PMP Certification: Project Time Management 101


Project Time Management is the third knowledge area of project management.

It is concerned primarily with deadlines—how to set realistic ones and how to meet them.

Based on chapter 6 of PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition, here you will find:

  • project management graphic of Project Time Management, a quick reference guide to its definition and processes
  • Project Time Management WHATs, WHYs, WHENs, and HOWs — by Project Time Management processes

Read on!

Project Time Management 101

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Schedule Management

  • WHAT Plan Schedule Management Is. The Plan Schedule Management process makes clear how the project schedule will be developed, executed, and controlled as well as how changes will be integrated into the project schedule.
  • WHY Plan Schedule Management Is Important. The schedule management plan guides the project manager and the project team by means of oversight, standardization, and best practices ensuring that the project schedule is well developed, monitored, and controlled.
  • WHEN Plan Schedule Management Is Executed. A project manager should perform the Plan Schedule Management process before the other six processes of the Project Time Management knowledge area.
  • HOW Plan Schedule Management Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Project management plan
  2. Project charter
  3. Enterprise environmental factors
  4. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Analytical techniques
  3. Meetings
  1. Schedule management plan

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.1, p. 145.

2. Define Activities

  • WHAT Define Activities Is. The Define Activities process is all about determining how the project work breaks down into activities.
  • WHY Define Activities Is Important. When performing the Define Activities process, project managers break the work packages into smaller, more manageable units of work—activities— that thay can easily assign, estimate, schedule, and control.
  • WHEN Define Activities Is Executed. The Define Activities process is often implemented after the Work Breakdown Structure is in a stable form. However, project managers can create a WBS and define activities in parallel, taking the WBS down one more level to show activities, instead of work packages.
  • HOW Define Activities Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Schedule management plan
  2. Scope baseline
  3. Enterprise environmental factors
  4. Organizational process assets
  1. Decomposition
  2. Rolling wave planning
  3. Expert judgment
  1. Activity list
  2. Activity attributes
  3. Milestone list

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.2, p. 149.

3. Sequence Activities

  • WHAT Sequence Activities Is. The Sequence Activities process builds project schedule network diagrams that visualize the logical order between all the activities and milestones already defined and point out their dependences.
  • WHY Sequence Activities Is Important. If a project manager sequences correctly the interactivity of logical relationships among activities, then the network diagrams generated during the Sequence Activities process will facilitate the development of a realistic, achievable project schedule.
  • WHEN Sequence Activities Is Executed. Project managers use the Sequence Activities process once they have identified the schedule activities that they will chain together.
  • HOW Sequence Activities Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Schedule management plan
  2. Activity list
  3. Activity attributes
  4. Milestone list
  5. Project scope statement
  6. Enterprise environmental factors
  7. Organizational process assets
  1. Precedence diagramming method (PDM)
  2. Dependency determination
  3. Applying leads and lags
  1. Project schedule network diagrams
  2. Project documents updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.3, p. 153.

4. Estimate Activity Resources

  • WHAT Estimate Activity Resources Is. In the Estimate Activity Resources process a project manager forecasts the number of all the resources—human and materials—needed to complete each activity of the project.
  • WHY Estimate Activity Resources Is Important. The activity resource requirements, output of the Estimate Activity Resources process, are necessary to decide the length of time each activity will take to complete.
  • WHEN Estimate Activity Resources Is Executed. Estimate Activity Resources should be closely coordinated with the Estimate Costs process and the project manager should perform both after he/she has in hand activity list and activity attributes.
  • HOW Estimate Activity Resources Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Schedule management plan
  2. Activity list
  3. Activity attributes
  4. Resource calendars
  5. Risk register
  6. Activity cost estimates
  7. Enterprise environmental factors
  8. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Alternative analysis
  3. Published estimating data
  4. Bottom-up estimating
  5. Project management software
  1. Activity resource requirements
  2. Resource breakdown structure
  3. Project documents updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.4, p. 161.

5. Estimate Activity Durations

  • WHAT Estimate Activity Durations Is. The Estimate Activity Durations process tries to estimates work effort, work resources, and number of work periods required to complete each activity, with progressive elaboration.
  • WHY Estimate Activity Durations Is Important. The activity duration estimates are a paramount input into creating the project schedule model.
  • WHEN Estimate Activity Durations Is Executed. A project manager performs the Activity processes in this order: Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, and Estimate Activity Durations. So, she/he estimates activity durations after knowing what resources are available and before developing the schedule of the project.
  • HOW Estimate Activity Durations Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Schedule management plan
  2. Activity list
  3. Activity attributes
  4. Activity resource requirements
  5. Resource calendars
  6. Project scope statement
  7. Risk register
  8. Resource breakdown structure
  9. Enterprise environmental factors
  10. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Analogous estimating
  3. Parametric estimating
  4. Three-point estimating
  5. Group decisionmaking techniques
  6. Reserve analysis
  1. Activity duration estimates
  2. Project documents updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.5, p. 166.

6. Develop Schedule

  • WHAT Develop Schedule Is. The Develop Schedule process is the core of Time Management. It’s the process where a project manager takes all the information gathered in the previous processes—Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, and Estimate Activity Durations—and combines them into one final schedule for the whole project.
  • WHY Develop Schedule Is Important. Once the project schedule is approved into the schedule baseline for the project, a project manager can track against the latter in later processes and measure the project success against it.
  • WHEN Develop Schedule Is Executed. The Develop Schedule process is performed after the processes:
    • estimate activity resources
    • estimate activity durations
    • sequence activities
  • HOW Develop Schedule Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Schedule management plan
  2. Activity list
  3. Activity attributes
  4. Project schedule network diagrams
  5. Activity resource requirements
  6. Resource calendars
  7. Activity durations estimates
  8. Project scope statement
  9. Risk register
  10. Project staff assignments
  11. Resource breakdown structure
  12. Enterprise environmental factors
  13. Organizational process assets
  1. Schedule network analysis
  2. Critical path method
  3. Critical chain method
  4. Resource optimization techniques
  5. Modeling techniques
  6. Leads and lags
  7. Schedule compression
  8. Scheduling tool
  1. Schedule baseline
  2. Project schedule
  3. Schedule data
  4. Project calendars
  5. Project management plan updates
  6. Project documents updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.6, p. 173.

7. Control Schedule

  • WHAT Control Schedule Is. The Control Schedule process is a monitoring and controlling process that keeps all of the documents elaborated during the Develop Schedule process up to date and turns Work Performance Data into Work Performance Information.
  • WHY Control Schedule Is Important. In the Control Schedule process, a project manager determines the current schedule status of the project and responds appropriately to any observed and measured variance.
  • WHEN Control Schedule Is Executed. A project manager uses the Control Schedule process until all project activities are completed, that is until the end of the project life.
  • HOW Control Schedule Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Project management plan
  2. Project schedule
  3. Work performance data
  4. Project calendars
  5. Schedule data
  6. Organizational process assets
  1. Performance reviews
  2. Project management software
  3. Resource optimization techniques
  4. Modeling techniques
  5. Leads and lags
  6. Schedule compression
  7. Scheduling tool
  1. Work performance information
  2. Schedule forecasts
  3. Change requests
  4. Project management plan updates
  5. Project documents updates
  6. Organizational process assets updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 6, section 6.7, p. 185.


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