Project Schedule Management - How to Plan, Develop, Maintain, and Control?

Project Schedule Management- How to Plan, Develop, Maintain, and Control

In every organization, projects are an essential method to build value. Running an organization with a lack of ideas and no proper schedules planned for projects would lead to failure. No matter what the size or scope of your project is, the project schedule articulates when each activity should be done, what is already done, and the sequence in which things needs to be finished.

In the present business environment, each organization ought to have the ability to manage and schedule with close-fitting budgets, resource scarcity, and the most recent technology patterns.

This article discusses how project managers should implement certain factors on planning, developing, maintaining and controlling the project schedule.

What is Schedule Management

Schedule management is a procedure that requires an establishment of policies and documentation for maintaining, developing, managing and controlling the schedules for time and resources for completion of the project. The strategic benefit of the schedule management process is, it will monitor and manage the schedule throughout the project.

Schedule Management plan

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The procedure of scheduling begins with the projects that are expected to deliver according to the requirements of the stakeholder. Schedule Management includes the technical work that generates productivity and brings in change that handles aspects such as risk management and stakeholder management.

Project Schedule in Project Management ― Explained!

Project Schedule is a technique that imparts what work should be performed, which resource of the organization will perform the work and the time spans in which that work should be performed. The project schedule ought to reflect the majority of the work related with handing over the task on time. Without a complete schedule, the project manager will be not able unable to communicate regarding cost and resources that is important to deliver the project.

Some softwares allow project managers to track project schedules, resources, budgets, and project related assets in real time. The project schedule can be updated and viewed by colleagues related with the task that keeps everyone keeping everybody everyone well informed on the overall project status.

Project Schedule Planning in Project Management!

The procedure of building policies, methodology, and project documentation gives direction and guidance on how the task timetable will be overseen all through the project. The intention of a project schedule is organized and focused based on the advancement of the Schedule Management Plan.

The project plans should consider the following aspects,

Aspects of Project Plan

The planning of the project schedule is an essential activity that incorporates identifying of the project activities, sequencing them and defining objectives for those activities alongside the project schedule management plan. As relevant as the project management scheduling ability is by all accounts, competency ought to obtain with significant experience.

Develop Project Schedule in Project Management!

Developing Project Schedule refers to planning the timing and sequence of project activities.

A project schedule assigns work to be done and indicates due dates to complete the tasks and deliverables. The project schedule portrays:

  1. Time (duration) estimates for all project tasks

  2. Start and finish dates for the tasks

  3. Names of staff resources assigned to complete the tasks

  4. Sequence of tasks

A noteworthy segment of a project schedule is a work breakdown structure (WBS). The project schedule is built to reflect the work breakdown structure.

Project scheduling is the key to ensuring the original project plan, and the final project outcome is at least close enough to call the project a success. Developing project schedules helps the project team to keep the necessary activities on track. PMBOK's Schedule Management knowledge area explains the critical processes in developing a project schedule.

5 Steps that help to Develop a Schedule in a Project

Project Management has always been fascinating by how things work and how to make things work better. Thus, a project schedule comes through the planning phase of any project. Below mentioned are the means that is expected to schedule a project:

  1. Define activities lets project managers use the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and a deliverables diagram to establish and start the assignments that are essential to finish on time. Thus ensuring they aware of what activities has to be included in the plan.

  2. Sequence activities helps to determine the relationship between the project activities. The ordering of the tasks and identification of dependencies (Finish to start, Finish to Finish, Start to Start, Start to Finish) is the next step.

  3. Do Estimates. The project team has the activities defined and the tasks in a breakdown structure; the following stage is to choose the time utilization to complete the project. To calculate schedule, having an estimation of what to do, how to do, and the essential part of the equation is to what extent should a project take to finish.

  4. Determine Dependencies. Projects aren't simple always. On a regular basis, a project can't be started until the one in the process is finished. This is called task dependencies. Consequently, your schedule will need to reflect on these connected projects. As project supervisors, you can likewise pursue a methodology by monitoring your schedule to suit these related projects.

  5. The last step is to Assign Resources to finish your planned schedule. It picks what resources you should complete the given assignments on time. As a project management team, you need to have the right resources and their time ought to be considered to plan the assignments.

When you have intended to formulate the schedule for a project, get the feedback from your manager and roll out the essential changes that have to be finished. You'll need to estimate the project plan before you move on to executing the plan. Once the project is in progress, it’ll help you compare on the planned versus actual dates. Consider the task's goals that assist you to set up a schedule once you complete the process.

Recommended Strategies on How to Develop a Project Schedule

   What to do  How to do it

 1

Determine the tasks to be placed in the schedule

Refer to the tasks identified in the work breakdown structure.

 2

Determine the relationships between the tasks

Identify tasks that must be completed before other tasks can begin. Identify tasks that can be done while other tasks are being performed.

  • A network diagram (a precedence diagramming method) can be used to diagram the dependencies.

 3

Assign each task to specific staff

This establishes ownership for the task.

Assigning the right person to the right task is one of the most critical factors in a project’s ultimate success.

 4

Estimate the amount of effort required for each task

Work with individual team members or others who have experience with this type of project.

Base the estimate on an assumed level of skill.

