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Master Schedule and Milestone Schedule

The schedule includes at least the list of work activities, their durations, resources, and planned start and finish dates. PMBOK 6

Master Schedule

A summary-level project schedule that identifies the major deliverables and work breakdown structure components and key schedule milestones. PMBOK 6

Master Schedule refers to a plan for individual merchandise to be created such as manufacture, employment, record etc. Typically, it is associated to manufacturing where the plan reveals when and how much every product will be demanded. A project manager along with the team develop individual schedules that assist in keeping track of various processes involved in a project. Every schedule keeps the track of a specific component in the project with a more specified scale. Considering the big picture of the project to be accomplished, it is often challenging to maintain track of all individual schedules and that leads to a master schedule for the project. The master schedule is the representation of an all-together summary of the project and would be used for communication with stakeholders particularly senior management. It identifies the major deliverables along with the components of the work breakdown structure.

Project Schedule. An output of a schedule model that presents linked activities with planned dates, durations, milestones, and resources.

What Are Schedule Levels From Level 1 to 5, by HANY ISMAIL, MSC, PMP

Milestone Schedule

According to PMBOK Guide, a milestone is an important event in the project usually after achievement of a foremost deliverable.

The milestones comprise of all project processes and sequenced steps required to execute a project. It’s essential for the schedule to include milestones for preparing, developing, evaluating and reporting the project’s execution. The milestones are typically the projected dates based on an anticipated grant award. While the project team works on the individual components of the project, its crucial for the project manager to effectively use all resources required for tracking of individual components. During the process of coordinating and keeping track of varying components of a project, the project manager often devises multiple individual schedules. One important schedule that needs to be well-maintained and referred throughout the project’s lifecycle is a milestone schedule.

Milestone. A significant point or event in a project, program, or portfolio. PMBOK 6

A milestone schedule refers to a summary level schedule that helps the project team in reviewing and tracking of all other project milestones that already exist during the implementation of the project. Some examples of milestones include project start and end, a sign of contact, kick-off meeting and starting or completion of a specific project phase. Milestones are defined as 0 duration date on the schedule. When looking to identify milestones you should look to the significance of the mark, as well as its impact on the project, and the value of completion

Milestone Schedule. A type of schedule that presents milestones with planned dates. PMBOK 6


Schedules are typically created at the beginning of a project and updated and reported regularly. Speaking of the differences between the two above mentioned terms, the degree of detail in a milestone schedule is somewhat lower than the master schedule. A milestone schedule primarily includes all important project milestones while the master schedule is a summary level project schedule comprising of milestones, key deliverables, and work breakdown structure. Milestone planning often focuses on milestones instead of activities. For instance, a company’s strategic goals, significant events, and major deliverables are demonstrated in milestone schedules. On the other hand, a master schedule is the project’s initial communication tool among stakeholders which shows the key milestones, deliverables, and work breakdown structure activities.

Other Schedules

In order to have a successful project, schedules are important. Schedules define activities, their relationships, the start/end dates, resources, cost, deliverables and many other important information. Following are some different forms of schedules you may find on any project

  • Project schedule
  • Baseline schedule
  • Master schedule : This schedule will outline the goals of the Owner for the project with respect to time.
  • Milestone schedule
  • Work schedule

Further Readings

  1. What Are Schedule Levels From Level 1 to 5
  2. Tips for making strong milestone schedule

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