Project Scheduling

Project scheduling is the mechanical process of formalizing the planned functions, assigning the start and end dates to each task or activity of the work in such a manner that the whole work (project) proceeds in a logical sequence and an orderly and systematic manner.

Scheduling is the sequencing of the activities of the project in the time order in which they are to be performed, and calculating the resource requirements (men, machine, material, money) needed at each stage of production/construction along with the expected completion time of each of the activity.

Project Schedule Techniques

The Project Planner graphically represents project schedules. Several methods are available, including Bar charts, Milestone Charts, CPM, PERT, and Precedence Networks. Nowadays industries rely on software for Project Scheduling, better known as MSP and Primavera.

All the above-listed techniques will be described in detail in this post and forthcoming posts.

I. Bar Charts or Gantt Charts

The simplest and most commonly used scheduling technique is the Bar Chart or Gantt chart. It was introduced by Henry Gantt around 1900 AD.

The chart consists of a horizontal scale divided into time units like days, weeks or months and a vertical scale showing project work elements like activities, tasks or work packages.

Please refer to the figure for more understanding

The Gantt chart is prepared after a WBS analysis and Work Packages or other tasks are identified. During WBS analysis, the Project Planner/Manager plans the estimated times for each activity/task.

Bar charts were later modified into Milestone charts. While the Bar chart represents the activities, a milestone chart represents the events which mark either the beginning or the end of an activity.

II Network Diagrams

The network diagram is an outcome of the improvements in the milestone charts. Network technique is based on the basic characteristics of all projects, that all work must be done in well-defined steps. The network technique exploits these characteristics by representing the steps of the project (activities/tasks)graphically in the form of a network or arrow diagram which resulted in two types of network –a) Activity on Arrows (AOA) b) Activity on Nodes(AON)

The AOA and AON network techniques were a result of two significant developments in the field of Project Management in the 1950- PERT and CPM.

  1. Program Evaluation and Review Technique( PERT)

PERT was developed to aid in producing the U.S. Polaris missile system in record time in 1958. The PERT procedure provides a probability that a project will be completed on or before a specified completion date based on variable time estimates of activity durations. The PERT system uses a network diagram consisting of events which must be established to reach project objectives. An event is that particular instant of time at which some specific part of a plan is to be achieved. It indicates a point in time and does not require any resources. PERT uses event-oriented network diagrams in which successive events are joined by arrows. PERT is an AON type of network.

Terms of PERT/CPM

Activity : Activities are the recognizable jobs or operations which use resources (men, machines, materials, money & time).

Example –For laying a foundation the activities will be

•Excavate foundation

•Fix sideboards

•Concrete foundations

Event: Events are the state resulting from the completion of one or more activities. It is the instant of time when certain activity has been started or completed. Events consume no resources or time.


•Project started

•Foundation started

•Side boards fixed

•Foundation concreted

Event and Activity

PERT system is preferred for those projects or operations which are of non-repetitive nature for those projects in which precise time determination for various activities cannot be made.

2. Critical Path Method (CPM)

CPM network also known as Activity on Arrow, the whole project consists of a number of clearly recognisable jobs or operations called activities. Activities are usually operations which take time to carry out, and on which resources are expended. Connections between activities are termed events.The CPM networks are often referred to as activity-oriented diagrams in which each activity is represented by an arrow and the sequence in which the activities are executed is shown by the sequence of the arrows.


Predecessor activity: Activity or activities that are required to be performed  before an activity under consideration.

Successor activity: Activity or activities that are required to be performed after completion of an activity under consideration.

Dummy Activity: A dummy is a type of activity in the network which neither requires any time nor resources. A dummy is used to prevent two arrows from having common beginning and end events. A dummy is used to give a logical clear representation in a network having an activity common to sets of operations running parallel to each other. A dummy is thus a connecting link for control purposes or for maintaining the uniqueness of the activity. A dummy is represented by a dotted arrow in a network and is identified by the numbers of the terminal node.

Drawing of Network

Example 1: Draw a network diagram for the project having 9 activities, with the following inter-relationships:

•C follows D but precedes F

•C follows A but precedes H

•G follows F but precedes I

•E follows B but precedes I

•D follows B

•H and I terminate at the same time

•A and B start at the same time.

Example 2: A project consists of six activities (jobs) designated from A to F with the following relationships:

1 A is the first job to be performed.

2. B and C can be done concurrently and must follow A

3. B must precede D

4. E must succeed C, but it cannot start until  B is complete.

5. The last operation F is dependent on the completion of both.

Project planning

Planning for the project begins early in the project life cycle. In most cases, it begins with the preparation of the proposal or Feasibility studies.

