A project is performed within the boundary of three project constraints, i.e., scope, cost and time. Managing these constraints is crucial for the project success. Time is one of the most important project constraints since completing a project within time is the main parameter for project success. Some people may call time management as time control also, but this is not correct. Time cannot be controlled. It will keep flowing but all we can do is to manage our activities and complete them in such a way that the project may be completed within time. So what is project schedule management and how it can be done. Let us discuss more about Project Schedule management in this article.
What is Project Schedule Management?
Project schedule management or time management is scheduling and performing the project activities within the time allowed for a project so that the project may be completed within time. It is basically not about managing time but about managing the project activities within the timeframe of the project. In other words, time management is about allocating the project resources among project activities in such a manner that the project may be completed within time.
The Main Processes of Project Schedule Management
The main processes involved in the project schedule management are as follows:
Plan Schedule Management
This project involves establishment of all the policies, procedures and documentation required for the management of project schedule. This step acts as a roadmap for managing the project’s schedule during the entire process.
All the activities required to accomplish the end result are defined in this process. The easiest method to do this is, first break the entire project into milestones. Then these milestones are further divided into smaller activities so that each milestone may be achieved. The resulting list of all activities will be required to move on to next process.
Sequence Project Activities
This process helps the project team to keep all the activities in right order so that the end results are met using all the available resources efficiently. In this process all the project activities created in the earlier process are arranged in the right order. At the end of this process, you will have a view of the relationships between the project tasks.
As per the PMBOK® Guide, the output of this process is a network diagram which shows the interdependencies between the activities as well as the potential start and end dates of the activities. You can use your project management software to prepare a network diagram.
Estimate Activity Durations
In this process it is estimated that how much time each activity will take to happen. The resource availability and holidays are also taken into account to arrive at a realistic picture.
After estimating the activity durations, now it’s time to put them together and develop schedule for the project. This is one of the most complicated process of time management. You can take help of any project management software to develop the schedule.
The output of this process are project tools with the help of which, you can keep track on the schedule and control it. This process is crucial for completing the project on time but it is important to note that your schedule should be realistic.
Project Schedule Management is one of the nine knowledge areas of the project management which is very important for the success of any project. This knowledge area consists of six processes, i.e., plan schedule management, define activities, sequence activities, estimate activity durations & develop schedule. Using these processes help the project team, deliver the project within time.