Building a Project Schedule: Key Inputs and Influences

Developing the Schedule is a critical process in Project Schedule Management, which involves synthesizing all the project's planned activities, durations, resources, and dependencies into a timeline that guides project execution and tracking.

This section discusses the various inputs required for developing a project schedule, including organizational process assets, enterprise environmental factors, the project management plan, project documents, and vendor agreements. These inputs provide the necessary details for building the schedule model, taking into account factors such as scheduling methodologies, industry standards, project deliverables, resource availability, and vendor commitments.

The process of developing the project schedule interacts with other project management processes in several ways. For instance, the project management plan, which is a key input in this process, is influenced by the project's scope, cost, and quality management processes. Similarly, the project documents used in this process are outputs of the project's planning processes. Ultimately, the project schedule that is developed guides the execution, monitoring, and control, and closure phases of the project, contributing to its successful completion.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the influence of organizational process assets and enterprise environmental factors on the Develop Schedule process.
  • Identify the key components of a project management plan and their role in constructing the schedule model.
  • Recognize the role of various project documents, including the assumption log and basis of estimates, in the project scheduling process.
  • Understand the importance of resource calendars, activity resource requirements, and risk register in developing the schedule model.
  • Recognize the role of vendors and their contractual commitments in influencing the project schedule.

Organizational Process Assets

In the realm of the Develop Schedule process, organizational process assets take center stage. These assets are a treasure trove of process-related artifacts, historical information, and organizational wisdom. They serve as a rich resource that can significantly influence the development of the project's schedule.

The scheduling methodology is a key organizational process asset that can influence the Develop Schedule process. This methodology includes policies governing schedule model development and maintenance. These policies provide a structured approach to schedule development, ensuring consistency and alignment with organizational standards. They guide how the schedule model is developed, updated, and maintained, thereby influencing the project's timeline and milestones.

Project calendars are another type of organizational process assets that can influence the Develop Schedule process. These calendars provide information on working days, shifts, holidays, and other time-related factors that can impact the project schedule. By considering these calendars during schedule development, project managers can ensure that the schedule is realistic and achievable.

To encapsulate, the understanding and strategic utilization of organizational process assets are pivotal for effective schedule development. These assets, akin to a lighthouse, provide insightful guidelines and valuable insights. They equip project managers with the tools needed to craft a comprehensive and realistic project schedule.

What are organizational process assets in the context of project schedule management?
  1. The physical resources required for the project
  2. The financial resources allocated for the project
  3. The policies, procedures, and knowledge bases specific to and used by the performing organization
  4. The human resources assigned to the project
C) The policies, procedures, and knowledge bases specific to and used by the performing organization

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Enterprise Environmental Factors

Enterprise environmental factors play a significant role in the Develop Schedule process of project schedule management. These factors encompass conditions, not under the immediate control of the team, that influence, constrain, or direct the project.

Government or industry standards are examples of enterprise environmental factors that can affect the Develop Schedule process. These standards may dictate specific timelines or milestones that must be met, influencing the overall project schedule. For instance, certain industries may have regulatory deadlines that must be incorporated into the project schedule.

Communication channels are another example of enterprise environmental factors that can impact the Develop Schedule process. The efficiency and effectiveness of these channels can influence how quickly and accurately schedule information is disseminated and coordinated among team members and stakeholders. Effective communication can lead to a more accurate and realistic project schedule, while poor communication can result in misunderstandings, delays, and inaccuracies.

Understanding the influence of these enterprise environmental factors is crucial for developing a realistic and achievable project schedule. By considering these factors, project managers can better anticipate potential challenges and plan accordingly to ensure successful project execution.

What is the role of enterprise environmental factors in the Develop Schedule process?
  1. They provide a detailed cost estimate of the project
  2. They influence the process of developing the project schedule
  3. They are used to track the project progress
  4. They are used to identify the project risks
B) They influence the process of developing the project schedule

Project Management Plan

Serving as the project's blueprint, the project management plan is a comprehensive document that navigates the execution, monitoring, and control of the project. It's a mosaic of various components, two of which are the schedule management plan and the scope baseline.

The schedule management plan is a component of the project management plan that outlines the methodology and tools to be used in creating the project schedule. It details how the schedule calculation is to be conducted, including the sequencing of activities, estimating their duration, and determining resource requirements. This plan is crucial in guiding the development of a realistic, comprehensive, and manageable project schedule.

The scope baseline, another component of the project management plan, includes the scope statement, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and WBS dictionary. These elements provide detailed information about the project deliverables.

