5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 6: Schedule Management Plan

1. Introduction

The output of the first planning process in the Time Management Knowledge Area, Process 6.1 Plan Schedule Management is, unsurprisingly, the Schedule Management Plan.

What is surprising is that before the 5th Edition PMBOK® Guide, there was no time management process which covered the creation of this plan. It was considered to be done as part of the Integration Management knowledge area under the Develop Project Management Plan process. But somewhere along the line, those reviewing the PMBOK® Guide must have realized that the Project Management Plan integrates the existing subsidiary plans, all of which are encountered for in separate processes EXCEPT for those involving the three major triple constraints on a project: scope, time, cost.

So in the 5th Edition, they went and added in processes that created management plans in these three areas. It’s not that these plans were never created before, it’s just that now they have processes that are explicitly devoted to creating them.

2. Elements of Schedule Management Plan

The Schedule Management Plan sets up the framework for all of the other time management processes. So let’s look at the elements of the Schedule Management Plan and see what processes they are related to.

Element of Plan Description of Element
1. Organizational procedures links WBS is used as framework in order to provide consistency with estimates. 6.2 Define Activities
2. Project Model Schedule Development Specifies scheduling methodology and scheduling tool to be used. 6.3 Sequence Activities 6.6 Develop Schedule
3. Units of measure For each resource, units are defined. 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources
4. Level of accuracy Acceptable range of accuracy of activity duration estimates. 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations
5. Project schedule model maintenance Process used to update status and record progress. 6.7 Control Schedule
6. Control thresholds Amount of variance in schedule performance allowed before action is taken. 6.7 Control Schedule
7. Rules of performance measurement Earned value measurement (EVM) rules are set. 6.7 Control Schedule
8. Reporting formats Formats, frequency of schedule progress reports. 6.7 Control Schedule
9. Process descriptions Descriptions of each schedule management process. ALL

The idea is that the tools and techniques used in the developing of the schedule are specified, as well as the details regarding the units involved with each of the resources. Also the descriptions of the schedule management processes are included if one wants to work on improving them at some stage of the project. Regarding the estimates, you need to specify their level of accuracy (i.e., + or – 10%).

Finally, once the schedule baseline has been established, then you need to set up rules so that when you are actually doing the project, you can periodically take a measurement of the progress on your project with reference to that baseline. Then if the variance where you actually are and where you are supposed to be at any given point on the project gets to be above a pre-defined threshold, you need to set up what actions you will take in order to make sure the project gets back on track.

These policies, procedures, and guidelines that are followed in all of the other processes are listed up here in the Schedule Management Plan

The next post will deal with the next planning process, that of 6.2 Define Activities.


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