Project Feasibility is evaluated which means whether the proposed project is viable in all respects or not. The Feasibility study evaluates the project’s potential. It outlines the project’s time and cost implications and the project’s preliminary implementation plan. Usually following parameters are studied thoroughly in the Planning stage:

  • Construction Site Reconnaissance
  • Construction and technical specifications feasibility
  • Market Analysis
  • Costing Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Environmental Analysis

Project Go-Ahead Decision

The feasibility study, if found acceptable is followed with an investment cash flow/appraisal. Depending on the nature and complexity of the project, the following may assist the executing agency in making investment decisions.

  • Client representatives: These include the prospective project manager or his nominee and the related officials.
  • Specialists: These include architects, engineers, planners, and finance and management consultants.
  • Concerned officials of the administration and technical departments.

The process of formulation of needs, collection of information, critical examination of concepts, and re-examination of needs may have to be repeated several times before a project go-ahead final decision is taken.

Master Plans

Master plans vary depending on the size, complexity, and nature of the project.

Project planning starts with determining the objectives, deliverables, and major tasks of the project.

Under master plans many crucial documents are to be prepared. Project Charter is one important document that is described in a previous post.

Determining the project scope begins during project conception, first in project initiation and then in the initial description of the project.

Project Work Scope

A project scope statement is a document that outlines the project’s objectives and provides an overview of all its components. It is typically an internal document created to provide participants in the project with clarity and direction.

Project Work Statement includes the permanent works (end product) required by the client/owner. It is defined in terms of project description, design, drawings, specifications, and deliverable value (in the form of BOQ).

InputsTools & TechniquesOutputs
Project Charter and Operating EnvironmentDesign and Drawings Construction Specifications Work Quantities and Cost EstimationProject Indicative Cost Estimate Bills of Quantities (BOQ)

A project scope statement usually includes the following points:

Objective– Stated objectives or goals of the project.

Deliverables– Outputs or end products desired.

Time schedule– Project start and end date as well as the schedule of work packages and activities.

Budget– Cost of the project and its major components

Stakeholders– Key Personnel involved in the project.

Constraints– Limitations or issues that may impact the project.

Risk– Various risks that may negatively impact the project.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Once the objectives have been fully developed, the project must be divided into manageable sets of project tasks or activities. This is necessary to produce project drawings and specifications, generate a detailed cost estimate for the project, and schedule and control resources (e.g., materials, labour, equipment, and time) for all project activities.

The method typically used to break down the project into manageable components or work activities is called the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

The WBS is a deliverable-focused hierarchical decomposition of the project works to be completed for achieving the project deliverables.

WBS defines the total work scope of the project starting from the top and systematically breaking down the deliverables into hierarchical levels with the last level containing the desirable smallest components.

WBS includes all tangible deliverables of the project. Deliverables are tangible, measurable parts of the project.

The below diagram is a typical WBS of a house

The WBS is widely used in the construction industry because it divides the construction project into manageable and ordered parts.

LevelDescriptionMain criteria
1Sub-project levelAn independent, deliverable end product requiring processing of multi-task having a large volume of work.
2Task LevelAn identifiable and deliverable major work containing one or more WPs.
3Work Package levelA sizeable, identifiable, measurable, and controllable work item/ package of activities. A WP is a level that defines the lowest level of work for which the cost and duration can be estimated, planned and controlled.
4Activity levelIdentifiable lower level job, operation or process, which consumes time and possibly resources. It is normally not included in the project WBS.
Levels of WBS

Project Life Cycle/Project Stages

Every project has a beginning and a finish, and it all starts with the definition of its objectives and goals, followed by the creation of a project plan to achieve those goals, and finally, its execution. A thorough understanding of the project management life cycle is crucial to carrying out projects successfully and achieving their goals. The project management life cycle is an organized, systematic, and timely procedure for initiating, planning, and carrying out a project successfully. A distinct aspect of the process of managing a project from inception to completion is addressed by each project phase.

The project management life cycle is divided into 5 phases: project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & control, and closure.

1. Project Initiation

The project planning phase, which establishes the project’s road map, is the most crucial and necessitates total thoroughness. The initiation phase’s objective is to define the project in general terms in terms of what must be done and accomplished for it to be successful. Here, the project’s stakeholders (the individuals or business unit that will fund it), goals, objectives, and deliverables are established, and the resources and funding required for its completion are high-level estimated. Feasibility studies are conducted.

