What Is Planning and Scheduling?
Planning and scheduling of a project involves preparing the communications and project management protocols necessary to drive the project and identifying and scheduling the work that must be done. The scheduling includes estimating the duration of tasks, defining dependencies among tasks, and plotting out key milestones. Once resources are assigned, effort hours can be estimated, which may alter the duration, depending on the effort estimate and resource availability.
Generally, a rolling wave planning approach is recommended, which means planning the near-term phase in detail, and future phases at a high level.
In a traditional waterfall planning approach, you start with the scope and customer requirements and you then estimate the cost and the time to deliver what has to be done. A snapshot of the plan (i.e. a baseline) is saved, which later serves as a comparison to the actual start and finish dates and related costs. In an agile environment, the opposite is true. You define a fixed release schedule, and you estimate what features can reasonably be delivered within that release. Progress is later measured in terms of planned vs. earned "points" (which are assigned to piecemeal deliverables) and the velocity of their completion. Planview Portfolios can be used to support both of these use cases, as well as hybrid models. Action Items may be used to manage iterative work.
Initial resource assignments and defining critical success factors are also part of planning. Project templates can be customized to fit the practices of your organization, and lifecycles can be used to enforce processes. Snapshots of the project schedule (baselines) can be captured at various points in a lifecycle against which delivery performance can be monitored.
Planning and scheduling helps to achieve the following results:
- There is a single version of truth relating to the dates, milestones, activities, and resource needs to deliver all project and non-project work.
- Planning is carried out in a consistent way which facilitates the organizational wide consolidation of resource demand.
- Demand is communicated to resource managers for staffing.
Who Works with Planning and Scheduling?
Project planning and scheduling usually requires input from many areas of the organization, including investment and capacity planners, project managers, resource managers, and relevant team members. Planview Portfolios processes and security settings ensure that only those authorized to make changes, provide approvals, and request resources can do so.
Initially (and especially on large projects), it is a best practice for all the relevant parties to meet so they can review the end-to-end process for the project prior to putting a detailed schedule together. This can be done using a "cards on the wall" approach and will ensure that all items are thought of, redundancies are eliminated, and that the rationale for all activities is understood by everyone involved, including the customer. Then the project schedule can be entered in Planview Portfolios.