Document assumptions used in estimating.

 

 5

Consider the other variables that go into building the schedule

 Example variables to consider:

  • Project Constraints

  • Assumptions

  • Lead and lag time (delay) of materials

  • When, where or how the task must be performed

  • Project risks

  • The realities of vacations, meetings, discussions and staff interactions, and any ongoing responsibilities team members may have.

  • Staff Training time

 6

Build a time reserve into the schedule for contingencies and unforeseen events

A contingency is a specific provision for unforeseeable elements that could cause schedule delay.

How much time contingency to allow can depend on:

  • The degree of acceptable risk for delays

  • The completeness of the project definition

  • How well the work will be managed

A good rule of thumb for schedule contingency is 20%, but a project can include more or less based on the factors above.

 7

Identify the project’s critical path

The critical path is a project management technique that analyzes what activities have the least amount of scheduling flexibility (i.e., are the most important) and then predicts project duration based on the activities that fall along the “critical path.”

Activities that lie along the critical path cannot be delayed without delaying the finish time for the entire project.

If the critical path exceeds a required deadline, review methods to shorten the critical path.

 
 8

Check to see if the staff is over-allocated

If the staff is over-allocated, figure out a way to level the team so they are assigned the right amount of work.

Possible actions

  • Modify the schedule to accommodate the constraint

  • Provide additional resources for the task

  • Reduce task or project scope

  • Make any adjustments to the staffing plan

Caution: There is an overhead cost for bringing new staff up to speed. Not all team is truly interchangeable. The skill level of the new person may affect the time to complete and the quality of the work. Contract staff may need more oversight.

 9

Repeat steps 3 and 5-8 until a baseline is established. 

Developing the project schedule is an iterative process.

10 

Place the schedule information in a Gantt chart

 Place the tasks, milestones, relationships, staff assigned, durations and work estimates in a Gantt chart to show the detailed timing of the project.

A Gantt chart graphically represents a project by showing each task as a horizontal bar whose length is the time needed to complete the task.

Various project management tools can generate Gantt charts. Other formats can be used to display the schedule information based on the needs and preferences of your customer.

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Maintaining the Project Schedule in Project Management!

Amid the essential project management abilities, booking can influence, either decidedly or unfavorably, the most territories inside a task. Inadequate project schedules can create hindrance to your project schedule management thus creating an interruption for individuals and production equipment leading to project failures.

Here are a few techniques that can help you maintain your entire project schedule:

  1. Planning about the Project: A successful project is all about planning. A well-designed project plan will save the time, cash, and a considerable measure of cerebral pains once the undertaking dispatches. To begin with, creating a project plan, should focus on the following components:

    Components in a project

    Once the project plan is ready, present it to all the board members to utilize it as the road-map during the project.

  2. Maintain the project on Track: A clearly and well-defined project plan can help guide a project team throughout the project. A constant reviewing, revising, and monitoring the project is also necessary from the start until the end of the project.

    Tips to keep projects on track

  3. Utilize Project Management Software: Regardless of how detailed the project plan is and how prepared you are, project managers face a lot of challenges. Gratefully, technology has made overseeing everything from online life records to client connections more powerful and advantageous. Project managers likewise prefer to get access to software’s that have made their lives simpler.

  4. Time Management: For every project management team, it's always an advantage to be skilled in effectively managing the time in the workplace. While there are varieties of methods that a project management team could use to deal with the opportunity, here are a few best techniques to follow:

    1. Delegate Tasks

    2. Prioritize your tasks

    3. Run more effective meetings

    4. Learn to say ‘no.’

    5. Write tomorrow’s task today

  5. Celebrate the success: Once the project completes by implementing the right strategies, the ultimate opportunity for the project management team is to celebrate. A well-known approach to observe is by going out to have a team dinner or have a few celebratory drinks. Rewarding the team with certification or thanking the team in person is also a good sign.

“Control Project Schedule” in Project Management

Control a Schedule in a Project Management signifies the approach to monitor the status of the project, and consequently, update and manage the project changes to the scheduled baseline to accomplish the goal.

This procedure helps to decrease the threat of delivery slippage when handled well. Besides monitoring the status, schedule control process updates projects and manages the change in the schedule so that project managers can achieve the goal.

Controlling the project schedule

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Control the Project Schedule: Techniques

  1. By utilizing Earned Value Management (EVM) the schedule variance and schedule performance index are employed to survey the scope of schedule changes.

  2. In schedule control, it is essential to decide if the schedule variation needs corrective action. For instance, if a project gets interrupted leads to a negative impact on the schedule plan and thus requiring immediate action.

  3. Utilize the critical chain scheduling method; you are allowed to compare the amount of defense needed and the remaining security to regulate the schedule status.

  4. The measurements of Schedule performance are utilized to evaluate the amount of variation to the original schedule baseline. The aggregate float variance is likewise a vital module to assess project time performance.

  5. Essential aspects of project schedule control incorporate deciding the reason and level of change in respect to the schedule baseline and choosing whether the corrective or preventive action is required.

Conclusion

By not utilizing the right procedure for project schedule things can go wrong with any given project. And this is the time that you think of something to be simplified and track the progress of your project as needed.

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