The scope statement outlines what the project will achieve, detailing the deliverables, objectives, and boundaries. The Work Breakdown Structure is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team. The WBS dictionary provides additional information about each component in the WBS, including deliverables, activities, and resources.

In the process of crafting the schedule model, the scope baseline steps in, offering detailed insights about the project deliverables. This crucial step guarantees that the schedule is in harmony with the project's scope, thereby fostering effective project execution and control.

What is the primary purpose of the schedule management plan in project management?
  1. To provide a detailed cost estimate of the project
  2. To identify the scheduling method and tool used for creating the schedule
  3. To list all the stakeholders involved in a project
  4. To formally authorize a project and provide the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources
B) To identify the scheduling method and tool used for creating the schedule

Project Documents

Imagine you're a project manager tasked with building a new website for your company. To develop a project schedule, you'll need to rely heavily on project documents. These documents, such as activity attributes, activity list, and assumption log, play a crucial role in the development of the project schedule.

For instance, the activity list might detail the tasks required to build the website, such as designing the layout, writing the code, testing the site, and launching it. The activity attributes could include the estimated duration of each task, the resources required, and the sequence in which tasks need to be completed. The assumption log might contain information about any assumptions made during the planning process, such as the availability of certain resources or the time it takes to get approval for different stages of the project.

Activity attributes and the activity list contribute significantly to building the schedule model. Activity attributes provide detailed information about each activity, while the activity list identifies the activities to be included in the schedule model.

The assumption log records assumptions and constraints that may lead to individual project risks. These risks can impact the project schedule, making the assumption log a vital input in the scheduling process.

The basis of estimates and supporting documentation provide a clear understanding of how the duration estimate was derived. Duration estimates, which contain quantitative assessments of the likely number of work periods required to complete an activity, are used to calculate the project schedule.

Lessons learned earlier in the project can be applied to later phases to improve the validity of the schedule model. This iterative learning process helps enhance the accuracy and reliability of the schedule model.

The milestone list, project schedule network diagrams, and project team assignments also play key roles in the project scheduling process. The milestone list includes scheduled dates for specific milestones, while project schedule network diagrams contain the logical relationships of predecessors and successors. Project team assignments specify the resources assigned to each activity.

Resource calendars and activity resource requirements provide information on resource availability and requirements for the schedule model. Resource calendars contain information on when resources are available during the project, and activity resource requirements identify the types and quantities of resources required for each activity.

Reflecting on our website development project, the risk register, another critical project document, provides details of all identified risks and their characteristics that affect the schedule model. For example, a risk could be that a key team member might become unavailable, or there could be delays in approval processes.

Risk information relevant to the schedule is reflected in schedule reserves using the expected or mean risk impact. This practice helps ensure that the project schedule is robust and capable of accommodating potential risks, thereby ensuring the timely and successful completion of your website project.

Which project document provides the necessary details for building the schedule model?
  1. Activity attributes
  2. Assumption log
  3. Risk register
  4. Resource calendars
A) Activity attributes

Agreements

Imagine you're managing a project to build a new website for your company. You've contracted a vendor to design the user interface and another to handle the back-end development. In this scenario, these vendors play a significant role in the development of the project schedule.

Vendors are often responsible for delivering key components or services within a project. Their timelines and commitments, such as the time needed for the user interface design or the back-end development, can directly impact the overall project schedule.

The details of how vendors will perform the project work to meet contractual commitments can significantly influence the project schedule. These details may include the delivery dates of goods or services, the time required for installation or integration, and any other vendor-related activities that need to be incorporated into the project schedule.

For example, if a vendor is contracted to deliver a key component of the project, the delivery date will need to be factored into the project schedule. Any delays in delivery could impact the overall project timeline. Similarly, if a vendor is providing a service that is critical to the project, the time required for this service will need to be accounted for in the project schedule.

Reflecting on our website development project, it becomes clear that when developing the project schedule, it's important to consider the commitments made by vendors. This will ensure that the schedule is realistic and achievable.

For instance, if the user interface design vendor needs four weeks to complete their work, this must be accurately reflected in the project schedule. By doing so, you can ensure that the schedule accurately reflects all the work that needs to be done to complete the project, leading to a successful project outcome.

How can vendors contribute to the development of the project schedule?
  1. By providing financial resources for the project
  2. By influencing the project schedule through the details of how they will perform the project work to meet contractual commitments
  3. By authorizing the project charter
  4. By providing a detailed cost estimate of the project
B) By influencing the project schedule through the details of how they will perform the project work to meet contractual commitments