PMP Certification: Project Schedule Management Terms (based on PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition)


Project Scope Management Terms

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Schedule Management


  • Accuracy Levels. The rounding used when deriving activity duration estimates for different life cycle phases.
  • Control Thresholds. The level of variance the schedule can experience before taking action, typically expressed as a percentage of time.
  • Project Schedule Model Development. The methodologies and tools used to develop the schedule, along with the data they contain.
  • Schedule Management Plan. A component of the project management plan that describes how to estimate the project work, track the project progress, and report on it.
  • Units of Measure. The rules for how estimates should be stated, such as staff hours, days, materials tons, and cubic yards.
pmp 2018 pmp certification project schedule management terms pmbok guide 6th edition

Project Scope Management Terms

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Schedule Management


  • Accuracy Levels. The rounding used when deriving activity duration estimates for different life cycle phases.
  • Control Thresholds. The level of variance the schedule can experience before taking action, typically expressed as a percentage of time.
  • Project Schedule Model Development. The methodologies and tools used to develop the schedule, along with the data they contain.
  • Schedule Management Plan. A component of the project management plan that describes how to estimate the project work, track the project progress, and report on it.
  • Units of Measure. The rules for how estimates should be stated, such as staff hours, days, materials tons, and cubic yards.

2. Define Activities


  • Activity. A unique, scheduled task that must be executed to complete work on the project.
  • Activity Attributes. A complete description of the activity, such as activity codes, predecessor activities, and successor activities.
  • Activity List. A list of all the activities that must be accomplished to deliver the work packages.
  • Milestone List. A list of significant points or events in the project.
  • Rolling Wave Planning. A form of progressive elaboration that focuses on planning the imminent project activities in more detail than activities further in the future.

3. Sequence Activities


  • Dependency. A relationship between two or more activities or milestones where one activity or milestone must be started or completed before another related activity or milestone may be started or completed.
  • Lag. In a finish-to-start relationship between two scheduled activities, the amount of time a dependent activity must wait after its predecessor finishes before it can start.
  • Lead. In a finish-to-start relationship between two scheduled activities, the amount of time a dependent activity can be advanced with respect to its predecessor.
  • Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM). Also called “activity-on-node” (AON), a graphical representation of activities in the project with nodes to represent them and one or more logical relationships to graphically link them, showing the sequence in which these activities are to be performed.
  • Project Schedule Network Diagram. A graphical representation of the logical relationships between all the activities to be completed on the project.

4. Estimate Activity Durations


  • Activity Duration Estimate. A quantifiable estimate expressed as the number of work periods needed to complete a schedule activity.
  • Activity Resource Requirements. The resources required to complete the activities in the activity list.
  • pmp exam 2018 study guide free online course tipsographicAlternative Analysis. Figuring out all of the possible different ways a potential outcome may be achieved and then making a decision about which method is best.
  • Analogous Estimating. An estimating process that bases estimates upon similar activities with similar resource category and types from a similar type of projects executed earlier. Also called top-down  estimating.
  • Bottom-Up Estimating. The process of breaking down an activity into smaller pieces, then rolling up the estimates upwards to the level of the original activity to arrive at a total cost.
  • Parametric Estimating. An estimating technique that uses statistical techniques to calculate cost or duration values for activities based on data from similar earlier projects.
  • Published Estimating Data. A database of known quantities or costs related to completion of activities in the project.
  • Reserve Analysis. An analytical technique that takes care of uncertainty by adding extra time – also called buffers or time reserves – to the schedule or extra cost, as either contingency or management reserves.
  • Resource Breakdown Structure. A breakdown of the resources required to complete the project, by category and type.
  • Resource Calendar. The specific time period when a resource is available and scheduled to be used on the project.
  • Resource. People, equipment, locations, or anything else that a project manager needs in order to do all of the activities planned.
  • Risk Register. The documented list of all identified risks on the project and their characteristics.
  • Three-Point Estimate. A formula that takes into consideration uncertainty factor when it calculates a weighted average of the optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic estimates.
  • Work Periods. The activity duration estimates, usually expressed in hours or days – for smaller projects – or in weeks or months – for larger projects.

5. Develop Schedule


  • Backward Pass. A project network diagramming technique for determining each schedule activity’s late start and late finish dates.
  • Crashing. A schedule compression technique that adds more resources to the critical path activities, from either inside or outside the organization.
  • Critical Chain Method. A critical path that accounts for limited or restricted resources, where a project manager places buffers to any schedule path.
  • Critical Path Method. A schedule network analysis method that calculates the theoretical early start, early finish, late start, and late finish for each activity on the project schedule. These theoretical numbers tell us how much flexibility we have on the schedule and also the minimum project duration.
  • Fast Tracking. A schedule compression technique that overlaps activities or phases that a project manager would prefer to complete in sequence.
  • Float-or-Slack. The amount of time an activity may be delayed without delaying the project finish date.
  • Forward Pass. A project network diagramming technique for determining early start and early finish dates of each schedule activity.
  • Project Schedule. The working time frame the project will take, living document. Changeable by the project manager with no formal change control.
  • Resource Leveling. A technique for optimizing resource assignments that adjusts the starting and finishing dates of schedule activities, based on the availability of resources. Critical path usually gets longer.
  • Resource Smoothing. A technique for optimizing resources that ensures demand for resources does not exceed certain limits. Critical path is not allowed to change.
  • Schedule Baseline. The developed and approved schedule, result of several iterations. Changeable only through formal change control process.
  • Schedule Network Analysis. A group of techniques for developing the project schedule, such as critical path and critical chain method, what-if analysis, and resource leveling.

6. Control Schedule


  • Schedule Forecasts. The updated projections of future performance based on actual performance.
  • Work Performance Data. The raw data about how the project is progressing related to the schedule; e.g., implementation of change requests, preventive actions taken, percent of work actually completed, and so on.
  • Work Performance Information. The processed work performance data, changed from raw data into reports that can be used to make project decisions; e.g., status of the deliverables, lessons learned, forecasted completion dates, and so on.

Click here for a detailed analysis of each project management process group and knowledge area.

SOURCES: Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). 6th ed. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.

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