Tips for Scheduling Projects

Scheduling is an essential part of managing any project.

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Versions 8.1, 8.2 & 8.3 Professional Client & Optional Client

Great books for Oracle Primavera P6

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.

Related Article

How to Fix the Formatting Bars Issues in Primavera P6 8.2

Formatting Bars Issues in Primavera P6 8.2

There are a number of issues with the Primavera P6 standard bar formatting in version 8.2 that need to be understood so the user may display the activity bars logically:

Actual, Remaining Critical and Remaining Critical Bars

It is recommended that you use the Primavera default bar display options displaying the Actual Work (this bar is displayed from the Start date to the Data Date), Remaining Work and Critical Remaining Work bars (these bars are displayed from the Data Date to the Finish date with the appropriate filter).

This is because the Early bar will not display actual progress as in other software packages. Please read the Understanding Dates section in the Tracking Progress chapter to understand how the dates are calculated that are used to draw each bar.

Total Float Bar

The Total Float Bar is called the Float Bar in the Bars form which is inconsistent terminology.

By default a Total Float bar is displayed on a completed task, but the Float value is set to “Null” (which is displayed as a blank). It is not logical to display a float bar when there is no float value:

formatting total bar float in p6

  • To prevent this from happening you should edit the total Float Bar Filter in the Bars form so it is only displayed for Not Started or In Progress activities:

formatting bars in p6 8.2

formatting bars in p6 version 8.2

  • This is what it should look like now:

formatting bars in primavera p6

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Related Article

Primavera P6 Training Tips Sydney – How to Open a New Project

project planning and control using primavera p6 version 8.2CREATING A NEW PROJECT IN PRIMAVERA P6

There are several methods to create a new project from the Projects Window:

  • Run the Create New Project wizard, or
  • Copy an existing project and edit it, or
  • Import a project created from another Primavera database or created with another software program such as P3, SureTrak or Microsoft Project, or Asta Powerproject.

Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Version 8 Web has introduced project templates and dropped Methodology Manager/Project Architect.

Creating a Blank Project

You may create a new project at any point in time by selecting File, New…from the menu or clicking on the  icon on the Edit toolbar. You will be guided through the Create a New Project wizard which will require the following information:

  • The EPS Node the project is to be assigned to.
  • The Project ID, a code to represent the project (a maximum of 20 characters), and Project Name.
  • A Planned Start date, which is the earliest date any un-started activity will be scheduled to commence and an optional Project Must Finish By date.
    NOTE: Be sure to check the Start Time.
  • When a Project Must Finish By date is set the project float will be calculated to this date and not to the latest activity finish.

new project p6 tips

open new project in p6

  • The Responsible Manager is selected from the OBS structure. If the OBS has not been defined or the responsibility not assigned then Enterprise may be selected as the Responsible Manager.
  • The Resource Rate Type. Each resource may have five different rates. This is where the default rates are selected but may be changed after a resource has been assigned to an activity.

new project in p6Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Project Management Training – Planning and Scheduling Software

isbn#9781921059575 _Oracle Primavera P6 Training manual_V8-1Understanding Planning and Scheduling Software

Project Planning and scheduling software enables the user to:

  • Enter the breakdown structure of the project deliverables or products into the software. This is often called a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or Product Breakdown Structure (PBS),
  • Break a project down into the work required to create the deliverables and enter these into the software as Activities under the appropriate WBS,
  • Assign durations, constraints, predecessors and successors of the activities and then calculate the start and finish date of all the activities,
  • Assign resources and/or costs, which represent people, equipment or materials, to the activities and calculate the project resource requirements and/or cash flow,
  • Optimise the project plan,
  • Set Baseline Dates and Budgets to compare progress against,
  • Use the plan to approve the commencement of work,
  • Record the actual progress of activities and compare the progress against the Baseline and amend the plan when required, allowing for scope changes, etc.,
  • Record the consumption of resources and/or costs and re-estimate the resources and/or costs required to finish the project, and
  • Produce management reports.

There are four modes or levels in which project management planning and scheduling software may be used:



Without Resources LEVEL 1

Planning without Resources


Tracking progress without Resources




Planning with Resources


Tracking progress with Resources

As the level increases, the amount of information required to maintain the schedule will increase and, more importantly, your skill and knowledge in using the software will increase.

Enterprise Project Management

Primavera is an Enterprise Project Management software package that enables many projects to be managed in one database.

These projects may be summarized under a hierarchical structure titled the Enterprise Project Structure (EPS). This function is similar to summarizing activities of a project under a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

An EPS is used for the following purposes:

  • To manage user access to projects within the database.
  • To manage activities over multiple projects that have a common interest, such as a critical resource.
  • Top-down budgeting of projects and resources that may later be compared to the bottom-up or detailed project estimates.
  • To allow standardized reporting of all projects in the database.

Primavera has a function titled Portfolios that enables a limited number of projects to be viewed at a time. For example, Portfolio would enable you to view projects in a physical area, or of a specific type or client.

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Expert Project Planning, Scheduling and Project Controls Books and Training Material

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