Scheduling is an essential part of managing any project.
It is the reason for the success of the project itself and can help identify the duration of the whole project as well as the various milestones that are put in place.
The project schedule acts like a map that helps you manage each piece of the project in a timely and logical order based on specific outcomes. Without a properly prepared project schedule, no project can be expected to be completed on time or within budget.
No matter how grand or how small your project may be, it is very important that you include the schedule as part of the project planning phase. It tells you when something is completed, what has already been done, and in which order certain tasks must be undertaken.
The following are some tips on scheduling projects:
1. Know how important the schedule is
An experienced project scheduling manager must be concerned with every aspect of the project. The schedule is the foundational tool for all project managers.
Once the managers know the importance of the schedule, then they able to better control their projects and implement the areas, phases, and resources accordingly.
2. Know the availability of your members
You must know the availability of your project team members so that you can integrate this in your scheduling plan. Also, knowing the availability of your team members can help you identify the duration of the project and who should be assigned each task.
Having plotted a schedule without knowing the availability of your team members can cause a lot of stress and adjustments would have to be made. This could result in the delay or failure of your project as a whole.
As a matter of fact, knowing the availability of your team members is absolutely critical to all project scheduling.
3. Create the schedule based on deliverables
Scheduling a project based on tasks can cause a lot of problems. It is, therefore, more advisable that the schedule should revolve around the deliverables. Meaning, the schedule is dependent on the dates of the deliverables, which act as deadlines for the completion of tasks comprising each phase.
Project managers should plot a schedule on deliverables since these are tangible and verifiable. As a result, you are sure that you would be able to complete the task or make the delivery.
4. Include Milestones
Milestones are also an essential aspect of any project as they signify important events or mark an end of a task.
It can also identify how far you are in the project plan. It serves as a checkpoint to make sure that you are on the right path and all resources are in place.
5. Have a backup plan as schedules can change
Do know that plotting schedules require only estimates. They act only as guides in finishing your projects on time.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances that are beyond our control. Thus, it is always best to have a backup plan and to have enough time in case the schedule might really change.
This will create leads and lags which are a part of every type of project. People get sick, machinery breaks down and contractors are not always able to supply labour as planned.
So any experienced project manager should build a project well knowing that a project is like an organic being that will change over time.
Applying these five simple tips in scheduling your project should help in improve the success of your project.