6.2 Processes of Project Schedule Management

Figure 6.2 Project Schedule Management Overview


Retrieved From: (“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® GUIDE) Sixth Edition”, 2017)

6.2.1 Plan Schedule Management

Plan schedule management denotes the process involving establishing policies, procedures, and documentation needed for the planning, development, management, execution, and control of the project schedule. The main advantage of this process is that it facilitates the direction and guidance of managing the project schedule. Often, this stage is performed once or at pre-selected points within the project. The plan schedule management establishes the following:

  • Project schedule model and its development;
  • The length of release and iteration
  • The level of accuracy
  • The units of measure
  • Link to the organizational procedure 
  • The maintenance model of the project schedule
  • Control thresholds
  • The rules of performance measurements such as the Earned Value Management (EVM Rule)

6.2.2 Definition of Activities

Notably, the project schedule must define activities to be accomplished during the project duration. Therefore, the definition of activities denotes the identification and documentation process where various the specified actions that are to yield the project deliverables are identified and documented (Zareei, 2018). The stage helps in the decomposition of work packages where they are put into schedule activities, thereby facilitating estimation, scheduling, execution, monitoring, and control of the project work. Unlike the plan schedule management process, the definition of activities is executed throughout the project. It also encompasses tools, techniques, and inputs that aid in the accomplishment of this process. For instance, the inputs include the project management plan, the enterprise environmental factors, and its process assets. On the other hand, the tools and techniques encompass the decomposition of work packages, project meetings, and expert judgment. 

6.2.3 Sequence Activities

Sequencing activities denote the identification and documentation relationships between various project activities. The process helps in defining the logical sequence of work within the project. In turn, it facilitates the attainment of project efficacy regardless of the project constraints (Chen, Demeulemeester, & Bai, 2018). The sequencing of activities in project management is often carried out throughout the project duration. This is particularly necessary since the project schedule needs to have a logical sequence throughout the project duration, thereby facilitating efficacy and productivity. Every project activity except the first activity and the last activity must be connected or otherwise interrelated to at least one predecessor and successor activities. However, the correlation should be not only logical but also realistic. Since the sequencing of activity is crucial to attaining the achievable and realistic project schedule, it is vital to employ the use of lead or lag time. In addition to that, the sequencing process may be carried out through the use of project management software or by employing automated or manual approaches. It is mainly because this process major on the conversion of project activities into the formation of a schedule baseline. 

6.2.4 Estimating Activity Durations

The estimation of activity duration is crucial in ensuring the activity’s timely accomplishment and the overall project. The process refers to estimating the number of work periods necessitated completing a given activity using the allotted resources. The main advantage of the process is the provision of the duration (amount of time) in which each activity will complete its obligation. Estimating the activity duration is crucial throughout the project. Lack thereof maintenance or facilitation of this process throughout the project would lead to the development of various issues, including time deficits where a given activity takes an extended time to be completed. 

Figure 6.3 Example of the Estimate Activity Duration


Retrieved From: (“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® GUIDE) Sixth Edition”, 2017)

Consequently, the estimation of activity duration employs data from the project scope and work scope, available resources, labor, and resource calendars. However, other factors may otherwise influence the estimation of activity duration. For instance, factors such as the type of resources, various imposed constraints, and the schedule network evaluation approach may affect this process. Besides that, the duration estimate for each activity must be progressively elaborated since it reflects on the availability and quality of the input data. For instance, when the input data provides detailed and precise information regarding the design of the project and its engineering, there is an improvement in the duration estimate’s quality and accuracy. There are two vital processes required in the estimation of activity duration. 

