Developing the Project Schedule

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The Develop Schedule process is the heart of the Planning process group. This is where you lay out the schedule for your project activities, determine their start and finish dates, and finalize activity sequences and durations. Develop Schedule, along with Estimate Activity Resources and Estimate Activity Durations, is repeated several times before you actually come up with the project schedule. Most project management software programs today can automatically build a schedule for you once you've entered the needed information for the activities. The project schedule, once it's approved, serves as the schedule baseline for the project that you can track against in later processes.

Remember that you cannot perform Develop Schedule until you have completed at least the following processes of the Planning process group: Col lect Requirements, Define Scope, Create WBS, Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Durations, and Develop Human Resource Plan. In practice, it's also beneficial to perform Identify Risks, Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses, and Plan Procurements prior to developing the schedule.

There is a lot of material to cover in this process, so grab a cup of coffee or a soda now. I'll start with the inputs to the Develop Schedule process and then follow up with an in-depth discussion of the tools and techniques of the process. These techniques will help you get to the primary output of this process, which is the project schedule.

Develop Schedule has nine inputs, seven of which are outputs from other Planning processes. The inputs are as follows:

■ Activity list

■ Activity attributes

■ Project schedule network diagrams

■ Activity resource requirements

■ Resource calendars

■ Activity duration estimates

■ Project scope statement

■ Enterprise environmental factors

■ Organizational process assets

You can see how important it is to perform all the Planning processes accurately because the information you derive from almost every process in the Planning group is used somewhere else in Planning, many of them here. Your project schedule will reflect the information you know at this point in time. If you have incorrectly estimated activity durations or didn't identify the right dependencies, for example, the inputs to this process will be distorted and your project schedule will not be correct. It's definitely worth the investment of time to correctly plan your project and come up with accurate outputs for each of the Planning processes.

As with several other processes, you should pay particular attention to constraints and assumptions when performing Develop Schedule. Constraints are with you throughout the life of the project. The most important constraints to consider in the Develop Schedule process are time constraints, and they fall into two categories, imposed dates and key events/ major milestones.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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