Different sides of Project Management Scheduling

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Developed by Andrzej Kubik

In each project, after coming up with an idea there is time for creating process and some plan is need to be done. To reach the goal without bigger problems and unexpected barriers project scheduling is a tool that every creating process need. There are many kinds and ways how we can set a plan of work and set our deadlines. Each type has its pros and cons, which depends on its structure and way how it should be implement, but most important thing is to determine what are our goals and how they should be reached before we start creating a schedule. Main purpose and milestones during the creation process can be set by time, date deadlines, depend on different stages of project or work of individual people. In general scheduling tool in project managment was implemented to help in organizing group of people who have different working styles or approach. [1]


Scheduling Tools

Task List (The Milestone Chart)

Most common in use and the simplest technique. It is the list with pointed out things to do, this method is familiar to most people, even not connected with managing because it is the same thing as the shopping list. This technique is mostly used for individual or small group projects, because with larger group of people, many tasks and dependencies controlling the project can be problematic and overall view can be unsettled. Currently project schedules are based in company web so that each employee or group member has access to it. However when the schedule, especially task list is not web-based there are firmly limitations when it comes to collaborating and updating the schedule. Another flaw of this method is impossibility of tracking the progress of the project when it has to be uptaded manualy.


Compilation of gantt chart and task list, it is simple and logical way of scheduling and there is no need to appling any special software for company to place it in the web.[2]

Tasks can be add as events in the calendar and each project or its part can has separate calendar with special name, so it is easy to controll the progress and track by the group members. Only limitations of the calendar is impossibility of assigning tasks to certain people and describing tasks dependencies.

Gantt Chart

This is method focused on the best possible preview of progress tracking. The biggest advance of this technique for managers is clear vizualization of time which is needed for individual tasks to be done. It is represented by bars placed one under the other from the top to the bottom (sequence of the respective tasks, top - beginning of the project, bottom - the end if it) and with adequate lenght showing the time needed for complete the given task. This method is easy to apply in different industries, but it has to be done carefully and thought through because it has similar limitations like task list and can not be changed easily.

Full Wall Scheduling

This technique is focused on interaction between co-workers or groups of the project. What is need to create this kind of schedule is large wall in some room in the office, where will be place for all people interested in the project, on which chequered pattern with appriopriate spaces between lines have to be made. Spaces between each pir of vertical lines repreent one week of work. When the wall is prepared, project manager has to set milestones of the project and assign project members tasks they are responsible. Each task is written on two index cards, one on them labeled as ”start” and second one as ”finish” and they are handed-in to the appriopriate team member. The project team is gathered in mentioned ”wall room” and they starts by ticking their cards under the weeks they select. When the scheduling process proceeds, additional task did not forecast by the project manager can be add or the existing ones can be divided into subtasks or better defined. The arrangement of the cards proceeds until all of the participants are satisfied. Advantege of creating the schedule together as a team is quick leveling of the conflicts which will occure during scheduling and they can be disscused and resolved. This is also good exercise for team to integrate and improve relatioships between group members in the beginning of the project.[3] The biggest problem of this method is firmly difficult to arrange such meeting in companies with multiple offices and gather the team together.

Precedence Networks

They are a little bit different kind of scheduling in comparison with the previous examples, because the subdivisions, modifications, additions and deletions of activities can be made anytime and it is a quick process. Early stages of creation of the network require that the project has to be throughly defined and thought out, because diagram of the network shows precisely the action plan to the project team and the client. Network is visualization of the connections of most important events in the project and shows the plan of action. [4]

The longest sequence of the activities connectd through the network is identification of the critical path (CPM - Critical Path Method), so the base for controlling and planning the project. To speed up (make ”fast-track”) the project it is important to speed up only the activities on the critical path, because without knowledge of those activities, project manager will have to speed up all of the activities. This kind of approach to scheduling allows the project manager to define wich activities are not critical. Then project manager can delay these activities in case when the unavoidable delays occure in the project. Because of often delays and changes in project scope, it is normal that the critical path is re-identified and changes the overall project duration. Sometimes there are activities not originally placed on the critical path, but they are occure the delays in the whole project, so the new critical path is need to be done. Here is the role of project manager who has to controll the activities on the critical path with high potential of delay or determine activities with ”near-critical” status.

