Planning and managing a schedule are crucial components of the PMP (Project Management Professional) examination. These are part of the project time management knowledge area that focuses on scheduling activities, sequencing them, estimating activity resources, and developing and controlling the project schedule.

Table of Contents

Planning Phase

The planning phase involves the determination of the project’s objectives, defining the work needed to achieve these objectives, and planning the initiatives required to complete the work. A typical planning strategy might involve a hierarchical structure of the various tasks or an activity list.

For example, for a software development project, the hierarchical structure could include tasks such as project initiation, requirements gathering, design, development, testing, deployment, and closure. Each of these tasks can further be broken down into sub-tasks.

On the other hand, an activity list will have all tasks outlined in a sequential manner detailing the task name, start and end date, individuals responsible, and resources required.

Activity Start Date End Date Person Responsible Resources
Project Initiation 01/01/2022 01/07/2022 Project Manager Team Assembly
Requirement Gathering 01/08/2022 01/30/2022 Business Analyst Stakeholder’s Input

Managing Schedule

Managing the schedule, on the other hand, involves ensuring that the project activities run according to plan, making adjustments when required, and keeping all stakeholders informed about the progress.

In developing the project schedule, it’s essential to consider the sequence of activities, their dependencies, duration, and resources. There are several techniques to do this, like the Gantt Chart, Critical Path Method (CPM), Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), and schedule network analysis.

For instance, the Critical Path Method (CPM) is a technique used to predict total project duration. It involves identifying the most crucial tasks that directly impact the project timeline. Any delay in these tasks may result in an overall project delay. To identify these activities we must find out the earliest and latest start and finish times for each activity.

This is demonstrated in Total float or slack, which refers to the amount of time you can delay a task without pushing the project finish date out. Critical activities typically have zero float.

Project schedule management also involves adding buffers to deal with uncertainties and delays, regular monitoring, and making necessary updates to the schedule when required. If changes in project scope, resource availability, or other unforeseen situations occur, these must be accommodated in the project schedule.


Another crucial aspect of project schedule management, which PMP aspirants must master, is communicating the schedule to all stakeholders. This ensures everyone understands the project timeline, their assigned tasks, and deadlines, thereby facilitating better coordination and cooperation.


To conclude, planning and managing a schedule are integral elements of PMP and involves systematic planning, sequencing, scheduling of tasks, and tracking and controlling the same to ensure that the project objectives are met within the stipulated time frame. Regular updates and effective communication with stakeholders make this process more efficient.

Having mastery over these components of project management not only assists in the successful completion of projects but also aids in scoring excellently in the PMP examination.

Practice Test

True or False: A project schedule is a primary tool for managing the time frame of a project.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: The project schedule provides a timeline that specifies when each task or activity in a project should start and end. It is crucial for planning, coordinating, and tracking specific tasks in a project.

Multiple Select: Which of the following are inputs to the schedule management process?

  • a) Project Charter
  • b) Activity list
  • c) Work breakdown structure
  • d) Risk register

Answer: b) Activity list, c) Work breakdown structure

Explanation: The input to the process of schedule management includes the activity list and the work breakdown structure. The activity list includes all the schedule activities required by the project while the Work Breakdown Structure provides a visual representation of the project’s components.

Single Select: Which technique is used to identify the schedule compression?

  • a) Crashing
  • b) Fast-tracking
  • c) Lead time
  • d) Both a) and b)

Answer: d) Both a) and b)

Explanation: Crashing and Fast tracking are the two techniques used for schedule compression. Crashing involves adding more resources and Fast tracking involves performing activities in parallel that were planned in sequence.

True or False: A project schedule network diagram is a graphical representation of the logical relationships between activities in a project.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: A project schedule network diagram is a project management tool that graphically depicts the sequence of activities in a project along with their dependencies.

Single Select: What is the critical path in project scheduling?

  • a) The path with the longest duration
  • b) The path with the shortest duration
  • c) The sequence of tasks that have float time
  • d) The sequence of tasks that have the highest cost

Answer: a) The path with the longest duration

Explanation: The critical path method analyzes the sequence of activities that has the longest total duration in the project schedule.

True or False: In project schedule management, a lag is a delay in the succession of tasks.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Lag is indeed a delay in the succession of schedule activities or a waiting period between tasks. It can be used to adjust the relationship between tasks.

Multiple Select: Which is/are the output(s) of the control schedule process?

  • a) Work performance information
  • b) Schedule forecasts
  • c) Change requests
  • d) Resource calendars

Answer: a) Work performance information, b) Schedule forecasts, c) Change requests

Explanation: The control schedule process results in work performance information (updates on project progress), schedule forecasts (predictions of future project status), and change requests (modifications to the plan) as outputs.

True or False: Activity duration estimates and resource calendars are needed to sequence the activities.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Activity duration estimates and resource calendars are not needed to sequence the activities. Sequencing activities primarily involves identifying dependencies and relationships between tasks.

