Once a program plan is approved, good scheduling is the heart of the program management process. Program schedules provide adequate time to ensure that the work breakdown is comprehensive and respond to the customer requirement and product functionality. Before a schedule is drawn up, the work must be clearly defined in Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Scheduling requires allocation of human resources - people who would be doing the. This requires efficient staff availability. The integrity of a schedule is only as good as the depiction of the work, the processes in place to do the work, resource accessibility and the obligation of the people who are slated to do the work. It becomes more complicated when there are several programs or projects functioning at the same time, where staff time is always limited by previous commitments driven by earlier or concurrent projects and by unplanned work. An effective quality and communication process and commitment of the individuals doing the work drive successful schedules. Product specification changes that impact schedules are approved by the program manager and departments involved. So the program manager initiates two kinds of changes which we will learn about in the following section.
In a project, the program manager starts two kinds of changes - Schedule updates based on tracking information, such as percentage completed. The program manager takes care of changes of customer inputs, design change notices and other substantial changes in the scope of work. Affected department managers and the suitable program manager must agree to all time related changes. Good program management requires that there be a process to plan for the acquisition of future resources, to allocate current and projected resources to schedules and to make shifts in resource management as required. After the baseline schedule is saved, the director of product development must approve any slips or changes in scheduled milestones on the significant path and review all risks in monthly program reviews.