Initially, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, the durations for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure. The logical dependencies between tasks are defined using an activity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path. Float or slack time in the schedule can be calculated using project management software. Then the necessary resources can be estimated and costs for each activity can be allocated to each resource, giving the total project cost. At this stage, the project schedule may be optimized to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration to comply with the project objectives. Once established and agreed, the project schedule becomes what is known as the baseline schedule. Progress will be measured against the baseline schedule throughout the life of the project. Analyzing progress compared to the baseline schedule is known as earned value management.
The inputs of the project planning phase include the project charter and the concept proposal. The outputs of the project planning phase include the project requirements, the project schedule, and the project management plan.
See also 
- Cost overrun
- Project stakeholders
- Dependency Structure Matrix
- Project Management Institute
- Scope creep
- Enterprise resource planning
- Project slippage
- Harold Kerzner (2003). Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling (8th Ed. ed.). Wiley. ISBN 0-471-22577-0.
- Richard H. Thayer, Edward Yourdon (2000). Software Engineering Project Management (2nd Ed. ed.). Wiley-IEEE Computer Society Press. ISBN 0-8186-8000-8.
- Fleming, Quentin (2005). Earned Value Project Management (Third Edition ed.). Project Management Institute. ISBN 1-930699-89-1.
- Filicetti, John, Project Planning Overview, PM Hut (Last accessed 8 November 2009).