Schedule Management Plan

Create a Better Schedule Management Plan – Steps & Templates

In this post, you’ll learn to create a better Schedule Management Plan with guidance by a PMP certified project manager. The post discusses the steps and templates you need to get it right, every time you develop one.

What is a Schedule Management Plan?

The Schedule Management Plan is a subsidiary management plan. It is a part of the Project Management Plan. It identifies the processes for developing, monitoring, and controlling the project schedule.

What Are the Six Schedule Management Processes?

The six schedule management processes are:

  1. plan schedule management,
  2. define activities,
  3. sequence activities,
  4. estimate activity durations,
  5. develop schedule, and
  6. control schedule.

What Are the Steps to Developing a Schedule Management Plan?

Effective Schedule Management Plans are developed by implementing widely recognized good practices in project management. The steps are listed here and described below.

  1. Secure a well-considered Schedule Management Plan template.
  2. Identify project roles and responsibilities.
  3. Plan schedule management.
  4. Define activities.
  5. Estimate activity durations.
  6. Specify and develop the project schedule.
  7. Identify processes for controlling the project schedule.
  8. Identify assumptions, issues, and risks as they pertain to schedule management.
  9. Obtain Plan approval.
Effective project management plans are developed by implementing widely recognized good practices.

Step 1. Secure a Well-Considered Schedule Management Plan Template.

A job done right begins with the right tools, and this is certainly true for project planning. Before you begin developing the Plan, secure a well-considered template. Since the Schedule Management Plan is one of several subsidiary management plans, secure one that aligns with your Project Management Plan template. Well-considered templates may help you avoiding gaps in planning.

(At the end of this post, you will find links to well-considered Project Management and Schedule Management Plan templates.)

Well-considered templates may help you avoid gaps in planning.

Step 2. Identify Project Roles and Define Responsibilities

Identify the project roles and define the responsibilities of those individuals who will perform the project work, as it relates to schedule management. 

Involve others when you develop the Schedule Management Plan. By tapping the expertise of project team members, project stakeholders, and the project sponsor, you may gain additional insight and foster buy-in for the project.  

Involve others when you develop the Schedule Management Plan.

Step 3. Plan Schedule Management

As you plan schedule management, identify units of measure such as “day” and “workday.” Identify the project phases and the scheduling approach. For example, identify whether the project schedule will be planned in detail prior to the start of work or whether it will be planned on a rolling wave basis.

Next, identify the scheduling method. (E.g., critical path method) This work will define the framework and algorithms used in the scheduling tool to create the scheduling model. 

Identify the scheduling tool, include the work breakdown structure, and specify the rules of performance measurements. (E.g., earned value management rules) Specify the rules for establishing percent complete. Identify the schedule performance measurements that will be used to assess variation to the baselined schedule.

Step 4. Define Activities

Define the work activities. In the Plan, you will find the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS lists all project deliverables and the work packages that comprise them. Each work package is comprised of work activities. These work activities must be defined and the person(s) who will validate the work activities must be identified.  Also, identify the project milestones.

Step 5. Sequence Activities

Sequencing project activities refers to identifying the relationships among them. When you plan sequencing, first identify the person(s) responsible for sequencing work activities, determining dependencies, and establishing leads and lags.

Specify how sequencing will be performed (E.g., project management software) and identify what method will be used to construct the schedule model. Also, identify the person(s) responsible for developing the schedule network diagram.

Identify schedule constraints, include activity attributes, and within the Schedule Management plan, include a copy of the schedule network diagram.

Step 6. Estimate Activity Durations

Identify the person(s) responsible for estimating activity durations and include the Activity Duration Estimates along with the acceptable level of accuracy used in determining the estimates. 

Develop and include the Basis of Schedule Estimates. Specify time reserves. Indicate where contingency reserves are added to the project schedule, identify how they are calculated, and state the purpose for their inclusion.

(Note that our e-book, “The Practitioner’s Book of Project Management Templates” includes the Schedule Management Plan template and all templates project documents that are referenced in this post.)

Step 7. Develop the Project Schedule

Identify the format of the schedule model and the person(s) responsible for preparing it. Specify the location of the schedule model. 

State how the schedule model will be accessed, distributed, and secured. Also, identify who will validate the project schedule.

Step 8. Identify Processes for Controlling the Project Schedule

Include a copy of the Schedule Baseline and reference the change control procedures set forth in the Change Management Plan.

Describe the frequency with which the project schedule will be reviewed and updated.

Specify who will compare actual performance to the schedule baseline and who will calculate percentages complete and any variances. Identify the person who will distribute the schedule information in accordance with the Communications Management Plan.

Remember, the Schedule Management Plan is a living plan. As the project progresses, provide updated information. For example, include information captured in performance reviews.

Identify the amount of schedule variance which triggers a warning and specify what happens if a warning is triggered. Identify the amount of variance which triggers corrective action and describe what happens if a corrective action is triggered.

Identify the amount of schedule variance that requires submission of a change request.

Specify the work performance information that will be captured and reported on Project Status Reports.

The Schedule Management Plan is a living plan that should be updated throughout the project life cycle.

Step 9. Identify Assumptions, Issues, and Risks as They Pertain to Schedule Management.

Assumptions, issues, and risks may present themselves while planning schedule management. If so, document them in the plan and later transfer them to the appropriate location for further management. 

Step 10. Obtain Plan Approval.

Typically, the Project Sponsor formally approves the Schedule Management Plan. Our template includes a section to obtain the Approver’s signature. 

Good Practices Lead to Development of Effective Plans

 “The Practitioner’s Book of Project Management Templates” is an e-book that will guide you in implementing these good practices. It contains 86 editable templates that will expedite your development of an effective Schedule Management Plan. The templates in this e-book are designed to work together toward development of a comprehensive Project Management Plan. 

Start Planning Now

Ready to start planning? Select the link on the left to learn more about our e-book and get started. It includes the Schedule Management Plan template and numerous other subsidiary management plan templates, project document templates, and a Project Management Plan template. 

Need the Schedule Management Plan template only? Select the link on the right.

About the Author
Kimberlin R. Wildman, JD, PMP is a former attorney, a PMP certified project manager, a federal proposal manager, and the founder of MyPM. She has two decades of experience interviewing subject matter experts, spotting opportunities, and leading projects to successful closures. Author Bio