Similar to the CPM is Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) with difference that CPM emphasizez activities while PERT is oriented on the event. Illustraiting the charts of both techniques, on CPM chart events would not be symbolized, because arrows representing activities would connect to each other at nodes. In PERT chart wheras events are specifically designated by their placement in boxes and arrows connecting the boxes have no specific identification. What else differs PERT from the CPM is that the first one permits explict treatment of probability for its time estimates while the second one does not. In PERT technique the expected time for each activity is calculated by taking an average of minimum, most likely and maximum periods of time rquired to complete an activity.[5]

Computerization Of Scheduling Techniques

For many years projects have been analyzed manually and small project still can bo done this way, but use of the computer offers many adventages for even most complex projects. The use of a computer allows to allocate not only the resources of single projects, but also all activities from the total range of projects being handeled within an entire firm, so that the computer schedules the firm’s complete resources.

Computer software packeges have now plenty of possibilities which can speed up the work on such things like illustration of the critical path, identification of the available float for each activities, project resources and budget requirements and many more. Despite of that these packeges can handle any number of projects in the same time, making them suitable for scheduling the firm’s total operations.


Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

No matter what method will be used to schedule the project, segments with tasks and milestones of the project must be determined with a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This is vizualization of all tasks whiach are need to be done in hierarchy of its deadlines.

Most common approach in creating a WBS is to start from the peak of our hierarchy, so from our goal of the project. When the final product description is known, most important thing is to designate what objectives it is expected to fulfill.

Further levels after defining the peak of the project mountain in the WBS are more and more detailed and created by so called decomposition. Decomposition in project management is the process of breaking the work into smaller parts which are need to be manage in the whole project.

Number of breakdowns and levels of the WBS hierarchy depends on how the project manager wants to arrange the work. Project Insight supports as many levels of hierarchy as are needed. It is expected that each task will be conduct and delivered by single owner who is managing and reporting the work need to be done. That division of work is called the ”task owner” and if it is impossible to assign single owner to the task, another decomposition should be done.

When all of the project deliverables have been described, task should be set in order to to create its deliverables. Sometimes those deliverables are just the work which need to be done without any physical representation, but in some cases it will be the part of the final product.

Needs to Develop Project Schedule

Project Scope

The work that is need to be done to deliver a final product, service or result with specified features and funstions. It can be confuse with product scope, so the features and functions describing the product, service or result. The difference is that Project Scope is oriented on the work and how the final product is creating and Product Scope focuses on what the product is like. [6]

Sequence of Activities

This is the process of identifying and documenting relationships in the project activities. The benefit of this stage in preparations of the schedule development is tha it defines the logical sequence of work to achive the greatest efficiency in the project. To obtain clear data flow diagram, all of the activities and milestones in the project should be connected to predecessors and succesors with finish - to - start logical relationsships. It can be performed by using dedicated to project management softwares or manual techniques.

Task Dependencies Map

They are relationships among tasks which determine the order in which activities should be performed. Four types of dependencies can be distuinguished :

       finish - to - start  - Predecessor must finish before Successor can start.

start - to - start - Predecessor must start before Successor can start.

finish - to finish - Predecessor must finish before Successor can finish.

start - to - finish - Predecessor must start before Successor can finish.

Dependencies are relationships of the preciding to the succeeding tasks, which may have multiple preceding and succeeding tasks.

Critical Path Analysis

Process based on the same what was mentioned in CPM, nevertheless analysis of the critical activities of the project no matter what scheduling type will be chosen is useful to provide into the project possibility of dynamic reaction.


There is no way or possibility to create perfect schedule, because each type has its pros and cons. They are firmly connected to that on what project manager want to be focused. Are these thing interaction between project group members, relationships between tasks, activities, deliverables or something else. It is also important what is the goal, is it a physical product, some kind of service or result, different strategies and preparations to create the schedule will take place. Despite all of the mentioned things there are limitations not exactly connected with the project indeed, but with thing like size of the group which will work on the project, space and environment of work so is the whole company in one building or even country and there are limitations on the language area can occure.


The stage of planning is a critical stage in any project. The manager of the project has to define then the project objectives, identifies the activities which need to take place to complete the project, estimates the level of resources and time in which the project has to be finished, prepare the framework for managing the project. To prepare an effective project schedule, it is neccessary to combine different scheduling techniques and define the approach to create best solution for creation of the final schedule of the project. It demands also to consider all of the disadventages and adventages of the available techniques, think about way of how to make the schedule web-based.

When it comes to preparation stage of the project schedule it seems like project manager has to do as much work as the project requires itself or maybe even more, but well organised work plan allows managers to implement some changes in the project or some kind of protection in case of delays, changes of the objectives or something else.


  1. Ray S. (2017), ' What Is Project Scheduling '
  2. Ray S. (2017), ' What Is Project Scheduling
  3. O'Brien, J.J., & Zilly, R.G., Contractor's Management Handbook
  4. Lock, D. (ed.) Engineers Handbook of Management Techniques
  5. Spiegle, E. The Engineer as Manager. Seattle
  6. Rouse M., "what is the project scope"
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