Develop Schedule: PMP® Process and Inputs
A project manager should use the Develop Schedule process described by Project Management Institute (PMI) to create a project schedule. It is a process that helps determine the tasks to complete, the resources needed for those tasks, and the overall project timeline. Developing the project schedule is essential to project management as it helps ensure the project is completed on time.
On this page:
- The Develop Schedule process for project management
- What is Develop Schedule PMP?
- Process for Develop Schedule PMP
- When to use the Develop Schedule process
- Required inputs to Develop Schedule process
- Tips for creating a project schedule
- What happens after Develop Schedule?
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The Develop Schedule process for project management
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is the PMI flagship publication. The PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition includes the planning process: definition, inputs, and outputs, which outlines the Develop Schedule process.
The PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition is one of many PMI resources that can help project managers understand the scheduling concept, one of the most critical areas of project management.
What is Develop Schedule PMP?
The Develop Schedule process is an area where you may be tested when taking the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam, also from PMI. To earn your PMP® certification, regardless of your project management approach, you need a deep understanding of schedule management, the overall scheduling concept, and the develop schedule process.
The Develop Schedule process, informally called “develop schedule PMP,” is when the project manager, along with help from the team, creates the project schedule. Through the development of the project schedule, the project manager can:
- identify the critical path (the sequence of required activities to reach the project goals),
- document the project start and stop
- determine activity durations
The Develop Schedule process inputs and outputs are part of the project artifacts and documents. Therefore, the PMP certification exam could include questions regarding any aspect of the Develop Schedule process.
Process for Develop Schedule PMP
The Develop Schedule process is part of the Project Schedule Management Knowledge Area in the PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition. The Develop Schedule process can help to identify any potential problems that could occur during the project and help to find solutions for them. Additionally, having a schedule can help to keep project costs under control by ensuring that all tasks are completed on time and within budget.
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When to use the Develop Schedule process
You do not need to have your PMP certification to know that project schedules can change throughout the project. However, earning your PMP certification will help you be prepared to account for and adjust to changes, so the schedule is accurate and supports project decision-making.
The Develop Schedule process should happen early in the project, during the Planning Process, to help inform budget estimations impacted by the project timeline. It is also essential to understand that a project schedule is not something you create as an unchangeable, static document. The project schedule may change, with appropriate approvals, as the project progresses. A project manager with a PMP certification should know that activity duration changes must be reflected and tracked via the project schedule.
For example, suppose a critical activity is estimated to take three business days but takes ten business days to complete. In that case, the project manager should repeat the Develop Schedule process to make updates reflective of the actual activity time used. Activity dependencies and outputs are impacted by the extended or delayed time of the critical activity, so the Develop Schedule process is an essential project management concept.
To conduct the Project Schedule Management process using PMI standard procedures (which a Project Manager with PMP certification should know), complete these traditional project planning processes:
- Plan Schedule Management (create the plan for how to manage the schedule)
- Define activities (including scope)
- Sequence activities (in what order do the activities need to occur and which are dependent upon which)
- Estimate activity durations (how long from start to finish for each activity)
- Develop the Schedule (listing the sequenced activities, with their durations and required resources)
PMP certification exam questions could include scheduling scenarios that assess your ability to determine the best next step when presented with one or more aspects of the Develop Schedule process. So be sure to spend time understanding the process of developing a schedule in your PMP certification exam prep work.
Required inputs to Develop Schedule process
The complexity of the project will have a direct impact on how many inputs are needed. In general, PMI publications state the develop schedule process requires the following inputs:
- Project Information
- Project Plan
- Project scope statement
- Activity information
- Activity list
- Activity attributes
- Activity duration estimates
- Activity resource requirements
- Enterprise Environmental Factors
- Organizational Process Assets
- Project schedule network diagrams
- Company calendar
- Resource calendars
The above list is not exhaustive, nor is it a checklist that applies to every project at every company. However, completing the studies required to earn a PMP certification will help you gain the insight needed to adjust a project schedule and conduct the develop schedule process.
Tips for creating a project schedule
Creating a project schedule is no small undertaking, even for someone with a PMP certification, and it depends on the project’s scope and complexity. Use these tips to improve your success with the develop schedule process:
- Be realistic about the timeline of the project. It is essential to be realistic about how long each task will take and how much time you have to complete the project for an accurate schedule.
- Include as much detail as possible in the project schedule. The more information you can include, the easier it will be to track progress and identify potential problems.
- Update the Schedule regularly. An iterative approach to schedule updates will help ensure everyone is on the same page and the project is still on track.
- Communicate the Schedule to all stakeholders and do so frequently! Constant communication will help ensure that everyone knows what is happening and when.
The communication of the schedule includes encouraging the team to communicate activity changes so that, as the project manager, you can gain approval for and make needed project schedule updates based on your Schedule Management Plan. Additionally, following PMI best practices as reflected on the PMP certification exam, the project manager should regularly provide schedule progress and updates to the project team and key stakeholders.
What happens after Develop Schedule?
Once you have completed the work required in the Develop Schedule process, move to the next part of the Schedule Management Process: assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, and allocate resources. Once the Schedule is in place, it is vital to monitor it closely to ensure the project stays on track. If any problems occur, the project manager should work with the team and any governance bodies to adjust the Schedule to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.
To prep for your upcoming PMP certification exam or as part of ongoing skill development to maintain your PMP certification, you need to know how to create the project schedule using the Develop Schedule process. Inputs and outputs from the process fit into the overall project management approach.
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