Not many beginners are able to adjust to their role as project managers and face multiple complications in the process. People who are new to the job of a project manager face challenges in some processes and might take some time to adjust to the requirements.
Project management can certainly be a giant leap for individuals who were previously scheduling their own work but now have to look after the schedule of their entire teams. As difficult as this may sound, it isn’t that challenging for new project managers to learn project scheduling, especially in relatively difficult projects.
In this article, we look at some tips beginners can follow in regard to their project schedule. We introduce you to project scheduling concepts and ensure that you head out as a pro at scheduling and task management.
What is Project Scheduling?
As you can tell by now, project scheduling is a lot more complex than the weekly notes and plans you make for yourself. Project scheduling is usually done by creating a manual or digital document, which mentions the entire breakdown of the project timeline and the resources that will be needed to complete all tasks within the project.
Project schedules are accessible to all team members and need to be thorough and accurate in nature. While changes can be made to schedules, it is a good practice to create a realistic schedule that does not require changes later down the line.
Reasons to Create a Project Schedule
Project scheduling is important to project success because of the following reasons:
· When done right, project scheduling can help the project run smoothly and come to its desired conclusion.
· Committing to a specific project schedule right at the start of the project will give you a clear indication of the requirements to be followed during the process and how you can meet procurement needs.
· A project schedule is handed over to all stakeholders and can give you the time to alert suppliers and clients about future demands and needs.
· A project schedule keeps everyone on track and holds relevant departments accountable for delays within their schedules.
Project Scheduling Steps
If you’re still wondering how to create a project schedule for your organization, then worry no more. A project schedule is created using the following simple steps:
Plan Schedule Management
The groundwork or the primary role for a decent project schedule is to establish and identify the documentation guidelines, company policies, procedures and deadlines that will govern your project from the day of its start to its end.
A schedule management plan helps you create the final schedule and lists down all available resources, along with the contingencies and emergencies that may most likely pop up during the course of the project.
A schedule management plan also lists down all project stakeholders and the delivery patterns they would like to follow. The schedule plan also entails the right personnel who can make changes to the schedule and the processes to be followed in the case of a change.
Define Project Activities
The second step in the project scheduling phase is to determine the specific activities that you will work on during the project and the amount of prioritization and time each one of these activities will require. This is a simple process, which usually follows a simple process to create a list of tasks that are to be completed for the project to be delivered successfully.
When working on complex projects, with multiple activities running concurrently, you may benefit from visualizing your project activities and their durations in the form of a chart. Specifying a time for each activity can be a bit troublesome. However, if you aren’t able to decide, follow the 8/80 rule. Each activity should take between eight to eighty hours.
Determine Dependencies in Activities
Once you have listed down all the tasks and the activities that you will be working on during the project, it is necessary that you carefully mention which activity will follow which and the flow of dependencies. Obviously, you will only be able to start specific activities after the other activity they are supposed to follow is fully completed. Correctly define all dependencies and show them in your schedule.
After you determine dependencies, you can easily sequence your activities, based on tasks that need to be done first, and others that follow. The order in which the project activities are performed should be authentic, as failure here can lead to major delays and losses.
Each activity or task that you work on during the project will require certain resources in the form of personnel, tools, costs and workspace requirements. You should consider these resources and put an estimate in front of each activity.
Time is a resource as well, which is why you should estimate durations as well while making the schedule. Mention the estimated time it should take for different activities to finish. This estimate should be based on an educated guess rather than just blind assumptions.
If you don’t have industry data or experience to work on, you should break the durations down to your estimates of the best, worst and likeliest situations.
Monitor and Control
Once you create your project schedule, you should monitor and control it for the best results. This step is ongoing and continues throughout the course of the project. Keep an eye out on your progress and the initial schedule to ensure that you’re on track.
It is vital to have an authentic project schedule to act as your timeline for the length of the project. Make sure you monitor and control your timeline to avoid conflicts.