Project Schedule

Scheduling Software Templates and Tools

Purpose of a Project Schedule

The project schedule is the tool that organizes the work and resources for the project, according to resource availability, task dependencies, and project constraints.  The schedule communicates the work breakdown at a task level, who is responsible for every task, and the expected timelines for completing the tasks. 

A complete schedule provides the Project Manager with the ability to communicate full effort, in terms of costs and resources, necessary to deliver the project.  It also allows the Project Manager to accurately report on status and assess potential impacts when specific tasks will be delayed or if resource assignments change.  An appropriately built schedule built in a versatile tool will allow the Project Manager to provide what-if analysis by making changes and assessing impacts to determine the optimal way to successfully meet the project's success criteria.  The information within the schedule can also be used for schedule forecasting.

The schedule informs the project team when they are expected to begin and complete tasks.  It also provides the sponsor, governance bodies, stakeholders, and the project team with expected milestones and delivery timelines.

Project Schedule Participants and Approvers

The Project Manager is responsible for building the schedule for the project. Anybody on the project team and beyond who is assigned to a task or dependent upon a task within the schedule should be a participant in building the schedule. They are the experts who understand what is involved in that task, what is a pre-requisite for task completion, how long it will take, and potential risks to completing that task.  The sponsor, project owner, BA, SMEs, and governance may also provide input towards building the schedule.  All stakeholders should be aware of the milestones produced from the schedule and timelines that impact them.  The schedule is informally approved by the sponsor and project team in terms of it being realistic with the information known at the current time, and acceptable according to stakeholder expectations.


  1. Collect all inputs: charter, scope baseline (scope statement, requirements, WBS), task breakdown and estimates, dependencies, constraints, resource calendars/availability, resource goals and expectations, stakeholder expectations, and project risks
  2. Align tasks in a preliminary order according to deliverables, constraints, and dependencies
  3. Assign resources to tasks/activities based on availability and ideal skill sets
  4. Change the ordering of tasks, where required, based on known resource over-allocation
  5. Make changes to schedule to find optimal task timelines and resource assignments to meet success criteria: Start doing what-if scenarios with possible re-assignments of resources to tasks, and possible re-ordering of tasks where dependencies and constraints allow
  6. Based on optimal schedule with the information known at current time, create milestones
  7. Communicate schedule and obtain feedback from those who provided inputs.  Make appropriate adjustments.
  8. Create schedule baseline

Next Steps

Communicate schedule and milestones appropriately according to communications plan

Once the project moves into execution, begin executing tasks according to the schedule.  Report status updates appropriately based on expected completion dates within schedule and milestones.  Adjust schedule accordingly throughout project as work is completed with actual completion dates, or timelines are adjusted, or other project changes are approved that affect the schedule.

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Scheduling Techniques