the PMI should understand. When taking a PMP course a key component usually covered is Project Time Management, which the “Plan Schedule Management Process” falls under.
The PMI (or Project Management Institute) requires any candidate taking the PMP exam to obtain 35 hours of PMP education, taking an online course to help you study for the PMP exam and obtaining these hours is therefore recommended. The Plan Schedule Management Process will be covered extensively in any quality course. A reminder to be sure that any PMP exam prep course qualifies you for the required 35 hours of project management education.
This article will briefly discuss what a Schedule Management Process Plan is, what is its purpose, and what to include in it.
What is The Plan Schedule Management Process?
The Schedule Management Process Plan is a time management process that project managers use to keep projects in the needed time frame, not running over with delays or unexpected issues, and provide the resources and organizational structure and steps to correct them if they come up, affecting time projections or expected dates of results. The Schedule Management Process plan organizes project times, sets firm procedures, plans and policies to keep control and provide the guidance on what to do should the project fall behind schedule, along with documentation on the plan, development, management and final execution of the project plan schedule.
Its major output is a Schedule Management Plan. This plan pre-identifies and guides the plan and process for what to do in case of time variances. For instance in App development, should a developer become sick, the schedule management process plan shall include guidelines on how to correct the affected time and restore the project’s timeframe as close as possible to the estimated and projected baseline time.
To Plan a Schedule Management Process, a Project Manager must first project and determine the time each deliverable and activity will take in a project plus the resources allocated to it. These should be as accurate as possible, but 100% accuracy is unlikely and often the actual time will be different to the projection – This is why the Plan Schedule Management Process is so important, as it outlines and guides the action(s) to take when the time expected and the time being took to complete the various parts of a project are not in line with each other.
Solutions to FAQs asked about Project Management Schedules
The schedule management plan is used to solve the following issues:
- How do I create the schedule for a project?
- What tools can I use for the schedule?
- How do I plan the schedule of a project?
- How do I manage the time aspect of a project?
- How do I control time variances?
Taking a PMP Course will help you understand all of these issues and how the Schedule Management Process Plan helps to keep a project on track.
How do I create the schedule for a project?
You will learn the process needed to develop the project schedule with the Project Schedule Plan Process. E.G. decide how to determine project activities, how to assign resources to tasks, how to estimate effort/time, and which scheduling approach to apply.
What tools can I use for the schedule?
Many companies will have existing tools and software they use for project management, including systems for Time Projections, Quality Assurance, Communications, Technical Support, etc. These tools must be included in the Schedule Management Plan as they will be core understandings of how the project will progress.
How do I plan the schedule of a project?
The schedule management plan process involves deciding upon activities that will be taken in the project, allocating the various resources to these activities, estimating the time and effort each activity takes, planning the timeline for activities and of course, finalizing the actual schedule for the project.
How do I manage the time of a project?
After the schedule has been developed, a baseline for the time must be determined and scheduled. This will be the foundation for your project management decisions when it comes to actions that may need to be taken throughout the project.
How do I control time variances?
Having established a baseline During your Plan Schedule Management Process, you will be able to determine if a project is ahead of schedule or being delayed. Knowing this info is key in controlling time variances, and the schedule management plan will hold the key guidelines on what to do should aspects of the project be affecting the timeline.
What is part of a Schedule Management Plan?
The Schedule Management Plan is the key output in the Schedule Management Process, and it must contain a number of items to be fully utilized.
These are the following:
Scheduling methods and software
An important part of scheduling is knowing the methodology and software that will be utilized to accomplish the goals of the project. For example, if the project will follow the methodology of the critical path to project the duration of the project, that methodology must be explicitly described to the schedule management plan.
Likewise, the project management software that is used should also be included and documented, for example Microsoft Project is often used as a scheduling tool and should the project be using it, it must be explicitly named and added to the project management plan documentation.
Establishing the baseline
We use the schedule baseline as a foundational aspect of project management scheduling, so it’s important to establish as accurately as possible as projects will often refer back to this variable. The baseline is used when determining if the project is on schedule and proceeding as planned in order to be completed before the deadline.
Identification of performance measures to identify variances early
Identifying problems early is key to keeping their negative impact at a minimum, as such a process that will measure the performance of the project must be developed and included in the Schedule Management Plan. Along with this, the methodology of the process, how performance is measured, how often it should be included and other needed aspects should be explained within the plan.
Plan for how to deal with schedule variances
The schedule management process must include the structure and plan on how to react to delays in the project’s schedule. For example, backup support staff that can be called on to fill in the roles of somebody active within the project gets sick and can no longer complete their deliverables or additional budget that can be used in case of emergencies to obtain and allocate needed resources to fast track the project to ensure it remains on time.
Schedule Changes – How to identify and control this process.
Planning for changes in the schedule is a required part of the Schedule Management Process and Schedule Management Plan Output. The process and procedures needed to be observed should the schedule need to be changed mid-project should be prepared in the Schedule Management Process Plan to ensure changes are made correctly and efficiently, minimizing any negative effects the change would otherwise have and providing the steps somebody would need to follow to request a change in the schedule.
Measurement of schedule performance
The manner in which a project’s schedule’s performance is measured and how to determine how well it is performing against the baseline, plus the frequency of its analysis must be included in the Schedule Management Plan. Listing the metrics that will be analyzed and the tools that are utilized to determine the project’s schedule performance must also be included in the plan. Whether you plan to measure and evaluate the project weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly must be described in the plan.
Guidelines on how estimates should be stated
Effort estimates must be planned in advance, with a language and metric system explained in the plan that can be assigned to effort. So that reports and projections can be completed accurately and coherently, the specific metric and language that effort will be assigned to via a metric must be documented in the plan.
The schedule management plan must set and describe the various thresholds for how much variance can occur from the baseline. When analyzing the measurements of the project’s schedule, a performance index can be used to determine whether the project is behind or ahead of schedule. The variance threshold, therefore, is what is used to warn of and initiate the process of actions to solve the issue(s) and restore the project to schedule.
The types of reports that will be used in the schedule must be included in the Schedule Management Plan. This includes how it will be collated, measured, and displayed, for example with activity lists, Gant charts, bar charts, network diagrams, or other systems of reports. All of these must be explained and listed in the Schedule Management Plan.
We’ve discussed what you need to consider during the Schedule Management Process, the importance of its output; the Schedule Management Plan, and how this helps a project to succeed. To learn how to create a Schedule Management Plan in full, Brain Sensei offers a fully self-paced online PMP course plus live virtual PMP courses with instructors. Both of these go over the topic in full and will help you obtain a firm and complete grasp of the subject in order to pass the PMP exam.