  • Create a Project Charter, a Scope document that outlines the vision, objectives and goals of the project
  • Identify key project stakeholders or participants
  • Once the project gets a go-ahead, assemble the project team and establish a project office

Once the project is approved, one or more project initiation meetings are held to finalize the project. This is where the project initiation phase ends and the planning phase begins.

2. Project Planning

It involves defining the work to be done and figuring out how to accomplish it. The project manager begins setting goals with a project plan. A well-drafted project plan outlines a detailed project schedule, and communication plan to give direction to the team. During the planning stage, the scope of the project is defined in detail which involves the cost, quality, resources and project timeline. The scope is defined by the project manager with a scope statement and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) (the deliverables for the project). Another crucial activity during this phase is resource estimation for the project.

Create a Statement of Work document to flesh out the details of project deliverables

  • Develop a Work Breakdown Structure
  • Create a project plan, assign team members (and other resources) to the various tasks and build a detailed project timeline.
  • Identify the Project Team roles and other resources for the project.
  • Create a risk mitigation plan to identify potential risks and develop a strategy to minimize them
  • Create a communication plan to schedule interactions with relevant stakeholders

3. Project Execution

This is the stage where planning is turned into action. The project team is assembled. Resources are assigned to the tasks identified in the project plan. The project work is carried out in the required sequence as per the schedule prepared in order to complete all of the work in the most efficient manner. The many deliverables that are created in accordance with the specified project plan are the main result of the execution phase. The project manager keeps the team members organised, develops workflow, and continuously assesses progress to ensure that work is completed as planned and that the project team and other stakeholders are working effectively together.

4. Project Monitoring & Control

This phase typically runs in parallel with the Project Execution phase and involves keeping the project on track and ensuring that objectives and project deliverables are met.

The project manager monitors the progress of the work and ensures that it is proceeding as planned and scheduled. This makes it easier to monitor any deviations from the project’s budget, schedule, and quality objectives. In order to minimize the impact on any of the project goals, this phase also entails regularly scanning the project environment for risks or problems that could affect the project’s performance. If any such problems are found, proactive measures must be taken to prevent or mitigate them

Project Manager tracks all changes to the project scope (whether from team members or the stakeholders) and reports on their impact on project goals and monitors overall project performance, including all project plan changes, and ensures that all stakeholders and the project team are on the same page about the project status and its expected outcomes.

5. Project Closure

Project Closure is the final phase of the project management life cycle, which indicates the end of the project and the final delivery of the project deliverables.

Project Closure involves the completion of the final delivery of a project and its approval by the stakeholders. Once the project’s closure is formally approved, other aspects of the closure can be carried out. It gives an opportunity to comprehend lessons learned to improve productivity in the future. Once the above activities are completed, the project team members are released to other projects.

 “End of Project” Review to understand project performance and a formal analysis of successes and failures that is to be documented. The final settlement of all bills and claims is also an important thing to be sorted out at this phase. All reports are to be completed in full and final.

Construction Project characteristics

Construction Project Definition

Construction implies designing building, installation and commissioning of items of civil, mechanical, electrical, telecommunication and other utility works necessary for building a specified construction-related facility or service.

•A Construction Project is a high-value, time bound, the special construction mission of creating a construction facility or service, with predetermined performance objectives defined in terms of quality specification, completion time, budgeted cost and other specified constraints.

Construction Projects Classifications

Project Classification BasisClassification Breakdown
1. Nature of Construction Facility‘Building Construction’, ‘Infrastructure Construction’, ‘Industrial Construction’ or ‘Special- Purpose Projects’
2. Nature of Work Construction Project CharacteristicsRepetitive, Non- Repetitive or Combination
3. Mode of ExecutionDepartmental or Contractual
4. Nature of Construction ContractCost Plus, Item Rate, lump Sum, Turnkey or BOT
5. Completion TimeLong duration Programme ( Over 5years) Medium duration projects (3-5 years) Normal duration projects (1-3 years) Special short term projects (less than 1 year)
6. Budgeted Cost (Indian Public Sector)Mega Value Programme/ Projects (Over 1000 crores) Large Value Projects (100-1000 crores) Medium Value Projects (20-100 Crores) Small Value project (Less than 20 crores)
7. Maturity LevelInsignificant Risk, Low Value Risk, Medium Value Risk, High Value Risk
8. Need – Based ProjectsPublic Need Projects, Corporate Need projects, Commercial Projects, Re- Engineering Projects
Construction Project Classifications