The estimate of the work effort amount necessitated completing a given activity

The estimated amount of the available resources that can successfully and effectively complete the activity

The two estimate processes are crucial in approximating the number of work periods or the activity duration necessitated completing a given activity. However, this must also be under the defined resource calendar. In most cases, the number of resources, resource availability, and skill proficiency of the resources determine the duration of a given duration. It is mainly because changes in these facets may affect the activity duration since they have a linear relationship. Nevertheless, other factors such as the work’s intrinsic nature, including various duration constraints, effort, and allotted resources, may also predetermine the activity duration irrespective of the resource allocation will employ a predetermined duration to complete irrespective of the resource allocation (Trojanowska & Dostatni, 2017). A good  example of this is the 24-hour stress test that aids in the estimation of various activities. Other factors that must be considered during the duration estimation the law of diminishing returns, the number of resources, advancements in technologies, and staff motivation. For instance, the law of diminishing returns evaluates the relationship between factors where one factor’s work unit increases while the other factors remain fixed. The Project Management Institute supports this by stating that “When one factor (e.g., resource) used to determine the effort required to produce a unit of work is increased while all other factors remain fixed, a point will eventually be reached at which additions of that one factor start to yield progressively smaller or diminishing increases in output” (“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® GUIDE) Sixth Edition”, 2017, p.197). Therefore, this shows the law of diminishing returns. 

6.2.5 Developing a Schedule

The schedule development denotes the analysis of the activity sequence, resource requirements, time duration, and the various scheduling constraints. The process is particularly beneficial because it facilitates the generation of a schedule model with the pre-planned dates that help complete project activities. The development of the project is necessary throughout the project since it is a repetitive or iterative process. It determines the initiation and completion date for various project activities and milestones. However, depending on the project, the schedule development may necessitate a revision or review of the duration and resource estimates, thereby establishing an approved project schedule that acts as a baseline for tracking progress. 

6.2.6 Controlling the Schedule

Lastly, controlling the schedule involves monitoring the project status, thereby facilitating the project schedule’s update and management of necessary changes to the project baseline. Therefore, its main benefit is the maintenance of the schedule baseline throughout the project. It implies that it is a continuous process that is carried out throughout the project duration. The schedule control also encompasses the update of the schedule model. Updating will help the project manager know the actual performance of the project activities and deliverables to date. Any changes made during the update must attain the Perform Integrated Change Control Process’s approval that involves the following processes defined in the PMBOK Guide. 

  • Determining the current status of the project schedule
  • Influencing the factors that create schedule changes
  • Reconsidering necessary schedule reserves
  • Determining if the project schedule has changed
  • Managing the actual changes as they occur (“A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® GUIDE) Sixth Edition”, 2017)
Emmanuel Addo

Emmanuel Addo is the founder of the Young Global Leaders Network, an international non-governmental organization registered in six (6) countries namely, Ghana, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan and has a membership strength of over 15,000 young black professionals, students, graduates, and aspiring leaders.

The organization also operates in 25 other African countries. Emmanuel also doubles as the chief convener and founder of the Young African Leaders Summit, one of the largest continental youth summits in Africa.  

Currently works at Kingston University as a Business Engagement Team Member in their Partnerships and Engagement Department. 

He characterizes energy, integrity, result-oriented, and ground-breaking service in each detail of strategic management, change management, stakeholder management, and leadership acquaintances.
Emmanuel owns a core background in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Ghana.

Leveraging his experience as a youth activist and a dynamic young man, Emmanuel founded the Young Global Leaders Network, a youth organization that comprises young diplomats, young politicians, and aspiring politicians, business/entrepreneurial business leaders with the aim of championing a mutual agenda for the African youth and promoting youth participation in governance as well as promoting entrepreneurial culture.
Emmanuel nurtures an environment of teamwork and has expertise in data collection and analysis as well as both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Emmanuel worked as an Associate Lecturer at the London College of Advanced Management where he delivered a wide range of business management courses that involved principles of marketing, leadership, operation management, and research methods. Emmanuel has always maintained high teaching and learning standards to ensure that his students’ stand out in academic achievements and successful progression. As a stout believer and passionate key player in volunteering; Emmanuel creates quality time to giving back gladly to his community what he has learned and to educate individuals with free consultancy on career development. He is a leader anyone would love to look up to and with great integrity, commitment, and passion to make the world a better place.
Emmanuel worked as Qualifications Manager at the Open University in the UK.

Emmanuel is also the founder of Kickstart Innovation Hub Ltd, the entrepreneurial hub of Young Global Leaders Network.