The preparation of program schedules should be done within a formal structure. The procedures to be followed should be specified, to include such things as software applications to be used, the formats for displays, and the type of symbols to be used. Also, clear lines of authority and responsibility should be established.
A five (5) step process for schedule preparation that is commonly used in program/project management includes: 
- Activity Definition: involves the identification and definition of those activities that must be accomplished to achieve the objectives.
- Activity Sequencing: involves the accurate identification of constraints/relationships among activities and establishing the order in which the activities will be accomplished.
- Activity Duration Estimation: determination of the time required to complete the activities that make up the program.
- Schedule Development: involves the development of realistic start and finish dates for each activity.
- Schedule Control: identify schedule variations and to manage actual changes to the developed schedules.
Scheduling is critical to the successful execution of the planning and controlling functions of program management. In the planning phase, it contributes to the development of detailed plans and budgets and to identification and allocation of required resources throughout program activities. During this phase, a set of integrated multi-layered schedules that tie together all program activities, showing their logical relationships and any constraints is developed. The level of detail developed for these schedules depends on program scope and risk. This process provides a hierarchy of functional and layered schedules that can be useful in monitoring and controlling program progress. 
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