Typical project Success and Failure Factors on Project Performance

Success FactorsFailure Factors
Project Manager’s CompetencyConflict among Participants
Top Management SupportPM’s ignorance and lack of knowledge
Monitoring and feedback by project participantsHostile socio-economic environment
Favorable working conditionsOwner’s incompetency
Commitment of all participantsIndecisiveness of project participates
Owner’s competencyHarsh climate conditions at site
Interaction between internal  & external project participantsAggressive completion during tendering
Good coordination among project participantsNegative attitude of project participants
Availability of trained resourcesFaulty Project Conceptualization
Regular budget updates
Availability of trained resources
Success and failure factors on Project performance

Major Controllable Causes of Project Time and Cost Overruns

1.Project formulation, planning and contract administration failures:

a. Inadequate project formulation: Poor field investigation, inadequate project information, bad cost estimates, lack of experience, inadequate project formulation and feasibility analyses and poor project appraisal leading to incorrect investment decisions.

b. Poor planning for implementation, inadequate time plan, inadequate  resource plan, inadequate equipment supply plan, poor organizing and poor cost planning.

c. Lack of proper contract planning and management. Improper precontract actions and poor post award contract management.

d. Lack of project management knowledge and skills during execution, inefficient and ineffective working.

2. Client inaccurate budget cost estimate

Client’s narrow or unclear perspective about the proposed project may lead to inaccurate budget cost estimate.

3. Contractor’s unrealistic tendered cost estimate

Many times Contractor’s objective is to extract maximum profits from the project which may lead to malpractice and may lead to cost over runs. Improper planning and estimation of Project activities may also lead to time and cost overruns.

4. Management Failure

a. Work Policy failure

It is due to unclear objectives and targets, unworkable plans, top management’s failure to back up the plans, failure to identify critical items, lack of understanding of operating procedures and policy directions, too many change orders, reluctance to take timely decisions and ignorance of appropriate planning tools and techniques.

b. Organizational Failure

It is due to incorrect organizational structures resulting in inadequate funding, confusion of responsibility, inadequate delegation of authority at various levels, higher management interference, lack of stress on accountability etc.

c. Human Resource failure

Improper choice of the project manager, inexperienced staff, lack of commitment and motivation.

d. Directional failures

It can be attributed to lack of team spirit, internal conflicts, poor human resource management, labour strikes etc.

e. Controlling Failure

It is due to unclear targets, inadequate information flow, incompetency in adopting appropriate monitoring techniques and an absence of timely corrective measures.

f.Coordination failure

•It can be attributed to a breakdown of communication at various levels, lack of day-to –day decisions to fill procedural gaps and an absence of co-operation and spirit de corps.

g.Procurement failures

•They may be due to faulty procurement of machinery and materials, bad workmanship, poor performance of subcontractors, accidents, unforeseen bad weather

h.Unpredictable Causes

What is a Project Charter in Project Management?

A project charter is a document that outlines the goals, boundaries, and key participants (stakeholders)  of a project and serves as the team’s road map.

The Project Charter serves as a declaration that management has endorsed the project manager and approved the project. It is employed by organizations to publicize and publicly approve the beginning of internal projects. Upon project approval and using the results of the feasibility study, the charter is developed.

The purpose of the charter is to describe the project to stakeholders in the organization and establish the project manager’s authority to gather and make use of resources.

The Project Charter highlights the owner’s requirements. It outlines the purpose and scope for undertaking the Project. It may also include Project Key deliverables, milestones, assumptions and constraints, potential risks, and problem areas.

  • It is also called a Preliminary Statement of Works.
  • The project Charter comes in all sizes and shapes

The contents of the Project Charter will vary with the size, complexity, and importance of the project. It may briefly address the following aspects relating to the project

  • The Project Name
  • Project Mission/ Purpose
  • Objectives and constraints
  • Execution Methodology
  • Time schedule of high-level milestone
  • Responsibility of the Project Manager
  • Project Budgeted Value
  • Potential risks and Problem areas

Project Management Functions and Sub functions

Let us first understand a few common Project Management Terminology:

•A Project is a group of multiple interdependent activities that require people and resources. It has a defined start and end date and a specific set of criteria that define successful completion.

•The goal is what exactly needs to be accomplished.

•The Project Scope is the documented set of standards and criteria that the customer defines as successful completion.

•An objective is a combination of tasks that concern specific functional groups or structural areas.

•A task is a combination of activities that lead to the achievement of a definable result.

•An activity is a time-consuming piece of work with a definite beginning and an end.

