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'Scheduling Solutions' http://www.thinkinginanewspace.com/scheduling-solutions.php (2012)


Alternative name(s)



Description


In project management scheduling means making a list of the main activities in a project with their start and finish dates, which are often estimated in terms of budget, duration and the dependency between them. According to Kerzner a schedule is in a fact a plan, which shows when individual or group of activities shoud be started and completed.

Scheduling management is concerned with developing a schedule in terms of "analysing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements and schedule constraints" in order to create the schedule of the whole project (PMBOK, 2008). Schedule management also deals with controlling the schedule, which means monitoring the progress of the project and managing changes to the schedule baseline. The processes of Control Schedule can be defined as follows: defining the present status of the project schedule, making an impact on the factors that create schedule changes, determinining that the project schedule has changed and managing the changes when they arise. As the PMBOK Guide (2008) suggests controlling the schedule of the project consists of inputs (e.g. project management plan, project schedule, work performance information), tools and techniques (e.g. performance reviews,scheduling tool, adjusting leads and lags, resource levelling) and outputs (e.g. change requests, project managemernt plan updates, project documents updates, work performance measurements).

Agile values


Openness (Scrum). Everyone knows everything about the work, which would definitely facilitate the scheduling of the tasks and the scheduling control, because when everything about the working process is transparent, it is more easy to control and manage it.

Working software over comprehensive documentation (Agile Manifesto). In Agile Management it is not necessary to make a detailed work breakdown structure or to use a specialised software program in order to create the schedule. All the documentation related to the process of scheduling the whole project becomes useless, because it is replaced by doing that step by step (iteration per iteration), which facilifates the work.

Responding to change over following a plan (Agile Manifesto). In fact, when working on an agile project, following a well planned schedule of the whole project is not the right approach. Being flexible in terms of perceiving the change as not being a threat to the schedule, and being able to manage the change, whenever it arises.

Agile principles


See the whole (Lean Software development) This Lean principle suggests that the system should be seen as a whole in terms of not being only sum of parts, but also product of iterations. This approach may help scheduling by giving an overall look at the project and estimating the whole duration taking into account all iterations.

Very simple rules generate coherent emerging order (CAS) This principle of Complex Adaptive Systems suggests that simplicity of the work processes and rules leads to coherence of overall work, which means that "keeping it simple" may help controlling and monitoring the progress and managing the changes.

CAS are open systems, i.e. they exchange energy or information with their surroundings (CAS) This CAS principle suggests exchanging constantly information with the customer, which will facilitate the scheduling process, because knowing what the customer wants helps outline the resource requirements.


Agile practices


Value Stream Analysis (Lean Software development).The VSA is actually a small scheduling of a process itself in order to maximise efficiency. The process is given a start and an end, after that each step is given a value and an exact time. At the end all the times are added up and the value time and the total time are calculated.

Sprint planning (Sprint) According to Schwaber (2003) a sprint should last exactly 30 days, so when malking the schedule it is important to consider this fact. However, nowadays the sprint time can vary from project to project. Planning carefully the duration of the sprint is extremely important, because once the lenght is confirmed, it is locked up and does not change.

Small releases (XP). This widely used XP practice, suggests that the developers (the team members) release iterative parts of the product quite often. When scheduling the exact durations of those small releases it is important to consider and plan the exact time needed to come up with a feature that may be presented to the customer.

Iteration planning (XP) Each iteration has a purpose to achieve. Everyone from the team is focused on delivering the same deiverable and changes are dealth on, within an iteration, before preceeding to the next one.

Discussion


The Agile project schedule is in fact the sequence of project releases and iterations. The scheduling of the product features is made at each iteration per iteration, and the measurement of the flow of those features. The project manager then reports to the organization about the progress of the project. The iterations have the same duration.

The waterfall project plan is also broken down into smaller phases, but it is not necessary that they have the same duration, like in agile management. The traditional approach can be deliver in phases, and different people work on each phases, which might cause problems, as they are not fully involved in the project.

Links from this KA to other KAs


The project management scheduling identifies the needs to accomplish the daily assigned tasks in respect to the product owner requirement within a set time. The concept, ensure the prioritisation of activities in respect to a time frame for accomplishment. This KA can be linked to Time Management and Project Metrics and Measurement. Reasons being that prioritisation of these tasks (using planning games, kano's model matrix) within an iteration in respect to the duration of delivery, relates to time, and sequential pattern of delivery of each tasks for an iteration. In addition, a progress report from feedback on the product owner changes made.

References


PMBOK (2008) "A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" Project Management Institute. 2nd edn [Online] Available at
http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/9781933890517
(Assessed: 28 March 2013)

External links


http://www.leadingagile.com/2008/11/evolution-of-a-project-schedule/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schedule_(project_management)


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