Control Schedule Process – How To Control Project Schedule?

Control schedule process is about comparing the actual schedule with the schedule baseline to determine the variations and also to determine what corrective actions require, to get the project on track.

The primary function of all monitoring and controlling processes are to see monitor the variation between the plan and actuals, and take corrective actions where needed.

In this case, the project schedule is compared with schedule plan to see if there are any slippages in the schedule. And if there are any schedule issues, change requests may need to be raised along with its impact to the project. Eventually these changes will go through the formal process of perform integrated change control for further processing.

When To Perform Control Schedule Process?

Control schedule process is done anytime, since the schedule is developed till the completion of all the activities in the schedule.

Control Schedule Process

 

Control Schedule Process ITTO s

As a matter of fact,  all the monitoring and controlling processes works on the actual performance of the project versus the plan. Hence ITTOs of this process will also resemble the same concept.

The following are the ITTO s for the develop schedule process.

Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs
Project Management Plan

Project Schedule

Work performance data

Project Calendars

Schedule Data

Organizational process assets

 

Performance Reviews

Project Management Software

Resource optimization Techniques

Modelling Techniques

Leads and Lags

Schedule Compression

Scheduling Tool

Work Performance Information

Schedule Forecasts

Change Requests

Project Management Plan Updates

Project Document Updates

Organizational Process Assets Updates

Inputs

Project management plan

Project management plan pertaining to schedule contains the schedule management plan and the schedule baseline. Schedule management plan will describe all the planning aspects of the schedule. While the schedule baseline contains the approved version of the schedule.

So the schedule plan is compared with schedule baseline to monitor for the variations. If there are any variations.

Project Schedule

Project schedule is the schedule created with start date and end date for each activity. Remember that we have created the project schedule in develop schedule process.

Work Performance Data

Work performance data is about the performance of the project. In the context of schedule management, work performance data provide how the project is performing in terms of its schedule. This data points are helpful to compare the actuals with the plan.

Project Calendars

Project calendars contains the activity schedules, shifts and working hours, etc. If the project is scattered across multiple regions with varied parameters then multiple project calendars may exist for single project. So project calendars needs to  consider while performing the control schedule process.

Schedule Data

Schedule data is all the information that we used to develop the project schedule. These are the activity list, activity attributes, activity resource requirements, activity durations, constraints, risks, assumptions, etc. So schedule data is the basis (or supporting data) for all the schedule development assumptions, decision that are made for the purpose of developing the schedule.

Organizational Process Assets

Organizational process assets are a common ITTO s for many project management processes. Please read the blog post on common ITTO s for more details. For example how the variance is calculated in historical projects and lessons learned from similar historical projects to understand which type of activities may slip, how to control the variances, etc.. can be considered as organizational process assets.

Tools & Techniques

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are conducted to see how the project is progressing against its schedule. Plans are always best guess estimates. Ultimately what is important is when you actually deliver.

Project Management Software

Project management software such as Microsoft project plan will simplify by automating the control schedule process to an extent. Meaning that the activities such as baseline and calculating the schedule variance and other metrics pertaining to schedule determines automatically by the project management software.

Resource optimization Techniques

When the schedule has some changes, it impacts the entire project. Eventually project manager has to analyze the situation and find out where can he adjust the resources using resource levelling and resource smoothing techniques. Remember resource levelling and resource smoothing we have learned during develop schedule process.

Modelling Techniques

Modelling techniques such as what if analysis is of help to find out the best way of aligning the actuals with the plan and also find the uncertainties.

Leads and Lags

Leads and lags provide some room for the project manager to play with the schedule. As the project progresses, you need to see the reality and accordingly adjust the leads and lags across the project, so that plan resembles more realistic schedule.

Schedule Compression

Schedule compression techniques are fast tracking and crashing that we have learned during the develop schedule process. These are the best ways and very important for the project manager to use for shortening or compressing the schedule in order to get the project schedule on track.

Scheduling Tool

Eventually scheduling tool often helps to automate the scheduling adjustments. For example Microsoft project plan or Open project tools will automate various mathematical calculations automatically including the schedule adjustments.

Outputs

Work Performance Information

In the cost management knowledge area, we will see how to calculate different metrics using earned value management formulas. In earned value management, there are some metrics used for schedule such as schedule variance (SV),  schedule performance index (SPI), etc. are work performance information used to analyze how the project progressing against the schedule.

Schedule Forecasts

Schedule forecast are predictions that we make when comparing the actual data points with the schedule. In earned value management there are certain formulas that we learn to calculate common schedule forecast metrics such as ETC (Estimate To Completion) and EAC (Estimate At Completion). We will see earned value management as part of cost management knowledge area.

Change Requests

One can easily guess during the control processes a change request may occur at any point of time. The reason for the change could be that actual project is ahead of schedule or behind the schedule. A change request would require to send it to CCB as per the formal process of handling the change.

Project Management Plan Updates

As the changes implement in the schedule changes may happen to other subsidiary plan. Hence there may updates to the project management plan.

Project management plan Updates is a common ITTO for many PMP processes. Please read through the blog post on Common ITTO s for more details.

Project Document Updates

Project Document Updates is a common ITTO for many PMP processes. Please read through the blog post on Common ITTO s for more details.

Organizational Process Assets Updates

Organizational process assets is a common ITTO for many PMP processes. Please read through the blog post on Common ITTO s for more details.

Lessons and how control schedule process is done from the similar historical projects will help the project manager in the current process of controlling the schedule.

Conclusion

To conclude with we have seen that control schedule process is all about comparing the actual project performance with the schedule and see if any corrective action need to keep the project on track.

Also we have seen using certain earned value management concepts to calculate some metrics for assessing the project performance.

Finally we have seen that work performance information, schedule forecasts and change requests are the primary outputs of the change control process.

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