The project scope identifies the objectives of the project, what activities will be performed, and some of the activities that are not included in the project. The scope document is used to create a master schedule that identifies important dates and activities. In this chapter, the student learns how the scope and schedule are developed.
Project planning and scheduling is both an art and a science. No two project managers or planning professionals develop identical plans or project schedules. The planning process is creative and reflects the planner’s approach and style. Even though the project plan is unique to the approach and style of the planner, methods for developing the schedule and documenting the resulting plan follow certain rules.
On larger and more complex projects, a planning function composed of a small team of planning and scheduling experts may be needed to develop and track the project schedule. Project planners facilitate the development of the information required to develop the project plan using templates, past or similar projects, and most importantly, the thoughts and plans of the project team leaders and members. On a smaller project, the project manager may be responsible for accomplishing this planning function.
After gathering this information, the planner begins developing the project’s master schedule—a summary level schedule that encompasses the entire project scope—that includes major events and provides a view of the entire project. Working with the project team, the planning continues to include more details as additional information becomes available. The schedule continues to evolve during the life of the project, and major revisions may be necessary in response to events both inside and outside the project that change critical dates on the schedule.
Determining the schedule of activities that comprise the project is a key element of project management.