Schedule Knowledge Area

The Schedule Knowledge Area is concerned with developing a project timeline (or schedule) and making sure that the project is completed within the established schedule. You need to identify the critical path, which is the longest track of activities in the project. In case, certain activities are delayed, there are techniques, such as fast-tracking and crashing, that can help make up for the delays.

Fast Tracking is a schedule compression technique where the activities that would normally be done in sequence, is instead executed in parallel (or overlapped). This overlap can be for the entire duration of those activities, or for part of the duration.

Crashing is another schedule compression technique that reduces the duration (time taken) to complete an activity, by mechanisms such as:

  • adding more resources,

  • working overtime, and/or

  • expediting delivery of goods.

This is done that are in the critical path, because reducing the duration of the activities on the critical path helps to reduce the project duration.

 

Activities and their attributes (such as activity duration, start and finish dates, required resources, and activity dependencies) are entered into a scheduling application (such as Microsoft Project) to create a project schedule.

 

It is important that you develop a schedule (including the milestone and activity completion dates) that is realistic. If the completion dates or activity durations seem unrealistic, you need to work with the project team, sponsor, or customer to set realistic dates and durations. In almost all projects, there are unforeseen delays, and milestone dates are missed.

 

You may have buffers and contingencies for delays! But it is a bad idea to start a project with a schedule that you know is not realistic.

 

Practice Questions for the Schedule Knowledge Area
 
Question 1
  • Which is the most common type of precedence dependency used when sequencing activities?

  1. Finish-to-start (FS)

  2. Finish-to-finish (FF)

  3. Start-to-start (SS)

  4. Start-to-finish (SF)​

 

Question 2
  • John Dickerson is a project manager for a data-center build-out project. He has a meeting with the client and finds out that he must complete the work 3 months in advance and without adding any more cost or resources. John reviews the project schedule with his project team and they are able to identify several discretionary dependencies. What is a viable option to reduce the project schedule?

    1. Crashing the project activities

    2. Fast tracking the project activities

    3. Identifying lead time to start the activities earlier.

    4. Resource smoothing

Question 3
  • Susan Simpson is developing dependencies for activities in her new project for remodeling the office building. She wants to schedule final painting after electrical work is completed. However, she is dependent on the contracting agency that is responsible for scheduling time with the vendors. The VP, Facility tells Susan that the sequence is not critical. Any problems created by the electricians can be resolved quickly even after the final painting. This dependency is an example of:

    1. Mandatory external dependency

    2. Mandatory internal dependency

    3. Soft internal dependency

    4. Preferential external dependency

 

Question 4
  • Dorothy Donaldson is working on an urgent project. The critical path duration is 25 working days. The delivery of equipment from the vendor has been delayed by 10 days and is on the critical path. What is the first thing that Dorothy should do?

    1. Look for ways to crash or fast-track activities on the critical path.

    2. Inform the client, project sponsor and stakeholders that the delivery has been delayed and that it will impact the schedule.

    3. Brainstorm with the project team and sponsor on options to reduce the scope and get additional resources.

    4. Prepare a change request to extend the project schedule.

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Question 5
  • You have been asked to reduce the project schedule but without increasing costs. The client is not particular about getting all the non-functional requirements that were initially agreed upon. Which of the following can you not do?

    1. Resource leveling

    2. Reducing scope

    3. Crashing

    4. Fast tracking

Question 6
  • Dave Dickenson has collected optimistic (O), most likely (M) and pessimistic (P) time estimates for different activities. He wants to use the weighted average technique to compute the duration of the activities. Which of the following techniques can he use? He plans to later use the computed durations to develop a project schedule using critical path method (CPM).

    1. Triangular distribution

    2. Mean or average distribution

    3. Parametric estimation

    4. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

 

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Question 7
  • Matthew Mueller is preparing a scope baseline for his new office modernization project. Which of the following would not be part of his new scope baseline?

    1. Project scope statement

    2. Work breakdown stricture (WBS)

    3. WBS dictionary

    4. All the above needs to be included in Matt’s new scope baseline

 

Question 8
  • What is the time duration for a milestone?

    1. 1 day

    2. Depends on the time taken for the milestone activity

    3. Depends on the time take for the set of activities that lead to the milestone

    4. 0 days

 

Question 9
  • Mary Meyers is a project manager for a global facilities management corporation. She is preparing a project schedule network diagram for a new project using the precedence diagramming method (PDM). This technique is also known as:

    1. Activity-on-Arrow (AOA)

    2. Critical path method (CPM)

    3. Schedule network analysis

    4. Activity-on-Node (AON)

ANSWERS
ANSWER 1

      The correct answer is Choice  1.   

Finish-to-start (FS) is the most common relationship. It is used as a default by most schedule development applications such as Microsoft Project.

ANSWER 2

      The correct answer is Choice  2.

Since these are discretionary dependencies, the discrepancies can be removed, and the activities can be fast tracked (the activities can be overlapped or done in parallel).

ANSWER 3

      The correct answer is Choice  4.

The dependency is not hard or required. There are easy workarounds. It is preferential (also called discretionary, soft or preferred logic) dependency. Since it depends on the schedule created and maintained by the contracting agency, it is an external dependency. See Page 191 of the PMBOK

 

ANSWER 4

     The correct answer is Choice  2.

All the stated choices are right things to do. But notice that the question asks for “ .. the first thing ...”. The first task would be to inform the client, sponsor and stakeholders.

ANSWER 5

    The correct answer is Choice  3.

Crashing is reducing activity duration. However, crashing introduces additional expenses because of reasons such as overtime rates, expedited delivery of equipment and need for additional manpower and equipment. Crashing will increase expenses and therefore is not an option.

ANSWER 6

     The correct answer is Choice  4.

 PERT uses a weighted average to compute the duration. The formula is (O + 4*M + P)/6. That computed duration can be used by CPM technique to develop a project schedule and a schedule baseline.

 

Remember, that a triangular distribution (also called mean or simple average) uses the formula (O + M + P)/3. But this is not a weighted average.

ANSWER 7

       The correct answer is Choice  4.

Scope baseline consists of:

  • Project scope statement

  • WBS

  • WBS dictionary

  • Work packages

  • Planning packages

See Page 161 of the PMBOK.

ANSWER 8

      The correct answer is Choice  4.

       A milestone has zero time associated with it. It signifies that a deliverable or task has been completed.

ANSWER 9

         The correct answer is Choice  4.

 Activity-on-node (AON) is a technique where activities are represented by nodes.

 

Dependencies (such as FS, FF, SF and SS with optional leads or lags) are represented by arrows.

It is also called a precedence diagramming method (PDM) or Activity-on-node (AON) method.

This guide is based on the PMBOK 6th Edition® and is meant for PMP® Exams conducted until December 31, 2020