Scheduling Guidelines are meant to give project managers advice on assuring that scheduling best practices and industry standards are applied to the project schedule.

This is necessary to provide sponsors and stakeholders an accurate and timely perspective of project performance and forecasting capabilities.

The following guidelines are necessary for State of Georgia projects to comply with Project Assurance schedule review criteria.


1.  A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. (PMBOK Guide 5th Edition)

2. A project schedule presents linked activities with planned dates, durations, milestones, and resources. (PMBOK Guide 5th Edition)

3. A project schedule is a table of activities with the associated scheduled dates when activities and milestones are to take place. They are used to guide the execution of the project as well as to communicate vertically and horizontally to all participants when certain activities and events are expected to happen (Practice Standard for Scheduling).

These guidelines are based upon the use of Microsoft Project. Other automated scheduling tools should conform to these guidelines where applicable.

4.  General Guidelines for Scheduling.

  • The Project Name is identified and recorded.

  • The Project Start Date is identified and recorded.

  • The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) ID is identified.

  • The Project Status Date is identified, recorded, and maintained.

  • The Project Calendar has been identified and recorded. The standard work week along with exceptions to the standard work schedule are recorded in the calendar.

    • Alternative calendars that include alternate work schedules and exceptions have been identified and recorded.

  • Software configurable options have been identified and set to appropriate values.

    5.  Schedule Development Guidelines. 

  • Activity Structure
    • The Work Breakdown Structure represents the project deliverables to be produced or the phases of project execution.
    • The Network Logic is complete, i.e. predecessors and successors have been appropriately identified. All detail tasks shall contain a predecessor and successor. Exceptions are, a predecessor is not needed for tasks that succeed the start of the network, and a successor is not needed for tasks preceding the end of the network. Summary tasks shall not contain a predecessor and/or successor.
    • Constraint Dates should be used at a minimum to allow for a dynamic network logic presentation. Use the Start-No-Earlier-Than type if a constraint date is needed to allow for schedule slippage, otherwise Deadline dates are preferred.
    • The project Critical Path should be calculated and identified.
    • The Project Baseline is captured and maintained. The baseline should only be updated upon approval of the project governing body. Before updating a baseline the current baseline should be copied to an archived baseline, i.e. Baseline 1-10, for historical comparison.
    • Tasks should be set to the Auto Scheduled mode of processing.
  • Resource Structure
    • Resource Maximum Units should be identified and recorded. These reflect the quantity of resource units needed for the project. Resources Groups should be greater than 1.
    • The Standard Rate for labor must be recorded. This amount is used for Earned Value Calculations and should reflect the cost of a resource. An amount of $1 USD or greater is required.
    • Each resource must have a Resource Calendar where appropriate.
    • Duplicate resources are not permitted.
    • The resource calendar work week must match the work week options. Exceptions must be noted.
    • Each detail task must be assigned a resource. Milestones are the exception. Summary tasks shall not have resource assignments.

6.  Schedule Maintenance and Status Reporting Guidelines.

  • Baseline and Progressing Schedules
    • Baselines will be set prior to actual work being started. If a rolling-wave approach is used, only those portions of the schedule are required to be baselined.
    • Baselines may only be updated upon approval of the sponsor or the governing body. Updating the baseline should be considered for the following reasons:
      • A contract amendment that causes the project schedule to deviate from the project baseline has been approved by the governing body.
      • The governing body has approved a change request that causes the project schedule to deviate from the project baseline.
    • Use the most recent baseline for reporting and Earned Value calculations.
    • The Status Date shall be maintained on a regular basis according to the progressing schedule. Those projects being reviewed by the Critical Projects Review Panel must use the date provided by the Review Panel as the status date for end of month reporting.
    • The schedule shall be progressed either weekly or bi-weekly.
    • To progress the schedule use Actual/Remaining fields as much as possible. Avoid percent complete unless the task is complete.
  • Project Status Reporting
    • Task Start Variances should be zero. This indicates the Scheduled Start Date does not have a variance to the Baseline Start Date.
    • Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is identified and accurately reported.
    • At least 90% of remaining detail tasks have a Status of “On Schedule”. Microsoft Project considers a task “On Schedule” when the cumulative percent complete is spread to at least the day before the Status Date.
    • Any task work that is incomplete prior to the Status Date must be moved forward to the Status Date.
    • The percentage of overallocated work to the remaining work should be within 5%.

7.  Integrated Schedules.

  • Use a Resource Pool to share resources among all the projects to be integrated making sure no duplicates exist in the Resource Pool.
  • Follow the above guidelines for all individual projects to be integrated.
  • Individual projects shall be connect to the Resource Pool.
  • The Resource Pool shall take precedence over the individual resource sheet for availability and allocation purposes.
  • Individual projects shall be entered into a Master Schedule. The Master Schedule will be used for Performance and Status reporting.
  • All external dependencies should be connected between the individual schedules in the master schedule.
  • The integrated schedule shall include all tasks related to the total project solution and will be maintained by the state project manager. The total project solution includes project schedules from the state, contractors, suppliers, third party providers, or vendors performing work for the state.


  • The Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Fifth Edition.

  • Practice Standard for Scheduling, Project Management Institute ©2007.