Plan Schedule Management is the process of establishing your methodology behind planning, developing, managing, executing, and controlling your test project schedule. Note that within our context of test management this is not the detailed test execution schedule for executing a test phase, this is the overarching schedule for managing the tasks and activities required to deliver the test phase. The output from this process may be formally documented or informal, it may be a highly detailed management plan or a broadly framed and understood agreement.
Generally, when planning your schedule management you may want to incorporate and establish items such as:
- confirming the schedule tools and methodology used.
- establishing who in your team will be responsible for maintaining the schedule, and whether there are any cross-team dependencies (for example, in larger projects you may be linking in with the PMO or other teams).
- what units of measure will be used in your planning. For example, will you be basing your time assumptions on a 7.5 hour day and 5 day week? Will you need different calendars for different people or locations?
- how will the schedule be updated, and with what frequency? In larger teams you may need regular meetings to confirm schedule updates and changes.
- what is the threshold for closing a task? If some tasks need 100% completion as a prerequisite for sequencing, what is the criteria for reaching 100%?
- how will schedule updates and changes be communicated to the wider team, and by whom?
- who is the key point of contact for explaining what each task on the schedule means, and how will they be documenting / communicating those descriptions?
Depending on the size of your test management team, it may require a number of planning meetings to refine your schedule management plan. Even if you’re a team of 1, it is worth identifying the assumptions used in your schedule management and getting them reviewed by your team lead peers so that they are aware of your plan and can provide independent input where necessary.
One of the initial outputs from this process is the test project schedule model. This may also be known as a high-level plan, consolidated plan, anchor plan, plan on a page, etc but essentially it’s a high-level model summarising the key activities and dates, “modelling” the test preparation schedule.
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