Project Scheduling Essentials

A realistic accurate schedule is essential for implementing effective project controls and it drives continuous improvement. This course is for project managers, planners, or project controls staff, and those starting their planning/scheduling career path, who need to learn how to create and use one of the most valuable project management tools: a project schedule. This 12-hour online course with a live instructor is Part 1 of our 5-day program on Project Scheduling and Controls. It prepares participants to create realistic schedules and understand the baseline, critical path and float.

The instructor is a seasoned project scheduling professional, who has experience in a wide variety of industries and with a number of scheduling software packages (including Microsoft Project and Primavera). Examples used in the course will include construction, IT and telecommunications. In addition to scheduling theory, practitioners’ tips and tricks will be demonstrated.

We continue our tradition of experiential learning, with hands-on exercises, in which participants will use a “live” project to create a schedule, update it, and track it. Participants will practice transferring project logic into a bar chart, which is best achieved using software; therefore, it is advisable that participants have laptops loaded with scheduling software. Although scheduling software will be discussed and used, we do not teach to any specific scheduling software package. The exercises can be completed on paper if scheduling software is not available, although that typically requires more effort.

Each session is 90 minutes online with your instructor, accompanied by a 30-minute assignment to be completed before the next session. This unique professional level course is aligned with the professional credentials in planning and scheduling: PMI-SP® (Project Management Institute Scheduling Professional) and AACE PSP® (AACE International’s Planning & Scheduling Professional) and will help prepare you for those exams.

Learning objectives

Participants will gain practical skills to:

  • Create effective project schedules
  • Identify and value critical path and float (slack)
  • Use standard scheduling terminology
  • Apply best practices in scheduling projects
  • Start their preparation for the scheduling examination from PMI or AACE

Who should attend

The Project Scheduling Essentials course is appropriate for individuals who:

  • Want to improve their project controls
  • Want to pursue a career in project planning and project controls
  • Want to enhance their resume and marketability
  • Work in a project management environment, in any industry or discipline, and want to increase their scheduling knowledge
  • Want to prepare for the PMI-Scheduling Professional, or the AACE Planning & Scheduling Professional credentials


  • University degree or a technology or business diploma or two years’ experience in a project environment
  • An introductory course in project management such as Project Management Essentials is advisable
  • It is a benefit if you have taken an introductory course in scheduling software, such as Microsoft Project Essentials, or have hands-on experience with Microsoft Project or Primavera, or another similar scheduling software tool.


You will receive a link to a course binder containing a copy of the presentation slides as well as course files in Microsoft Project and Primavera.

What you will learn

Context of Schedule Management
Course logistics
Role of the project scheduler
The scheduling credentials
Principles of schedule development
Introduction to case study
Assignment: Developing case study WBS

Activity Sequencing
Assignment discussion
The master schedule
Estimating effort and duration
Tracking assumptions
Logic diagrams & dependencies
Assignment: Defining relationships

Logic Diagrams
Assignment discussion
Critical path, free float and total float
Developing a bar (Gantt) chart
Saving the schedule baseline
Assignment: Bar (Gantt) chart for sample project

Developing a Project Schedule
Assignment discussion
Duration & effort-driven scheduling
The “yellow sticky” exercise
Interpreting a real project schedule
Schedule integration
Assignment: Adding external dependencies

The Importance of Milestones
Assignment discussion
Using milestones
Identifying constraints
Schedule health check
Assignment: Alternatives identification

Fast-tracking the Schedule
Assignment discussion
Fast-tracking the schedule
Fast-tracking case study schedule
Evaluation criteria for a project schedule
Workshop: Evaluate a schedule against the criteria
Workshop: Lessons learned