Duration is the elapsed time from the beginning to the end of an activity, task, or objective.

Luther Gullick  gave the Keyword:


O…………………. Organizing


•S…………………. Staffing

Co………………. Coordinating




1. Planning


• Decision making

•Strategy formulation/ policymaking




• Problem  Solving           

•Innovation, Investigation and Research

2. Organizing


•Divisionalisation departments,

• Decentralisation


• Span of  Management

• Task Allocation


•Manpower planning,

•Recruitment selection

•Training placement                  




4.Directing/ Leading





5. Controlling

•Fixation of standards




•Corrective action


•Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done in the future

–“what” is going to be done, “how”, “where”, by “whom”, and “when”

–For effective monitoring and control of projects

•Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it and who is to do it. Planning bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to go. It makes it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise  happen

Features of planning

•Planning seeks to achieve certain objectives.

•Planning is oriented towards the future.

•Planning is a mental exercise

•Planning involves choices from alternatives

•Planning is the basics for all other functions.

•It is a continuous function

•It is pervading.

•Planning is directed towards efficiency.

Steps in planning

•Collecting information about past

•Defining objectives

•Developing planning premises

•Discovering alternative courses of action.

•Evaluating alternatives.

•Choosing the best alternatives

•Defining subsidiary plans

•Periodic revision and review of plans.

Advantages of planning

•It focuses attention on desired objectives

•It helps to minimize risk

•It improve efficiency

•It avoid confusions

•It encourage innovation and creativity

•It enables co operation and group work

•It serves as the basis of control.

Scheduling“Its about time”

–“What” will be done, and “Who” will be working relative timing of tasks & time frames.

–A concise description of the plan

“Once you plan your work, you must work your plan”

•Planning and Scheduling occurs:

AFTER  you have decided how to do the work

•“The first idea is not always the best idea.”

•Requires discipline to “work the plan”

–The act of development useful,

–But need to monitor and track

Popular Scheduling Techniques

•Bar chart

•Gantt chart



•Precedence Network

•MSP software

•Primavera (P6) software


•According to Henri fayol “To organise a business means to provide it with everything useful to its functioning-raw materials, tools,capital and personnel”.

Steps in Organizing

•Identifying the activities required for achieving objectives.

•Classifying these activities in to convenient groups

•Assigning the group of activities to appropriate persons.

•Delegating authority and fixing responsibilities.

•Coordinating Authority Responsibility relationship throughout the enterprise.

Importance of organizing

•Sound organization facilitate growth and diversification

•Optimum use of human resources by matching work with talent

•Maintain good harmonious structure in the office

•Group activity is equivalent to social structure of organization

•It is a mechanism of management to direct ,controls and coordinates the activities of enterprise.


•The managerial functions of staffing involves manning the organizational structure through proper and effective selection, appraisal and development of personnel to fill the roles designed in to the structure.

•It is concerned with the Human resources of the enterprise.

•It is concerned with  acquiring,developing,utilising,and maintaining human resources.

•It is a process of matching jobs with individuals to ensure right man for the right job.

Steps in staffing

•Manpower planning

•Recruitment, Selection, Placement

•Training and Development

•Appraisal,Promotion and Transfer

•Employee remuneration

Importance of Staffing

•It helps in discovering and obtaining competent employees for various job.

•It improves the quantity and quality of output by putting right man for right job.

•It improves job satisfaction of employees

•It reduces cost of personnel by avoiding wastage of human resource.

•It facilitates the growth and diversification.


•It is concerned with the execution of plans through organized action.

•It is also known as commanding or actuating.

•Direction consist of the process and techniques utilized in using instructions and making certain that operations are carried out as planned.

What is Project Management?

Project Management is a term combined of two words: Project and Management.

Project: A project is a single definable purpose and well-defined end-items, deliverables/results, mainly specified in terms of performance, cost, and time.

Characteristics of Projects

  • Involving a single definable purpose and well-defined end items or deliverables.
  • Unique
  • Somewhat or largely unfamiliar
  • Utilizing skills and talents from multiple professions and organizations.
  • A temporary activity
  • Something at stake
  • The process of working to achieve a goal

Management:  Management is a process of getting things done through people to achieve goals effectively and efficiently”

With reference to the  above figure Efficiency in management refers to the completion of tasks with optimum usage of resources at minimal costs. Effectiveness in management relates to the completion of tasks within specific timelines.The goal is low wastage, high productivity and profits.

Project Management: The application of the above management principles to achieve all project objectives within the given constraints is Project Management.