PMI's Practice standard for scheduling--second edition

Charles T. Follin, PMP, Standard Vice-Chair, ProjectAide, Inc.

Abstract

This paper looks at the evolution of the Practice Standard for Scheduling (PMI, 2011). The paper and presentation focus on the changes from the first edition to the second edition. Attendees will leave the presentation feeling they are more knowledgeable with the content of the Practice Standard for Scheduling and have a basic understanding of the enhancements and improvements contained in the second edition. This paper and the subsequent presentation in Dallas utilize the content of the Practice Standard for Scheduling—Second Edition, for the content of the white paper and the presentation.

This paper is divided into two sections—both are extractions in whole or in part from the Practice Standard for Scheduling —Second Edition’s Preface and Appendix B sections. As co-authors of these sections, we believe they provide an excellent overview of the development and content of the second edition. The first section focuses on aspects concerning the development of the charter and selection of the second edition team, whereas the second section focuses on content.

Standard Development Aspects

Pre-Project Evolutions and Project Charter Development

The Practice Standard for Scheduling was initially published in 2007. In July 2009, the PMI Market Development Department conducted an Update Needs Survey for the practice standard, which is the preparatory step for chartering an update of any standard. In October 2009, the PMI Standards Manager and the Standards Member Advisory Group developed an initial charter for the update of the standard. A final version of the Charter was signed in January 2010. Per the charter, the committee was to review, investigate, validate the need, and identify all necessary changes to update the Practice Standard for Scheduling as a second-edition standard.

Specific activities included:

  • Consideration of all comments and feedback relevant to the Practice Standard for Scheduling received by PMI since publication.
  • Consideration of all deferred Exposure Draft comments, suggestions, and feedback, including any appeals and their resolution, with the assistance of PMI staff.
  • Consideration of any available PMI market research data and information
  • Consideration of any available data and information
  • Consideration of initiating ad hoc research to resolve issues.
  • Consideration of consultation with subject matter experts
  • Consideration of impacts from and to other standards products
  • Implementation of the syntax change to the PMI standards format; that is, verb–noun for process names
  • Consideration of recommendations for changes, for no changes (reaffirmation), or to retire the standard
  • Assembly of the Committee’s summary findings and recommendations in a comprehensive report to the Standards Manager

In January 2010, the committee was formed under the leadership of Harold “Mike” Mosley, Jr., PMP, Chair, and Charles Follin, PMP, Vice-Chair.

Team Selection and Demographics

The leadership committee with input from the PMI standards organization reviewed the list of individuals that had volunteered to serve on the development team from a list supplied by PMI. A matrix was developed to make every effort to address the qualifications and geographic distribution of the potential committee membership. A set of interviews was conducted to evaluate the range of volunteers, including an effort to determine if they had any specific agendas they were pursuing through this opportunity. The result was the selection of a committee of eight members. Management concurred with the leadership committee that we had developed an optimal team with the following demographics:

Team Credentials and Qualifications:

  • Eight held PMP® designations
  • Five were PMP-SP® certified
  • One held the PMI-RMP® certification

Team Geographic Representation:

  • Five were from North America (four states, coast to coast)
  • One was from EMEA specifically Lithuania
  • Two were from Asia Pacific—one from Israel and one from India
  • Two were from Latin America—one from Curacao and one from Brazil

Note: This totals more than eight, as there was movement of the members during the course of the effort.

Team Markets/Industries Served:

  • Five are consultants in the construction, technology, and programming industries
  • One is involved in the construction sector
  • One in involved in finance
  • One is focused on the IT/software development industry

Team Software/Application Expertise:

  • Artemis
  • Finest Hour
  • Maximo
  • MicroPlanner
  • MS Office Project
  • Open Plan Professional
  • Oracle P6
  • PERTmaster
  • Parade
  • Primavera Project Planner (P3)
  • Project Two
  • PS-Next
  • Risk+
  • RiskyProject
  • SureTrak
  • @Task

This composition provided for a highly diverse team, which optimized the perspective in development, the applicability in implementation, and the translatability of the completed standard. In February 2010, the team had its initial opportunity to engage in the effort. Led by Mike Mosley (Chair) and Charlie Follin (Vice-Chair), the committee included Jim Aksel, Bridget Fleming, Hagit Landman, Sanjay Mandhan, Fernando Oliveira, Raul Romer, and Elaine Lazar (PMI Standards Specialist).

Initial efforts included the consultation with various subject matter experts, seeking input into which areas needed to be addressed in the update of this Practice Standard for Scheduling. This feedback led to the expansion of the standard for the better inclusion of earned value techniques, resource applications, and risk management.

The committee also established liaison with other standards in concurrent, or nearly concurrent, development. These included the Practice Standard for Earned Value Management 2nd Edition, The Practice Standard for Project Estimating, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition, and the Lexicon Committee. In addition, there was a focus to understand and strive for harmony between the Practice Standard for Scheduling and other published standards, such as the Practice Standard for Project Risk Management and the charter mandated PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition. This effort also included the review and consideration of the exam specification for the PMI-SP exam.

