Scheduling Policies & Procedures for Project Management

Instructor: Darlisha Oliver

Darlisha has a Master of Science degree in Accounting

Effective project management requires that you practice good time management skills. The project schedule ensures the effective and efficient completion of the project. Let's take a look the elements of establishing scheduling policies and procedures, and why they are beneficial to the project management process.

The Significance of Scheduling Policies and Procedures in Project Management

Organizations of all sizes administer projects requiring input from many sources and departments. Integrated management plans are established to ensure the efficient use of the project's resources and timely completion of the project. Included in the integrated management plan is the project schedule. The project schedule defines the activities and tasks that need to be performed in order to achieve the goals of the project. However, the project schedule is not drafted by simply listing out the activities that will be performed throughout the course of the project. Effective project managers develop and abide by scheduling policies and procedures, known as a schedule management plan (SMP), when establishing the project schedule. In actuality, developing the project schedule is a project in itself. The purpose of the project schedule is to provide guidance on how and when the tasks and activities will take place. The schedule management plan makes sure the project schedule is well organized, effective, and an all inclusive procedure that provides a detailed guide on administering project activities.

Elements of the Schedule Management Plan

Ashley is the project manager at Micros Appliances. She is responsible for developing a schedule management plan prior to creating the project schedule for the production of a new energy efficient washer/dryer combination appliance. Before drafting the SMP, Ashley needs to think about what she wants to achieve by developing the project schedule. Does the she just simply want to define the series of activities or is the purpose of the schedule to ensure completion within a certain time frame? The purpose of the project and intended goal of the schedule must be established prior to completing the SMP. Once, the purpose of the schedule is clearly defined, the SMP is to be developed with this purpose in mind. The essential elements of the SMP include:

  • Project Dates
  • Scope of Work
  • Risk Factors
  • Series of Project Activities
  • Team Member Roles and Responsibilities
  • Resources and Procurement

Now that we have determined the essential elements of the SMP, let's walk ashley through the development process.

Project Date

The very first thing Ashley should include in the SMP should define is the project's start date and end date. It is important to understand the anticipated length of time it will take to administer the project. This is a very important input in developing the project schedule.

Scope of Work

Next, she needs to include describe the planned activities and tasks to be completed throughout the course of the project in the scope of work. In this section, Ashley will briefly explain the overall tasks that will tie directly to the series of project activities discussed in a later section of the SMP. Will the new appliance be more efficient than the previous version? Will it be more compact? Will it perform faster or have a more attractive design using upgraded materials? The SMP should define the process for determining the main objectives of the project and how this information will be used.

Risk Factors

Are there any adverse factors that could affect the implementation of the project? Are there any resources required that are scarce? Is the project team proficient enough to meet the needs of the project? These are the types of questions Ashley needs to ask when brainstorming about the risk factors that could get the project off track. Ashley should include information in the SMP that determines the process for identifying and assessing risk. What documents should be referenced to obtain this information? The potential for adverse event should be considered when developing the project schedule. This element of the SMP requires the project manager to consider these factors and allow plans mitigate and respond when necessary.

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