Creating a project schedule
For a project schedule to have value it must be detailed and dynamic enough for you to be able to re-forecast requirements when you identify potential problems or risks are realized. A good schedule tells you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. To get good information out of a schedule then it needs detailed information input into the system, such as:
Risks to the project. After conducting a project risk analysis input the results into the schedule. It is important to identify potential risks to plan in any extra time or resource requirements.
Project scope description. The project description outlines start and end dates for activities. It will include any assumptions built into the project plan, and list major limitations and restraints. Create milestones from stakeholder requirements.
Resource demands and project tasks. Consider what constraints you have when creating a schedule. Factor in staff capabilities and experience, resource and staff availability, and staff holidays. Everything can affect meeting the schedule.
Review the schedule
Once you have a basic schedule, it needs reviewing to ensure the resources and activity timelines line up. A few ways to this is by:
Balancing resources. There will always be a need to balance resources as there will be times they are unavailable or only in limited supply. This needs to be balanced to meet the resource requirements of critical project activities.
What if scenarios. What if scenarios compare different scenarios and measure the different effects for project delivery. Change production rates, staffing, shift arrangements and quantities to see how they instantly affect the schedule. You can use this to measure the results and plan to mitigate future risks.
Now the initial schedule review is complete, get team input. After all they are the ones doing the job. Their insights and predictions are relevant and, usually, accurate.
There are a range of scheduling tools on the market that can turn your information into an interactive, useful plan to complete your projects on time and on budget every single time.