Regular readers will know that I’ve been doing a series called What’s New In the PMBOK Guide®-- Sixth Edition. Recently we’ve been looking at Project Resource Management. However, it’s been so long since the Sixth Edition came out that it doesn’t feel right to call these articles ‘What’s New’ any longer. So today we are carrying on the overview of the project management processes with Project Schedule Management but as a ‘deep dive’ instead.
Don’t worry, I’m still taking the same approach and calling out the differences between the current and previous versions.
The main difference, at Knowledge Area level, is that this section used to be called Project Time Management. Personally, I’m grateful that the name has been changed. Time management also makes me think of personal productivity, Pomodoro, timesheets and things like that. Schedule management is a title that speaks more specifically to the management of time as relates to project tasks.
Overall, this topic is all about getting a detailed plan that talks about how and when the project will achieve the outputs (whatever was set in the project scope). The schedule is the main output of the whole Knowledge Area and it’s helpful for managing expectations, communication and tracking and reporting progress.
So… let’s get started with a deep dive into the processes.
Plan Schedule Management Process
This is the first process in the Knowledge Area. We’re in the Planning process group.
This process is all about planning how you are going to make your plan. Yes, even creating a project schedule needs some effort in planning!
It feels like much of this process will be things you do automatically or don’t have much to plan for because the boundaries are set by your corporate processes and governance.
There’s actually no change in the inputs between the PMBOK Guide® -- Fifth Edition and Sixth Edition. The inputs are:
- Project management plan
- Project charter
- Enterprise environmental factors
- Organisational process assets.
No surprises, no real explanation needed.
Tools & Techniques
There is a small change here for this process. Analytical techniques has been removed and replaced with Data analysis.
It’s semantics really. Data analysis does give the impression of being broader, and more in line with the trend towards big data and data science. So what does ‘data analysis’ actually mean?
It can include a range of tools or techniques that allow you to dig into and analyse the data in a number of ways as they relate to producing a project schedule. For example:
- Deciding how often you should review your plan (I’m not sure this is data analysis – it feels more decision making to me – maybe if you base your decision on some kind of data it would count)
- Deciding on what schedule methodology to use (again, this doesn’t feel like ‘analysis’ – it’s more about making the best decision based on what corporate methods are in use and what you think would be the best fit for the project. If you can’t work it out yourself, you’ll get input from someone with more experience of the PMO. There’s not much analysis involved)
- The duration of waves, if you are going to do rolling wave analysis
- Deciding on how much detail to add into your schedule (I feel like I’ve made my point…)
The output hasn’t changed either. The output is a schedule management plan i.e. something that defines what form your schedule takes. How long waves (or sprints) will be, what methodology to use where you have a choice, what level is detail is required to manage the plan.
I don’t think I have ever worked on a project where I have produced a plan about how to manage my schedule. Generally, there might be a paragraph in the Project Initiation Document that says I’ll follow the corporate standards and that’s that. I expect there are some types of mega project where this type of planning for the plan is required, but if you have some experience managing projects and a low complexity project, you will probably be able to make those decisions intuitively and not need to justify yourself by writing a whole document about them. What do you think?
Next time I’ll be looking at Define Activities.
Pin this article for later: