Navigating Schedule Adjustments: Outputs of Schedule Control

Control Schedule is a critical process within Project Schedule Management, focusing on the outputs that result from monitoring and controlling the project schedule.

This section explores the outputs of the control schedule process, including change requests, schedule forecasts, updates to the project management plan, work performance information, and updates to project documents. These outputs provide valuable insights into the project's progress, performance against the schedule baseline, and potential changes that may be required to keep the project on track.

The control schedule process interacts with other project management processes in several ways. For instance, the change requests generated during this process are processed through the Perform Integrated Change Control process, demonstrating the interconnectedness of project management processes. Similarly, the work performance information and schedule forecasts generated during this process can inform decision-making in areas such as cost management, resource management, and risk management. Ultimately, effective schedule control contributes to the successful completion of the project, ensuring that deliverables are completed within the agreed timeframe.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the process of reviewing and processing change requests, including the organization's change control process and its application to the project management plan.
  • Recognize the role of work performance information in updating forecasts, comparing project work performance to the schedule baseline, and in work performance reports.
  • Understand the reasons for changes and updates to the schedule management plan, schedule baseline, cost baseline, and performance measurement baseline.
  • Recognize the importance of updating project documents, including the assumption log, basis of estimates, lessons learned register, and resource calendars.
  • Understand the process of developing new project schedule network diagrams and the potential need for a new target schedule in severe cases of project schedule delays.

Change Requests

I recall a time when I was managing a large-scale infrastructure project. We were halfway through the project when we started noticing discrepancies between our planned and actual progress. This was my first real encounter with the concept of schedule variance analysis in project schedule management.

In this process, we would review our progress reports and conduct a thorough analysis of the variances in our schedule. These activities were integral to the Control Schedule process. Often, these variances would lead to change requests to the schedule baseline, scope baseline, and other components of the project management plan.

Change requests are formal proposals to modify any aspect of the project. They can arise from various sources, including performance measures and modifications to the project scope or schedule. For instance, if a project is consistently missing its schedule targets, a change request might be submitted to adjust the schedule baseline or modify the project's scope.

Once a change request is submitted, it is reviewed and processed through the Perform Integrated Change Control process. This process ensures that all changes are thoroughly evaluated for their potential impact on the project before they are approved or rejected.

Preventive actions are another type of change request. These are recommended changes aimed at eliminating or reducing the likelihood of negative schedule variances. For example, if a project is at risk of falling behind schedule, a preventive action might be to add additional resources to speed up progress.

In conclusion, change requests are a vital output of the Control Schedule process. They serve as a formal mechanism for adjusting the project's schedule and scope in response to variances and performance issues.

Reflecting on my experience with the infrastructure project, I can attest to the importance of change requests. They were instrumental in helping us adjust our project plan in response to the variances we identified, ensuring that we stayed on track towards our project goals. This experience underscored the critical role of variance analysis and change requests in effective project schedule management.

What can lead to change requests in the project schedule?
  1. Schedule variance analysis and reviews of progress reports
  2. The initial project planning phase
  3. The completion of the project
  4. The project initiation phase
A) Schedule variance analysis and reviews of progress reports

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Schedule Forecasts

I recall a time when I was managing a large-scale infrastructure project. The project was complex, with multiple teams working simultaneously on different aspects. One of the most challenging tasks was keeping track of the project schedule and making necessary adjustments as we progressed.

In this scenario, schedule updates became our guiding light. These crucial outputs of the Control Schedule process served as our forecasts, predicting future conditions and events in the project based on the information and knowledge we had at the time. These updates were not just a record of our progress, but a tool that provided valuable insights into potential challenges, enabling us to manage proactively and make informed decisions.

Work performance information plays a key role in updating and reissuing forecasts as the project progresses. This information includes data on the project's past performance and anticipated future performance, taking into account any corrective or preventive actions. By analyzing this information, project managers can adjust the schedule to reflect the current state of the project and anticipate potential issues.

Earned value performance indicators are often included in the information for schedule updates. These indicators, such as Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and Schedule Variance (SV), provide quantitative measures of the project's schedule performance. They can help identify trends and predict future performance, contributing to more accurate schedule forecasts.

In addition to the regular updates, we also included schedule reserve information in our schedule updates. These reserves, also known as buffers, were periods of time we set aside to address potential delays or risks in the project. Including this information in our schedule updates helped us anticipate potential impacts on the project's timeline and plan accordingly.

Reflecting on that infrastructure project, I can see how the schedule updates, complete with reserve information, played a pivotal role in our project management. They allowed us to forecast future conditions, anticipate challenges, and keep the project on track, reinforcing the importance of schedule forecasts in project schedule management.

What is the primary purpose of schedule forecasts in project management?
  1. To provide a detailed cost estimate of the project
  2. To predict future conditions and events in the project
  3. To provide a detailed schedule of all project activities
  4. To list all the stakeholders involved in a project
B) To predict future conditions and events in the project

Project Management Plan Updates

The control schedule process in project management involves managing changes to the project schedule. Any changes to the project management plan, including the schedule management plan, schedule baseline, cost baseline, and performance measurement baseline, must go through the organization's change control process via a change request.

