Schedule (project management)

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In project management, a schedule is a listing of a project's milestones, activities, and deliverables, usually with intended start and finish dates. Those items are often estimated in terms of resource allocation, budget and duration, linked by dependencies and scheduled events. A schedule is commonly used in project planning and project portfolio management parts of project management. Elements on a schedule may be closely related to the work breakdown structure (WBS) terminal elements, the Statement of work, or a Contract Data Requirements List.


In many industries, such as engineering and construction, the development and maintenance of the project schedule is the responsibility of a full-time scheduler or team of schedulers, depending on the size of the project. Though the techniques of scheduling are well developed, they are inconsistently applied throughout industry. Standardization and promotion of scheduling best practices are being pursued by the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE), the Project Management Institute (PMI).

It should be noted that project management is not limited to industry; the average person can use it to organize their own life. Some examples are:

  • Homeowner renovation project
  • Keeping track of all the family activities
  • Coaching a team
  • Planning a vacation
  • Planning a wedding

Some project management software programs provide templates, lists, and example schedules to help their users get ahead with creating their schedule.


Before a project schedule can be created, the schedule maker should have a work breakdown structure (WBS), an effort estimate for each task, and a resource list with availability for each resource. If these components for the schedule are not available, they can be created with a consensus-driven estimation method like Wideband Delphi. The reason for this is that a schedule itself is an estimate: each date in the schedule is estimated, and if those dates do not have the buy-in of the people who are going to do the work, the schedule will be inaccurate.[1]

In order for a project schedule to be healthy, the following criteria must be met:[2]

  • The schedule must be constantly (weekly works best) updated.
  • The EAC (Estimation at Completion) value must be equal to the baseline value.
  • The remaining effort must be appropriately distributed among team members (taking vacations into consideration).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stallman, Greene, Applied Software Project Management O'Reilly press, Nov 2005
  2. ^ Cutting, Thomas, Cultivating a Healthy Project Schedule, PM Hut (Last accessed 8 November 2009).

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