Project Plan vs Project Schedule

In Project Management, projects are planned and executed within a stipulated time. Organizations hire certified project management professionals (PMPs) to ensure successful project delivery to meet their customers’ demands. The successful delivery of projects by an organization has many criteria that the PMPs strive to fulfill. Among them planning the project and estimating the time frame of the project completion are the most prominent factors. Often used interchangeably, Project Plan and Project Schedule are completely different from each other in many aspects. In fact, the project schedule is an essential part of the project plan. 

Difference between Planning and Scheduling

Listed below are the 5 major difference between the project plan and project schedule:

  • A project plan is a detailed map that includes the aim of the project, tasks, costs, and time allocated to complete the project. Project management professionals are responsible to create the project plan at the start of the project to ensure that the result fulfills all the requirements of the organization and its stakeholders. The project schedule is the estimated time for the completion of the project and is thus an essential part of the project plan.
  • A project schedule set by PMPs focuses on the time required to carry out the tasks associated with the project. This is done through project management tools like Gantt charts, PERT charts, CPM, WBS, etc, allowing project managers to monitor project schedules and have a concrete idea of how to visualize project progress. While the project plan focuses on the whole project development process.
  • Project plan has many focus points apart from the tasks at hand, estimated time, and the budget. They also include the resources required to complete the project, problems, and risks analysis of the project. Whereas the project schedule depicts the timeline of the project. Both affect project delivery and impacts organizational goals.
  • Project schedule helps PMPs identify the changing variables in the project development process and alerts the team about the deviation from the project plan. There are many factors that affect the project schedule which ultimately affect the project plan and the result for the project.
  • The main purpose of the project schedule is to estimate the time length of the project from the start to finish. It shows the interdependencies between the tasks needed to be completed for the project accurately. Project managers strive to keep track of the schedule using project management tools to align their work with the project plan.

SummaryTherefore, it can be observed that there is a major difference between the project plan and project schedule. And that each affects the other in the project development process. Any changes in the project plan will increase or decrease the project schedule and vice versa. Thus, it is essential for PMPs to understand the concepts of project plan and project schedule properly if they want to work in the project management field. Through professional project management training like PMP Training Melbourne, aspiring PMPs can gain an in-depth understanding of these important project management concepts. Getting trained and earning a PMP Certification will earn them recognition in the industry.