The schedule management plan may be updated to reflect changes in the management of the schedule. This could be due to changes in project scope, resources, or activity duration estimates. Changes to the schedule baseline are made in response to approved change requests. These changes could also be due to schedule compression techniques or performance issues.

The cost baseline is another component of the project management plan that may require updates. Changes to the cost baseline are made in response to approved changes in scope, resources, or cost estimates. These changes ensure that the cost baseline remains accurate and relevant throughout the project lifecycle.

The performance measurement baseline is also subject to changes. These changes are made in response to approved changes in scope, schedule performance, or cost estimates. In severe cases of performance variances, a change request may be made to revise the performance measurement baseline to provide a realistic basis for performance measurement.

Understanding the change control process and its application to the project management plan is crucial for effective project schedule management. It ensures that all changes are properly evaluated, approved, and implemented, maintaining the integrity of the project schedule and other project baselines.

What triggers a change request in the project management plan?
  1. Regular project meetings
  2. Changes in project scope, resources, or activity duration estimates
  3. The need for schedule compression techniques
  4. Routine project status updates
B) Changes in project scope, resources, or activity duration estimates

Work Performance Information

Work performance information plays a crucial role in the Control Schedule process. It provides data on the project work's performance in relation to the schedule baseline, allowing project managers to assess whether the project is on track.

Variations in the start and finish dates and durations can be calculated at both the work package level and control account level. These calculations help identify any deviations from the planned schedule, enabling timely corrective actions.

For projects that use earned value analysis, the Schedule Variance (SV) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI) are key metrics. SV measures the difference between the earned value (EV) and the planned value (PV), indicating whether the project is ahead or behind schedule. SPI, on the other hand, is the ratio of EV to PV, providing a measure of schedule efficiency.

Both SV and SPI are included in work performance reports. These reports provide a comprehensive view of the project's schedule performance, helping stakeholders understand the project's progress and make informed decisions.

What is the primary purpose of work performance information in project schedule management?
  1. To provide data on the project work's performance in relation to the schedule baseline
  2. To calculate the cost variance and cost performance index
  3. To provide a detailed cost estimate of the project
  4. To record new assumptions or constraints identified during the process
A) To provide data on the project work's performance in relation to the schedule baseline

Project Documents Updates

I recall a time when I was managing a large-scale infrastructure project. We were on a tight schedule, and everything seemed to be going smoothly until we encountered an unexpected geological issue. This unforeseen challenge threw our project schedule off balance and necessitated a reevaluation of our timeline.

In such situations, controlling the project schedule becomes a critical task. It often requires updates to various project documents. These updates, as I learned, are not just administrative tasks but crucial steps that reflect changes in the project's timeline. They ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page with accurate, up-to-date information.

The assumption log, which contains assumptions about activity sequencing, durations, and productivity, may need to be revised based on schedule performance. If the project is not progressing as expected, it may indicate that some assumptions were incorrect and need to be updated.

Similarly, schedule performance may indicate a need to revise the basis of estimates, particularly how duration estimates were developed. If tasks are taking longer than expected, it may be necessary to adjust the estimates for future tasks.

The lessons learned register can also be updated during the control schedule process. This document can be updated with effective techniques in maintaining the schedule, causes of variances, and corrective actions used to respond to schedule variances. These updates can provide valuable insights for future projects.

An updated project schedule will be generated from the schedule model populated with updated schedule data to reflect schedule changes and manage the project. This updated schedule provides a current view of the project's timeline, helping stakeholders understand the project's progress and expected completion date.

Resource calendars may also need to be updated to reflect changes in the utilization of resources due to optimizing resources, schedule compression, and corrective or preventive actions. These updates ensure that resources are allocated effectively and efficiently.

The risk register and risk response plans may be updated based on risks that may arise due to schedule compression techniques. These updates help ensure that the project team is prepared to address any potential risks that could impact the project's timeline.

New project schedule network diagrams may be developed to display approved remaining durations and approved modifications to the schedule. These diagrams provide a visual representation of the project's timeline, making it easier for stakeholders to understand the project's progress and any changes to the schedule.

In extreme cases, like the one we faced in our infrastructure project, significant project schedule delays may require a new target schedule with forecasted start and finish dates. This new schedule offers a more realistic view of the project's timeline, helping stakeholders adjust their expectations and plans accordingly.

Looking back at that infrastructure project, the experience underscored the importance of updating project documents in response to changes in the project schedule. It was a lesson in the dynamic nature of project management and the need for flexibility and adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges.

Which of the following project documents may need to be updated based on schedule performance?
  1. Assumption log
  2. Project charter
  3. Project management plan
  4. Stakeholder register
A) Assumption log