37% of projects fail due to a lack of clear strategy and goal setting.
Having a good project estimation software is important to growing a business. It brings clarity in operations, lets you set achievable goals, and handle team responsibilities with ease.
Depending on how well you manage your and your team’s schedule can define the short and long-term growth of the organization.
So, it is important to have a comprehensive project schedule in place. After reading this blog, you will be able to make and execute one with no issues.
What Is a Project Schedule?
A project schedule is a much organized and comprehensive version of a regular timetable. It contains information on all project tasks, start/end dates, activity durations, and project milestones. They also define the resources required to complete tasks and the team members working on the project.
Most project managers use time tracking software to stay on top of their project schedule. You must use good project estimation software to monitor the progress of tasks and costs in real-time. You can also use them to view dashboards, assign work, revise timelines, and much more.
Now that you have an idea of what a project schedule is, let us see how you can make it.
1. Managing Schedules
The key to having a good project schedule is to have good documentation, guidelines, policies and other things in place that will define your project.
You will also need to deal with other pressing issues and risks that may disrupt your workflow from time to time. Well, with project management software achieving all this is no longer a difficult task.
You can also use it to list project stakeholders, define individuals who will approve the schedule, and list members who need to have a copy of the same.
The project schedule will also define members who can make changes to a request and a communication plan to alert team members of the changes made.
2. