Saturday 27 November 2021

Development of the project schedule

When planning the completion of any task, the traditional questions are:

"What to do?", "When?", "Who?", "What are the results?". 

And since the project activity includes a whole set of actions, the group of documents of the consolidated plan must necessarily contain a project schedule, which is also called a project schedule or calendar plan. 

In this article, we will look at the preparation steps and options for visually presenting this document.

Reflection of the project content in the schedule

We considered the stages of developing a schedule in the material on the technology of creating a project plan. The quality of creating a schedule depends on the implementation by the manager of a number of mandatory procedures, among which taking into account the main restrictions (in terms of content, time and resources) occupies a central place. The first step on this path is the planning of the content of the project as a certain set of services and products on the subject of the task. The content of the project is a rather sedative concept, which includes:

  • a descriptive part with a justification of the reasons for launching the event, as well as the opportunities that it carries;
  • goals and results of tasks at different levels of decomposition of the main result-product;
  • identified links of the project with the company's development strategy;
  • a variety of approaches to solving a unique project problem;
  • the project boundaries within which the product arises, the pm's authority and responsibility;
  • the product of the event;
  • basic requirements for the product and its parameters;
  • all possible assumptions and assumptions about the conditions of the project;
  • identified limitations;
  • performance criteria.

In this list, we will be interested, first of all, in planning the composition of works, for each of which results are established, responsible resources for the relevant tasks and deadlines. In other words, the entire sequence of tasks translated into the format of works leading to the result of the project should be summarized in a table or graph of a certain form, including the named parameters of the task nature.

We all know from the articles of our site that the tasks are the essence of the results as certain points in the future in the interpretation: achieved or not achieved. 

For tasks, the moment of the beginning of actions is not important, but the date of their final solution is important. Tasks are a static category, we translate them into a dynamic state of work, i.e. actions that have a beginning, an end, responsible persons and results. Let's recall the visual image of the procedural model of planning and determine the place in it of the development of the calendar plan.

The conditions for the implementation of the project are dictated by the content, a certain composition of the work, the identified relationships between them, the established duration of operations. But that's not all. 


Management at the time of implementation of the schedule is carried out taking into account the identified, assessed risk and the developed budget of the project. Among the group of meaningful processes for the development of a calendar schedule, in addition to the composition of the work, a number of other parameters are also important.

Clarification of work parameters

The definition of the composition of the work is carried out in order to obtain information about the entire complex of works on the project.

A set of full-fledged data on the composition of the planned operations is made. Planning the structure and composition of the project is related to its goals. It is based on the goals and the tasks arising from them that the team leader is determined with the necessary composition of work and the sequence of actions.

In this, he is helped by the method of decomposition, which can not be called simple. The manager has to tune in in a special way, be disciplined, focused on the rules and criteria of the partition. As a result, an intermediate document appears - the IMR (an example of the hierarchical structure of the work is given below).

The next parameter of the work is the level of their relationships. It also needs to be determined before the project implementation schedule is formed. Work relationship planning aims to establish, agree on, and document the sequence of operations. 

To perform this task, logical and mathematical algorithms for building a network model of the project are used. This takes into account the mutual connections not only between the works, but also between milestones. Other restrictions are also taken into account. 

The network diagram uses:

  • special types of interconnections between operations;
  • critical path method;
  • methods for calculating the duration of operations;
  • manage network graphics optimization.

Another parameter that precedes scheduling is the duration of the work. Solving the problem of the duration of operations serves as a clear understanding by the manager of what the total duration of the investment event will consist of. 


The management of this time resource is further based on the initial inventory of the projected events and activities. Moreover, models for solving any unique problem, as we know, can be an infinite number. 

It all depends on the creative message and past experience of the responsible resource, its ability to critically evaluate the alternatives to achieving the result and the associated risks. The key criteria, in addition to composition, consistency and relationships, are:

  • duration of work;
  • work to perform operations.

Estimating the duration and effort are also the responsibility of the PM. But in the context of task decomposition, the project manager as a director also has responsible resources in the face of team members and external contractors. 

Expert consultants are also involved in local solutions, bearing a slightly different responsibility for the proposals and recommendations put forward by them. 

Together, these participants must ensure an assessment of the duration of work and the required composition of the workforce. For the purposes of this article, we do not take into account a number of additional aspects of planning. 

This refers to the planning and assessment of the cost of work, risk, quality planning. They affect the project schedule indirectly, although they are no less important for the master plan than anything else.

Actual schedule

The schedule for the implementation of the project is developed in order to finally determine the estimated timing of the operations that are part of it, the total duration. 


At the same time, the final coordination with the participants and the approval of the schedule document should be ensured. It is the working mode of application of this document that predetermines the significance of its approval. The level of detail of the graph should be sufficient, but not excessive.

What does that mean?

If all previous documents (milestone plans, IMDs, network models, etc.) were preparatory in nature, then the schedule is a direct document of execution and control. No wonder the plan-fact analysis, monitoring and control of the progress of work are carried out on a regular basis on the basis of the schedule. 


The schedule performs a number of functions:

  • an administrative document prescribing the implementation of specific actions;
  • monitoring resource;
  • a document for control measures;
  • the basis for the decision to change the project plans.

Example of an electronic form of the project schedule

Above you can see an example of a project schedule made in the standard Microsoft Project application, which has a double form: tables and Gantt charts. Progress management can be carried out on the basis of schedules of different visual representations. Among these types are the following.

  • Table form.
  • Band chart.
  • Gantt chart (or Gantt).
  • Chart of control events (graph by milestones).
  • Time-scale network diagram.

Finally, we will look at another example of a schedule in the form of a table. This is the most common and working type of schedule design. The tabular form includes the main parameters of the work: the content of operations, the start and end dates, responsible persons, expected results, a note of performance. Project scheduling management does not end with a schedule. 


There are several iterations of adjusting the budget and the schedule dependent on it. The organizational structure is being developed, risks are assessed, deliveries and quality are planned. And only after that the plan is collected in a summary document.





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