Schedule management plan is yet another important and integral part of the overall project planning. In the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide published by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the plan for schedule management in not identified as an individual entity of the scheduling process. However, it is considered as a part of the Develop Project Management Plan process.
When creating a schedule management plan, you need to consider the methodology you need to use for creating the plan. At times, an organization has a well defined methodology that a project manager must use to start creating a schedule management plan. These predefined methodologies usually form a part of the organizational process assets. After you have decided on the methodology to be used to create a project management plan, you need to decide on the tools you should be using to create the plan. Again, as a part of the organizational process assets, the organizations might have an approved set of tools that the project management team is expected to use to create a schedule management plan. Another important aspect of creating a schedule management plan that you must consider is to decide on how you intend to manage and control the project schedule.
When creating a schedule management plan, you should include the following components:
- The scheduling methodology that you intend to use to create the schedule management plan
- The scheduling software that you intend to use to create the project schedule
- An established schedule baseline that you would use to measure actual time lines against it when monitoring and controlling the project schedule
- Performance measures that must be used to monitor and control the project and identify the variance well in advance
- Plan for managing the schedule variances
- Definition of the procedure for schedule change control
It is a must that you create a schedule management plan that suits the project execution policy of the organization. The project execution policy can include the requirement to safeguard costs incurred due to time, control the overall budget of the project, control for the change management, control on the resources, comprehensive management usage, coordination and control between the owner and third party, predicting and projecting project status accurately, documentation, and avoiding claims from the customer. The main objective of creating a schedule management plan is to develop an organized and focused project schedule.
Creating a schedule management plan makes sure that you develop a project schedule that is a result of a process with a great consideration of the overall prevailing conditions. Such a project schedule management plan considers the organizational structure and results in an efficient schedule.
Difference between a Project Schedule Management Plan and Project Schedule
It is common that there is a confusion between a project schedule management plan and project schedule. Many a times, these are considered to be the same. However, this is not true. There is a subtle difference between the two.
Creating a schedule management plan consists of the efforts you put in planning and designing a project schedule. It also includes the efforts you put in identifying and defining the end user, designing reports, identifying the work breakdown structure, identifying the activities, defining the frequency at which you can update the project details, and the level of details required for developing the project schedule. It also includes your decision to use bottom up or top down approach that you should be taking to develop the schedule.
On the other hand, developing a project schedule refers to the development of the baseline schedule for the project. Development of the project schedule is directly related to the project schedule management plan. The better is the project schedule management plan, better is the development of the project schedule.