Anyone in project management has been (or will be) asked to produce a schedule for their next project. This task is never easy and here are some steps you can take that may help you when the time comes for you to estimating on your next project.
Define your scope of work
It is important to define your scope of work before you start planning a project. The scope of work describes the project from start to finish, including what is in and out of the project, how it will be done and how long it will take. It should also include all resources needed for the completion of the project. The scope of work is a living document that evolves over time as you progress with your project. It is important to review and update your scope on a regular basis. This ensures that you are still on track with the vision and goals that were originally set at the beginning of your project.
Understand what is task and what it is not
There are many misconceptions regarding project scheduling. For instance, a task is not a task if it is not time-based. In other words, if the assigned date is not relevant to the project, it cannot be considered as a task. Thus, if an activity of eight weeks is embedded into a project, but its start and end do not depend on any external event (e.g. construction start), such activity cannot be considered as a task in scheduling software. If your activity is non-time-based, you should rather design a workflow that explains how it must be done. With regards to the resources involved in project scheduling, you need to assign them along with their skills to the tasks. The skills set of each resource should comprise one or more skill codes that describe what exactly this person can do. As for roles, they should be assigned to both the resources and tasks; this way the scheduler will know who is responsible for doing what at which time and make changes when necessary. In addition to the abovementioned aspects of project scheduling, you may also want to include some other specific concepts like milestones or deliverables in your workflows; however, these are less important than the mentioned aspects since they do not affect how tasks are scheduled in detail.
Use Milestones to Help Track Progress
Milestones are a fantastic way to break down large tasks, and it works especially well for projects. Let’s say you have a project that involves writing an ebook and then marketing it. If you add Milestones for “Writing Ebook” and “Marketing Ebook,” you can see at a glance where you’re holding up and how far along you are. And if you use the percent complete field on each Milestone, you’ll be able to track your progress on both tasks at the same time! This is a great way to keep tabs on both where you’re going and how quickly you’re getting there.
Brainstorm at a white board
The most productive brainstorming sessions are done at a whiteboard. Depending on your capabilities in a remote-work environment, you may consider this technique or some virtual version of it. Here are some of the reasons why:
- No Distractions – When you work on a whiteboard you can’t “distract” yourself with news, Facebook, and the Internet.
- Focus on Content, not Design – You have to think about what you write and design your own template for what you want to accomplish.
- Group Interaction – When you work at a whiteboard, others in the group can interact with your ideas. They can add their own thoughts and modify yours.
- Easy to Change – You can’t change things easily on a computer – but when you work at a whiteboard, it’s easy to modify your ideas.
- Fast – When you work at a whiteboard, you don’t have to wait for the computer to load!
- More Fun – It is more fun working at a whiteboard than sitting in front of a computer.
Set your priorities when scheduling your project
For some people, the easiest way to schedule a project is to figure out all the tasks that need to be done and then put them in order. Tasks are often broken down into subtasks, and those might be further divided into more detailed steps. The disadvantage of this approach is that it’s difficult to see the big picture when you’re focusing on small details. It’s also easy for something to fall through the cracks if several people are involved in coordinating different parts of the project. A better way to organize your project is by establishing a set of priorities. This helps you avoid getting bogged down in minutiae and gives you an overall view of what needs to be accomplished. It can also help you spot potential problems before they become major roadblocks. For example, if a particular task requires input from multiple people and one of those people is going to be out of town during the time period you’ve scheduled for that task, it’s best to address that issue sooner rather than later so you can get everyone on board with your revised schedule.
Creating a schedule that works
Project scheduling means creating a plan that identifies the activities needed to complete a project and when they will take place. It helps you to define the tasks needed to accomplish the project and schedule them in order of priority. Scheduling is essential for planning and tracking progress, as well as for keeping the project on track. To be effective, you need to not only identify activities and their dependencies, but also understand how long each activity will take. This is where good project management software can come in handy. It can help you manage your resources more effectively while still allowing you to spend time managing your projects instead of managing your schedule.
For a project to be successful, it is important that there is proper planning. This will ensure that the project is completed on time and within the budget that has been set out for it. Scheduling for a project helps keep the project organized and ensures that tasks are completed in the correct order. This allows you to get a better understanding of how your project will run, making it easier to estimate costs and helps you run into less problems along the way.
Defining tasks, using milestones, brainstorming, and employing software tools can help you along the way and bring you towards your goal of successfully managing a project.