Single Select: What scheduling method is often used for complex scheduling networks?

  • a) Gantt Chart
  • b) Critical Path Method
  • c) Work Breakdown Structure
  • d) Network diagram

Answer: b) Critical Path Method

Explanation: The Critical Path Method (CPM) is used for scheduling complex networks as it helps to identify the most important tasks to keep the project on schedule.

True or False: A project schedule is consistent and does not need to be updated.”

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: A project schedule is a live document and needs constant updating and monitoring. This is because project circumstances change, demanding adjustments to keep the project on track.

Multiple Select: The critical chain method helps a project manager to:

  • a) Identify the critical path
  • b) Manage schedule risks
  • c) Allocate resources
  • d) Communicate with stakeholders

Answer: b) Manage schedule risks, c) Allocate resources

Explanation: The critical chain method helps in managing schedule risks and resource allocation. It focuses on the use of buffers to account for schedule uncertainty. It does not directly help in identifying the critical path or communicating with stakeholders.

Single Select: What tool is used to provide a high-level view of project timelines?

  • a) Gantt chart
  • b) Resource histogram
  • c) Run chart
  • d) PERT diagram

Answer: a) Gantt chart

Explanation: A Gantt chart provides a visual timeline for tasks and is widely used in project management for showing project schedules at a high level.

Single Select: Which schedule management tool allows for what-if scenario analysis?

  • a) Gantt chart
  • b) Monte Carlo simulation
  • c) Critical Path Method
  • d) Work Breakdown Structure

Answer: b) Monte Carlo simulation

Explanation: Monte Carlo simulation is a risk management tool that performs what-if scenario analysis. It is used to understand the impact of risk and uncertainty in project management.

True or False: Resource leveling can often result in a project schedule with a longer duration?

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Resource leveling is a technique in which start and end dates are adjusted based on resource constraints with the goal of balancing the demand for resources with the available supply. It often results in a longer project schedule.

True or False: Leading is the amount of time a successor activity can be advanced with respect to a predecessor activity.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: Leading or lead time in project management is the amount of time you can advance the start of a successor activity without affecting the schedule of the predecessor activity. It allows a project to be fast-tracked.

Interview Questions

What is a Schedule Management Plan in the context of project management?

The Schedule Management Plan is a component of the project management plan that establishes the criteria and the activities for developing, monitoring, and controlling the schedule. The plan may be formal or informal, highly detailed, or broadly framed based on the needs of the project.

What is the Critical Path Method (CPM) in project scheduling?

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is an algorithm used to schedule a set of project activities. It’s a technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which sequence of activities has the least amount of scheduling flexibility (the longest sequence of activities).

In the scheduling process, what is meant by “float” or “slack”?

Float or slack is the amount of time that a schedule activity can be delayed without delaying the project finish date or violating a schedule constraint.

What are the five major components of the Schedule Management Plan?

The five major components include: 1) Project schedule model development; 2) Level of accuracy and units of measure; 3) Control thresholds; 4) Rules of performance measurement; 5) Reporting formats.

How does resource leveling affect a project schedule?

Resource leveling can potentially increase the project’s duration due to the delay in some activities to balance the distribution of resources and ensure that resource usage is below certain predefined limits.

What is the main objective of Project Schedule Control in Project Management?

The main objective of Project Schedule Control is to ensure timely performance of all activities as per the pre-decided project schedule. This helps in ensuring the completion of the project within the pre-decided timeline and budget.

What does PERT in project scheduling stand for?

PERT stands for Program Evaluation Review Technique. It’s a statistical tool that can be utilized within project management to analyze and represent the tasks vital to the completion of a given project.

What is a Gantt Chart in project scheduling?

A Gantt Chart is a graphical representation of a project schedule that shows the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project.

Define “Precedence Diagramming Method” (PDM) in project scheduling.

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) is a technique used for constructing a schedule model in which activities are represented by nodes and are graphically linked by one or more logical relationships to show the sequence of work.

What is Rolling Wave planning?

Rolling Wave planning is a process of project scheduling where planning and schedule development are conducted in waves as the project progresses and different details become available.

How is Reserve Analysis used in schedule management?

Reserve Analysis is used to determine the amount of buffer or extra time to account for project risks. There are two types: Contingency reserve- added to the individual schedule activities & Management reserve- added to the total project schedule.

What is the technique of Applying leads and lags in project scheduling?

Leads and lags are tools used in the sequence activity process of Project Schedule Management. A lead allows an acceleration of the successor activity and a lag directs a delay in the successor activity.

What is the Schedule Performance Index (SPI)?

The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is a measure of schedule efficiency on a project. It is the ratio of earned value (EV) to the planned value (PV). An SPI equal to or greater than one indicates a favorable condition.

What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

How do changes in resource availability impact a project schedule?

Changes in resource availability have a direct impact on a project schedule. If resources are not available as planned, this can delay the completion of tasks and subsequently extend the schedule or delay the project’s end date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *