Some PMP aspirants new to project scheduling and planning often do not remember the difference between Project Plan and Project Schedule. Project Plan and Project Schedule may sound quite similar to many people. Although each concept plays a role in completing a project on time, they are two different concepts.
According to PMBOK Guide, a Project Plan is “a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control.”
The project plan is a comprehensive document which involves but not limited to the scope of work, baseline schedule, budget, costs, expenses, planning assumptions and facilitate communication among the stakeholders.
Activities, milestones, resource requirements, major products are detailed and documented in project plans.
The project plan creates a road map to represent all the details of a project in a sequence from the beginning until the end of the project’s life cycle.
According to PMBOK Guide, a Project Schedule shows “the planned dates for performing activities and the planned dates for meeting milestones.”
A project schedule is a graphic presentation of all activities in a project required to produce the output. Gantt Charts, Network Diagrams, CPM and PERT techniques can be used to create the project schedules.
In other words, project schedules show the activities, durations, dependencies,milestones, start and finish dates, calendars and the critical path in a diagram.
Difference Between Project Plan and Project Schedule
– A project plan is an overall document involves project risks, budget, organization, scope, goals, objectives and also project schedule. On the other hand a project schedules involve planned dates and sequences of the project activities.
– A project plan focuses on the entire project. On the other hand a project schedules focus on the project activities and their dates.
– A project schedules alerts the project team about the critical path and potential delays.
– Project schedules are live documents that should be updated and reported regularly.
– A project schedule usually relies on softwares, methods and techniques such as Gantt Charts, Network Diagrams, PERT, CPM etc.
In project management, both Project Plans and Project Schedules are critical concepts for a project’s success. Project Plans are comprehensive documents which also include the Project Schedules. However a Project Schedule is a graphic presentations of the project activities and activity details. Understanding each concept and having knowledge about their use will help the project managers to manage their projects effectively.