PMP Certification: Project Time Management Tips

Note if you are taking the PMP® exam from 26 March 2018 onwards: click here to read the updated PMP® study material based on PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition.

Cheers, Stefania

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 usefull reference guide with the best tips to master its core concepts
  • Project Time Management tips — by Project Time Management processes

Read on!

Project Time Management Tips

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Schedule Management

  • Schedule Management Plan Vs. Schedule. The project’s schedule management plan describes how the project’s schedule will be developed, managed and controlled. The project’s schedule describes the planned start and finish dates for project activities.

2. Define Activities

  • Work Breakdown Structure Vs. Activity List. The Work Breakdown Structure is the output of Create WBS process and is made up of deliverables—nouns. The activity list is the output of define activities process and is made up of activities—verbs.
  • Task. The terms activity and task can be used interchangeably.

3. Sequence Activities

  • Discretionary Dependencies Schedule. Usually performed in sequence, discretionary dependencies can be executed in parallel—but with additional risk.
  • Sequence Vs. Duration. The Sequence Activities process does not establish how long activities will take, only the sequence in which they will occur.

4. Estimate Activity Resources

  • Physical Vs. Financial Resources. The activity resource requirements include only physical resources, not financial ones.
  • Breakdown Structures. On the exam, you will find the following four breakdown structures:
    1. work breakdown structure (WBS)
    2. organizational breakdown structure
    3. resource breakdown structure
    4. risk breakdown structure

5. Estimate Activity Durations

  • Duration Estimate Vs. Effort Estimate. The duration of an activity is the amount of time that activity takes, while the effort is the total number of person-hours expended.
  • Contingency Reserves Vs. Management Reserves. Contingency reserves are meant for known unknowns and are included in the schedule baseline, whereas management reserves are meant for unknown unknowns – unforeseen work that is within the scope of the project—and are not included in the schedule baseline.
  • Leads and Lags. The activity duration estimates do not include leads and lags, only the estimates for each project activity.
  • Estimators. For small projects the estimators are those who will be doing the work; for larger projects, the estimators should be members of the project team.

6. Develop Schedule

  • Buffer Time. Questions in the exam about buffer time refer to the critical chain method.
  • Mathematical Analysis of Different Scenarios. In the exam the correct answer to a question about mathematical analysis of different scenarios it’s probably what-if scenario analysis or Monte Carlo analysis.
  • Project Baselines. On the exam, you will find the following four baselines, all part of the project management plan:
    • scope baseline
    • time or schedule baseline
    • project budget
    • quality baseline

7. Control Schedule

  • Odds of Fast-track and Crashing. Crashing is expensive and fast-tracking is risky. They might work sometimes but they always add both risk and cost to a project.
  • Schedule Change Vs. Schedule Revision Vs. Schedule Update. 
    • A schedule change must be approved via the Perform Integrated Change Control process.
    • A schedule revision, such as a change to the start and finish dates within an activity’s float, doesn’t impact the baseline schedule.
    • A schedule update enters status into your project schedule.

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Hi, I am Stefania, hearth and keyboard behind Tipsographic, a free online resource for everybody interested in project management and agile. I specialize in project management tips, tools, and tricks. When I'm not writing, you can find me road cycling around Tuscany or spending time with friends and family.

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