Schedule Development Outputs You Should Know for the PMP Certification Exam
The project schedule is one of the most important project artifacts that project managers create and that you need to know for the PMP Certification Exam. There can be different versions of the schedule and different ways to display it. There are different ways you can display it. You will want to be familiar with some of the more common versions of the schedule.
The project schedule can be presented as a table, network diagram, bar chart, or milestone chart:
Tables provide activity detail, such as planned start and end dates, percent complete, resources, actual start and finish dates, and many other column options.
Network diagrams with planned start and finish dates show relationships among activities.
Bar charts show the planned duration of activities.
Milestone charts show the planned dates for major accomplishments.
Many times, you see a combination of a network diagram and a bar chart — often referred to as a Gantt chart. In fact, a Gantt chart is a bar chart. But because most of the software refers to a bar chart that shows dependencies as a Gantt chart, that has become the common way of referring to it. Here is a schedule table.
Here is a network diagram with dates.
You can also use a bar chart.
A milestone chart is another option.
Most scheduling tools provide you many different views for the schedule. You can pretty much pick what fields and information you want displayed and the way you want to see it, and shazam!, there it is.
Now, take a look at different versions of the schedule. You’ll probably manage your project from a detailed schedule with the start and end dates of each activity and the resources assigned to the activity. You might also include the planned start and finish dates along with the actual start and finish dates and the percent complete.
This gives you good visibility into the progress being made. However, you don’t necessarily want to publish that schedule for the customer, sponsor, or anyone other than the project team. In fact, they probably don’t really want to see it, either, because it’s way too detailed.
So, a schedule baseline is a good schedule to show your sponsor. The schedule baseline, which has the agreed-upon start and finish dates for the project, is usually shown at a milestone or summary level. The baseline is part of the project management plan and will be used to evaluate the project status.
Additional schedule options can be based on aggressive dates or best case scenarios, or schedules resulting from what-if scenarios the team generated.
In addition to the schedule, you’ve developed all kinds of schedule-related data. For example, you have the information to create resource histograms that show the usage of resources over time, assumptions associated with project performance and resource utilization, and the basis of your duration estimates.
Based on all the work done to develop the schedule, you might find yourself updating the project calendar (project working days), elements of the project management plan, or project documents. Your resource requirements, risk register, Assumption Log, and cost estimates are prime targets for updating.