Resource Index > Project Management Activities > Scheduling and Estimating

Scheduling and Estimating

Estimating work and managing schedules is a core competency for project managers. The resources on these pages will help you with reasonable estimates for the work, rational work breakdown structures, and real-world schedule commitments. Additional references help address common situations like team members that won't commit to a firm schedule, or how much time you should spend on scheduling activities.

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Examples of Project Scheduling Documents
Every project is different, but the examples below can provide a starting place. Even for projects in a different industry, it can be helpful to see how another project manager handled resource allocations, early planning levels, cross-functional tasks, and more.

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  • WBS Example: Planning a Holiday Dinner
    Here's a tongue-in-cheek example of applying project management to a product development with a small team -- by scheduling a holiday dinner with everything ready at the same time.
For Members
These resources are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
  • Planning and Scheduling: Task Identification and Work Breakdown
    How-to process steps for developing a complete and thorough Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
  • WBS and MS Project Schedule for Electromechanical Systems Project
    A Work Breakdown Structure for a multi-subsystem development project. More detail than that home improvement project, less detail than building the Hoover Dam. Covers all phases and cross-functional departments.
  • Software Release Lifecycle WBS in MS Project
    Work Breakdown Structure in Microsoft Project that covers 10 phases of a Software Release Lifecycle aimed at large multi-project software releases. It shows when each deliverable gets accomplished in each phase and includes typical task dependencies and primary resource assignments for each deliverable.
  • MS Project WBS/Gantt Template - IT Software Development Project
    Very detailed, annotated cross-functional work breakdown structure for development of IT applications. Created by a PMO at a large company.
  • Software Bug Fix WBS
    Work Breakdown Structure for a project to fix bugs in an existing product or system. Documenting the work process helps avoid duplicated effort and conflicting changes, and reminds developers to take side effects and documentation into account when planning their work.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • Infrastructure Deployment WBS
    This Microsoft Project schedule for an infrastructure deployment plan includes a detailed work breakdown, draft scheduling estimates and dependencies, and role-based resource allocation. The WBS runs from project scope investigation to post-project review (including lessons learned).
  • Renovation WBS and Draft Schedule
    WBS and schedule example for an office renovation project, from design to move-in. This schedule illustrates decomposition of a complicated project into manageable work packages.
  • ISO 9000 Registration
    Are you stretching toward ISO compliance in 2013? This WBS will help. It outlines a process for moving from initial exploration and gap analysis through registration and auditing. While specific to ISO, this four-level phase-based breakdown should be useful for any quality management or certification process.
  • Integrated Hardware/Software Mechanical WBS
    This is a work breakdown structure in its purest form: All tasks, no dates. Developed for a mechanical hardware/software integration project, it runs from charter to installation without descending to an unmanageable level of detail.
  • Software Application Development WBS
    This WBS and schedule example for a software application development project, includes detailed notes for new software PMs, as well as a phase-based WBS from team formation to post-project review.
  • WBS Example: Presentation Planning
    This Microsoft Project schedule for planning a seminar (or other presentation event) includes a work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, and preliminary resource allocation. The WBS runs from initiation to event launch.
  • Commercial Construction WBS and Draft Schedule
    This Microsoft Project schedule for a commercial construction project includes a detailed work breakdown, draft scheduling estimates and dependencies, and high-level resource allocation. The WBS runs from the initial demolition work to interior finishing touch-up, with separate work packages for each functional group.
  • User Manual Planning WBS and Schedule
    As any technical writer can tell you, there's no such thing as "just" writing a user manual. This work breakdown in MS Project format includes notes on task estimates and resource allocation, and incorporates cross-functional tasks you could easily overlook.
  • Department- and Project-Level WBS Example
    Very high level work breakdown structure, in Microsoft Project format, for tracking department-level projects. One-stop shopping approach to tracking various group timelines and department-level phase gates (and their assumed deliverables and milestones).
  • WBS and Project Schedule for Office Relocation
    WBS and schedule created for an office move, including task estimates, resource allocation, preliminary leveling information, and more.
  • WBS and Microsoft Project Gantt - 802.11 Master Development Schedule
    Here's an example of a large, complex, cross-functional WBS. This one is for concurrent development of a wireless networking access point and PC card using shared, common resources.
  • WBS and Microsoft Project Gantt - USB Development Schedule
    This example of an early version of the WBS precedes the first schedule baseline. It was a derivative project from the 802.11 Master Development Schedule. Good example of early planning levels.
Step-by-Step Guidelines for Creating a Project Schedule
The project schedule is usually based on a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that outlines the high-level tasks necessary to complete the project work. The guidelines below provide instructions for creating a detailed WBS and project schedule (which is part, but not all, of a full project plan). Other planning documents, like budgets and team responsibility lists, can be found in our main template index.)

For Guests
These resources are available to everyone, no login required.
  • When It's Time to Plan and Schedule a Project, What Matters Most?
    Learn what to take into account when planning, how to engage people who don't seem to care, and how to keep your plan based in reality--or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.
  • Lego My Schedule
    E-mails, meeting minutes, schematics, diagrams, and even dialog can be enhanced by the richness of a physical experience. Sometimes, a more experiential approach to communication can help the pieces fall into place.
  • The Schedule and the Project Plan
    A project schedule is not the same as the project plan. The project plan goes much deeper than a schedule and is the overall blueprint for the project.
For Members
These resources are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
Other Options
  • Take a look at our book list for scheduling and estimating references.
  • Project Planning and Scheduling - $69.95 (Free for subscribers)
    This step-by-step Project Planning and Scheduling bundle is based on our series of 8 Planning and Scheduling guidelines, which walk you through you the details from Task Identification to Project Plan development, complemented by 17 additional templates and checklists.
Typical Scheduling Issues and Answers to Common Questions
Even the simplest projects can run into challenges around resource availability, reliable task estimates, and general uncertainty about scope and tradeoffs. These resources will help, and more are available on our page about the Initiation and Planning Phase.

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These resources are available to everyone, no login required.
Other Options



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