Project scheduling is an important activity for managing a project. A schedule communicates to the project team members what tasks should be performed, the resources that will be utilized to perform the task, and the time frame within which the task has to be completed. The project schedule displays all the work that must be performed in a way that the project deliverables are met. Without a schedule, a project manager will not be able to meet the project goals in terms of time, cost, and other related resources.
In this article, we will share five valuable tips that can help in effective project scheduling using a work management software.
1. Define the Dependencies Clearly
Dependencies are present in almost all types of projects. Most often, a task cannot be completed unless the dependent task is finished. The dependencies must be identified before creating a schedule using a task management software. The schedule must clearly reflect all the dependencies related to a project. Also, you should consider putting a bit of slack to account for unknown dependencies that can be known only once the project has started.
2. Calculate the Exact Time Required for Completing Tasks
When creating a schedule, most project managers tend to enter a rough estimate of the time required to complete the task. This is not an effective project management strategy. The manager should go at length to determine as much exact an estimate as possible for each task. Accurate scheduling of tasks will ensure optimal project delivery that will meet and even exceed the expectation of the clients.
3. Make Sure Every Resource is Assigned a Time
Every resource should be assigned a time in hours. It’s advisable to enter some time for the tasks than no time at all. You should ensure that resources are 100 percent busy throughout the schedule of the task. This is better than the task schedule showing that the resource is doing nothing on certain days.
4. Define the Task Breakdown
Without a proper work breakdown structure, a project cannot be completed successfully. A project manager must ensure that the tasks are broken down correctly with proper deadlines. The deadlines will be of no value if the tasks are not clearly defined when scheduling. By creating a schedule after all the work has been clearly defined will make the process easier for the project manager.
5. Avoid Creating Relationship between Summary Tasks
Some project management software allow the creation of predecessor task relationship between the summary tasks. However, this will create problems as the work progresses and changes occur during the execution phase. A project schedule that has dependencies among the summary project is also not recommended by PMBOK Guide and Standards. While tasks can have predecessors or successors, the summary tasks should not have them.
Scheduling is one of the most challenging tasks for a project manager. But the process can be streamlined by making use of smart scheduling practices. Also, selecting the right task management software is important for efficient scheduling.