The role of the project manager is to effectively schedule, allocate, use, and replace resources to achieve specified project goals. One of his or her primary project tasks is to schedule and budget the activities and resources (people, materials, and equipment) so that resources are available when needed, activities are completed in the correct order, and the project objective is reached in a cost effective and efficient manner. The project Master Schedule is one of the most formidable tools available to the project manager in performing his or her duties.
We will address the importance of planning to the project manager and survey the techniques that can be employed for scheduling a typical project. The role of the project manager, preparation of the project Master Schedule and project budget, scheduling and budgeting considerations and computer applications will be discussed. In addition, five popular scheduling techniques will be described and compared.
A project consists of a set of well defined, related tasks culminating in a major output and requiring an extensive period of time to complete. Projects may be unique, such as custom designing manufacturing machinery, or require outputs that are so large or time consuming that they have to be produced one at a time, such as construction of a highway interchange. Project management is the process of facilitating the performance of others to attain the project objective.
Project management can be categorized into four separate functional areas. These are planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
These areas and the activities which comprise each are shown in Figure 1. Note that project management revolves on the hub of decision making which in turn revolves around information.