5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 6: Controlling Schedule through Performance Reviews

One of the tools & techniques used in process 6.7 Control Schedule is that of reviewing the actual performance on the project to the performance baseline. There are four methods used to do this, which are summarized in the chart below.

Method Explanation
1. Trend Analysis Compares project performance over time: is performance improving or deteriorating?
2. Critical Path Method Monitoring progress on activities that are on the critical path can help determine schedule status; monitoring progress that are on near-critical paths can help identify possible risks to the schedule.
3. Critical Chain Method Monitoring the amount of buffer remaining versus the amount of buffer set up in the planning process.
4. Earned Value Measurement The work performance data is used to calculate the schedule variance (SV) and the schedule performance index (SPI). If a variance with the schedule baseline is detected, the cause should be determined and corrective action taken to reduce that variance.

Of course, the description in the PMBOK® Guide of trend analysis begs the question, how do you measure that project performance? One of the most common ways is through earned value measurement, which is method 4 on the list.

Method 2, the critical path method, was covered in the posts on process 6.6 Develop Schedule. The critical path is identified in that planning process, and monitored during this monitoring and controlling process.

Likewise, with method 3, the critical chain method, the schedule buffers are set up in the planning process, and monitored during this monitoring and controlling process.

The main method of monitoring and controlling the schedule is method 4, earned value measurement. This is treated by the PMBOK® Guide in more detail in chapter 7, on Cost Management.

The important thing to remember is that these tools are used to measure (monitor) performance, and then action (corrective or preventive) may be taken based on the results.   Just like the critical path method and the critical chain method, many of the other tools & techniques used in setting up the schedule, can be used to also monitor and control it as well. That is the subject of the next post.

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