The committee development efforts ran from February through August of 2010. During this period, there were three face-to-face meetings in which great progress was made through “dynamic dialogue,” with each person’s passion being expressed in the effort to learn and, ultimately, reach consensus on a team approach. One of these meetings was coordinated to be in conjunction with the PMI College of Scheduling Sixth Annual Conference, where a session was held as a pseudo-standards open working session. Committee members also presented at the American Nuclear Society’s Utility Working Conference, and at the PMI Global Congress North America 2010. Mike Mosley also continued his role as liaison with the PMI College of Scheduling (now the Scheduling Community of Practice), reporting to the Board and posting updates on the community website. Along with the College’s website forum, several new venues were engaged in the collaboration and discussion of the standard, including social networking sites.

There are probably two issues, which seem to continue to draw comments:

  • Ever since the term “schedule model” was introduced in the PMBOK® Guide—Third Edition, there has been a dialogue about the need for a new term. After both internal and external dynamic dialogues, the committee still agrees on the need for terms that are specific to what is being requested. In common usage, a schedule is everything from a list of dates to a mathematical model that can replicate the planned execution of a project. The terms used in the standard provide an owner, team member, or scheduler the opportunity to be specific as to the need and expectations.
  • The definition of “critical” has also spurred conversation, mostly in relation to its traditional usage, only considering the single longest path through a project and its constituents. With the usage of constraints, multiple calendars, and multiple subprojects in most projects, it is very common to have multiple critical paths based on manager/subproject, area, or contractual obligations.

The Practice Standard for Scheduling—Second Edition, offers the community a broader scope, increased clarity, and an even higher level of consensus. The components list offered the building blocks supportive of creating a schedule model, good practices for their use, and a means to evaluate the maturity of the schedule model against the needs of the project.

Exposure and Consensus

This practice standard was submitted as an exposure draft in the late fall of 2010. There were 867 comments. The team’s comment acceptance rate (comments accepted outright or accepted with modifications) was at a near record high of 85.6%. Only 0.6% (6 of 867) of the comments were deferred to a future edition and only 3% were rejected. Those comments that were related to format or punctuation were referred to the PMI Publications editor for style guide interpretation.

Content Enhancements

Overview

The Practice Standard for Scheduling—Second Edition, has been developed as a complement to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fourth Edition, in the Knowledge Area of Project Time Management. This second edition of the practice standard builds upon the foundation established by the first edition, describing the methods related to scheduling that are generally recognized as good practice for most projects most of the time. Good practice means that there is general agreement that the correct application of these skills, tools, and techniques can enhance the chances of success over a wide range of different projects. Good practice does not mean that the knowledge described should always be applied uniformly on all projects; the project management team is responsible for determining what is appropriate for any given project.

The project management community has strongly voiced the need for a standard to promote the development of sound schedules. In addition, the community asked for the capability to assess the adequacy of their schedules.

This practice standard is designed to provide project management practitioners, familiar with the PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition, with a summary of the benefits and advantages of a well-developed and maintained schedule model. This practice standard describes the hallmarks of a sound and effective project scheduling methodology, as well as providing quantifiable means for assessing the application of the provisions of this standard to a schedule model.

One of the most significant developments in the creation of the first edition of the Practice Standard for Scheduling centered upon the clarification of the term schedule. It became apparent through the discussion process and community feedback that there was significant support for the clarification of this terminology. The Practice Standard for Scheduling—Second Edition clarified this distinction between the project schedule and schedule model.

Schedule development flows from the selection of an appropriate scheduling method, followed by selection and use of a scheduling tool. Next, project-specific data are entered into the scheduling tool to produce the schedule model. From there, instances of the schedule model are saved for use as what-if platforms, targets, and for formal approval as a baseline. From these instances, various presentations are produced for a wide range of uses. With these discrete terms, project management practitioners have the ability to trace the processes from the PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition to the finished product and answer, in a specific and unambiguous way, the question of what is being requested when you are asked for a schedule.

Second Edition Changes

The Practice Standard for Scheduling—Second Edition focused on adding more clarity to the issues and concepts of the previous edition, which are summarized below and explained in greater detail during the presentation at the PMI North American Global Congress in Dallas:

  • Chapter 2 was reorganized to align more closely with the PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition, with specific emphasis on schedule model management and providing additional clarity on the various schedule methods and techniques.
  • Chapter 3 was reorganized to emphasize good practices in the areas of model management, model creation, maintenance, analysis, and communication and reporting.
  • Chapter 4 remains focused on the various components of a schedule model. The update introduces the concept of four required component groups in addition to two optional components groups. This refinement was developed to address areas of concern raised from the 2007 edition, broadening the scope of coverage to earned value, risk, and the application of resources.
  • Chapter 5 was rewritten to continue to allow for the assessment of a schedule model within the more complex guidelines of multiple required and optional components; it also addressed a concern expressed from the previous edition concerning the assessment process.

This practice standard is consistent with the PMBOK® Guide–Fourth Edition. It also includes information from accepted project management practices from many industries. The Project Management Institute standards program will continue to periodically update this standard as part of the overall planned evolution of PMI standards documents. Comments from project management practitioners are both requested and welcome.

Project Management Institute. (2011). Practice standard for scheduling—Second Edition. Newtown Square, PA: Author.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI or any listed author.

© 2011, Mike Mosley/Charles Follin
Published as a part of 2011 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Dallas, TX

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