The timing of a project is one of the three major limitations that can hinder a project. Project managers always make it part of their comprehensive project plan to include the schedule of a project. For some planners, this is the most important factor because it determines the difference between a successful project and a failed project. Project schedule management embodies time-related costs, budget, availability of personnel, the viability of the project, resource allocation, and process viability. A project schedule will set the expectations of a project’s timelines, and procedures and also help in implementing the plans needed for projects.
What is Schedule management?
Schedule management is the organization of milestones, deliverables, activities, dates, and events to occur within a project. Schedule management uses forecast developed dates and policies to allow project managers to actively monitor, control, and complete projects without hindrances. Appropriate schedule management will contribute to the success and quality of a project and ensure efficient resource utilization.
What is involved in schedule management?
Projects vary in their needs with timelines, size, and resources. Hence, project management plans consider the crucial areas that will increase the chances of success. When creating a schedule management plan, every affected team member should be involved to clearly define activities to ensure the accuracy and proper estimation of factors that will affect a project.
Understanding project objectives
The objective of the project should always come first. Every key player needs to determine what it means to have successfully implemented a project. The goals and other initiatives of the organization helps to clarify the objectives. This stage also determines how project goals can be broken down in major milestones. At this stage, you may discover that some project objectives are time sensitive and may rank higher in priority than others. Understanding project objectives will help in formation of other documents such as;
- Scope management plan
- Resource management plan
- Communications management plan
- Risk management plan
- Stakeholder engagement plan
- Requirements management plan
Identify performance measures and deliverables
A clear understanding of a project’s goals and objectives will help determine the important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to judge the efficiency of a project. Schedule managers can then successfully set the expectations of every party involved to determine the time frame of their deliverables and create the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Identifying Methodology for Schedule management
Project managers are often left to choose between adaptive schedule management and predictive schedule management. Both are methodologies that will determine the flexibility and prioritization of projects. This is a defining stage; every drawback and benefit should be considered depending on the context and type of project pursued.
Selecting a project scheduling software
Not all projects need a scheduling software. Smaller-scale projects without a complicated WBS can be achieved without scheduling software. For more complex tasks, the project methodology should be considered before selecting a scheduling management software. Organizations may have existing software applications, but if a new software is chosen their selection should incorporate implementation and training, a detail that most companies overlook.
Identify available resources and dependencies needed for project activities
The availability of resources can determine the efficiency of a project. Project managers will need to determine dependencies. These are processes that need to be completed before the progress of another. Estimation of resources needed as well as dependencies will help project managers to estimate and plan for changes that may occur during the implementation of projects.
Dependencies may constrain a project because tools, equipment, material, or personnel (all types of resources) may not be available at the time the task was scheduled to begin. Another type of dependency is when one task may not begin before a previous task has been completed. Finally, tasks may be dependent because one task may not finish before a prior task finishes. All of these scenarios must be considered when developing the project schedule.
Monitor progress and schedule reports
Project schedule management reports are necessary to ensure that the plan stays on track always. Involved team members should be acquainted with how to draft and submit individual reports for quality maintenance.
Schedule management helps ensures the success of any project. Proper planning prepares every key player and sets their expectations.
At Thurman Co., we help small to medium-sized organizations with strategic, technical Project Management to ensure that they are doing the right things to keep their projects aligned with their business goals. While balancing the Project Management Triple Constraint Triangle of Scope-Cost-Schedule, we also bring in Quality, Risk, and Change management to our Projects.
Further, we provide Contract Management services to ensure that these companies reap the benefits of the Contracts that they have negotiated, are positioned to negotiate from a position of strength, and are able to monitor the Contract Lifecycle.
Finally, we also provide Supplier Management resources to strengthen their Supply Chain, in the form of Supplier Performance Reviews and Supplier Capability and Capacity Assessments. Performance Reviews identify both high and poor performing suppliers, reward the former, and identify improvement plans for the latter. Capability and Capacity Assessments can be used to identify Risk in the Supply Chain, or an organization can use them to determine their own maturity and preparedness to enter a highly regulated industry, such as automotive or aerospace.