Friday, 12 July 2013

Step-1] Develop Schedule Management Plan

Before we proceed to project scheduling, the first thing our core team wants is "Guidance on how to carry out Project Scheduling". in a given enterprise or domain. This is primarily because each enterprise or domain has specific guidance for the project team to adopt. Team wants clarity on when to adopt Fast Tracking and Crashing approaches to adopt schedule optimization.

This will be achieved through Developing Schedule Management Plan (SMP). SMP provides guidance and methodology on how to carry out project schedule management throughout the project. To be very specific, it provides answers to below questions

1. Which Scheduling Methodology to be chosen (i.e. whether to use Critical Path Method or Critical Chain Method)

2. Which Resourcing Levelling technique to be used resolve resource over allocation and under allocation (Resource levelling or Resource Smoothing)

3. Which Scheduling Tool to be used (i.e. Microsoft project plan or enterprise specific scheduling tools)

4. Which Estimation Approach (i.e. WBS, LOC, Function Point Estimation, use Case Point Estimation) to be chosen?

5. How to crush the schedules (i.e. when to use Fast Tracking or Crashing, Apply Leads/Lags)

6. When to use Rolling Wave planning for the features that are not 100% clear.

7. Level of accuracy - Accuracy levels to be accomplished

8. Unit of Measure - Person Days, Person weeks,
9. Framework for Schedule Management - WBS may be used as the basic framework
10. How to record project progress?
11. Methods to Review Schedule Performance?

12. Control Thresholds - When to take action - Amount of variation to be allowed before some actions needs to be taken
13. .Rules for Performance Measurement - Rules for establishing percentage complete (i.e. guidelines for 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% completion)- Setting up Control Accounts to measure schedule and progress - Setting up EVM framework - Schedule Variance, Cost Variance, Rules for calculating Estimated Cost at Completion (i.e. using CPI, SPI or when to re-estimate etc.)

14. Clear direction on when and how to leverage techniques like rolling wave planning, leads, lags, fast tracking and carshing etc.. Also the process for various Schedule Review meetings etc...

Thus, schedule Management Plan provides above direction to the project team so that Project schedule Management can be carried out through out the project.

Tools & Techniques Used:
Tool-1] Expert Judgment: Guided by Historical Information and expertize In the required application area/ Knowledge Area/Industry discipline, experts provide valuable inputs to SMP.
Tool-2] Analytical techniques: Experts explore alternatives and use analytical techniques in arriving all the sections of Schedule Management Plan
Tool-3] Meetings- Bring all the project stakeholders to a common platform and gain their buy-in for the agreed upon schedule Management Plan
Input Required:
Input-1] Project Management Plan - It is superset of all Knowledge Area outputs
Scope Management Plan, Schedule Management Plan, Cost Management Plan, Quality Management Plan, Risk Management Plan etc +
Scope Baseline, Schedule Baseline, Cost Baseline, Qualty Baseline etc.
Input-2] Project Charter - Consists of expected Milestones by Steering committee and Project approval info
Input-3] Enterprise Environmental Factors - Info dealing with enterprise - Resource availability, Culture and Structure, work approval information, PMIS- Resource Rates
Input-4] Organizational Process Assets - Historical Information, Templates from previous similar projects, Lessons learnt, Change control Procedures - Policies and Guidelines


When you assume a project Manager role in a new organization or with New Customer Domain in the same organization, Did you ever know:

(1) Which Scheduling Methodology to be used? (i.e. Critical Path Method or Crticial Chain Method)

(2) Which Scheduling Tool to be used?

(3) Which Estimatiom Methodology to be used?

(4) What is acceptabel level of accuracy to be adopted? When to escalate? and to whom?

(5) When and How to use use Fast Tracking, Crashing, Leads, Lags and Rolling wave planning?

(6) At what level we have to monitor the progress? i.e Rules for Performance Measurement? (at the Control Accounts level or at Work pacakge level or through Earned Value management)

(7) How to report the Progress? (i.e. satifisfy different stakeholder needs)

(8) What is the Unit of Measure? (is it person days, person weeks)

Schedule Management Plan provides above direction to the project team so that Project schedule Management can be carried out through out the project.