Scheduling is often taken for granted as a routine well established procedure that would not justify a management plan of its own. Where simple projects are regularly performed this may well be the case although scheduling approaches should still be documented at an organisational or portfolio level and assured against this standard.
As more complex projects and programmes are undertaken, more thought should be given to the range of techniques available for both time scheduling and resource scheduling. This is particularly important where different parts of the work may need to use different techniques but still facilitate consolidation to produce high level schedules.
The introduction will describe the background to the work and make it clear how this document relates to other relevant documents, such as a scope management plan or policies of the host organisation, parent programme or portfolio.
- Roles and responsibilities
Allocation of responsibility for schedule management may range from the project manager in smaller projects to a dedicated team of specialists in a large programme or portfolio. This section of the management plan must clearly describe which roles have which responsibilities for schedule management. It will also show paths of escalation and communication within the P3 organisation structure.
- Information management
The criteria for successful schedule management that will be used in any assurance reviews will be described here.
Any expenditure attributable to schedule management should be noted here, such as purchase of scheduling software.
Schedules will include activity aimed at producing outputs, outcomes and benefits but may also include management activity for areas such as risk management and stakeholder management. Schedules can interface with all other aspects of P3 management and how cross-references will be handled should be explained here.
- Identify and estimate
Identification and estimating of items to be included in a schedule covers a wide range of production and managerial activity with different levels of complexity. The use of techniques to document activity (e.g. work breakdown structures) and estimating techniques for time and resource (e.g. comparative or analytical approaches) should all be specified here.
- Build model
Modelling can be as simple as a Gantt chart or as complex as probabilistic networks. The techniques and methods to be used are defined here including, where appropriate, how the outputs of different methods and techniques may be consolidated to produce an overall schedule for a complex piece of work.
Analysis may be as simple as the drafting of a linked bar chart or as complex as Monte Carlo analysis. The techniques and methods to be used are defined here including, where appropriate, how the outputs of different methods and techniques may be consolidated to produce an overall schedule for a complex piece of work.
If a schedule management plan does not exist this information should be covered by the stakeholder management plan.
Different modelling and scheduling techniques result in different types of output. Communication of the schedule is a key part of ensuring all members of the management team, delivery team and stakeholders have a common understanding of the progress and predicted performance of the work.
Reports should be carefully tailored to their recipients and be as consistent in approach as possible. How that will be achieved is defined here.