Customer always wants things as of yesterday. There are always deadlines and a mad rush to get things ‘out of the door’ as soon as possible.
Indeed. Figuring out the tasks, which tasks are to be done first and which ones are done later, who is best suited to do them, how long will they take, how to ensure that time is not wasted between tasks, how do I pull things back when a task is delayed… these are all things on your mind when you manage a project.
I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.
– Louis E. Boone
Re-read the above paragraph from PMP Exam’s perspective –
“Figuring out the tasks (define project activities), which tasks are to be done first and which ones are done later (sequence all these activities considering dependencies), who and what is best suited to do them (estimate resources required for activity – people, equipment, server, etc), how long will they take (estimate duration of each activity), how to ensure that time is not wasted between tasks (develop a project schedule), how do I pull things back when a task is delayed (control changes to project schedule)… these are all things on your mind when you manage a project.”
Exam pointer> Exam requires you to remember the sequence of these processes. They follow a logical sequence, so it should be easy to remember them.
Time management activities are divided into project activities
- Planning How To Manage Schedule is the process to plan procedures for developing, and managing changes to project schedule. This process is introduced in PMBOK 5th edition. This is just planning, no real schedule related activity is done here. The focus of this project management activity is around preliminary decisions one must consider about creation and maintenance of project schedule.
- Defining Each Project Activity Required To Deliver Scope is the project management activity to identify specific tasks that produce deliverables.
- Sequencing These Identified Activities is the process to identify dependencies amongst these tasks without considering resource availability.
- Estimating Resources (People, equipment etc) is the project management activity to figure out all resources (people, servers, machinery, tools, equipment and so on) required for these tasks.
- Estimating Durations For These Activities is the project management activity to estimate how long each of the tasks take to execute, considering the availability and productivity of the resources estimated for this activity.
- Developing A Project Schedule is the project management activity to put all the above together and come up with a schedule, which can then be tracked to ensure that all tasks are completed on time. While developing schedule any discretionary dependencies between activities are determined based on resource availability. Therefore, if activity-B can be executed in parallel to activity-A but you have only one person on your team capable of performing both these activities, then you will put a dependency between these activities so activity-B can start only after activity-A is completed.
- Controlling Change To Project Schedule is the project management activity to figure out what to do when things go wrong with schedule, and how to bring them back on track
In smaller projects these are processes may be done together because scope is smaller and there is not much complexity and one person can do this work in relatively short span of time.
Schedule development overview
Process of developing schedule involves the following process –
- Selecting a scheduling method (such as critical path method or critical chain method), and a scheduling tool.
- Project specific data such as activity names, dependencies, estimates of its resources and duration are fed into this scheduling tool to develop a schedule model that is specific to the project.
- This project model is baselined.
- As project progresses its status is updated in the schedule, variations are noted and corrective or preventive actions are identified.
- Once approved by Perform integrated change control process, based on the impact of these actions on the schedule new baseline is created.
More details of schedule development method in Developing Project Schedule lesson.
The Plan To Manage Schedule should be in place before you start with any of project management activities in this domain knowledge segment. This plan talks about scheduling methodology and tool to be used, format and criteria for developing and controlling project schedule.
No doubt then that Managing Schedule is one of the most important areas where project managers spends most of their time on a daily basis.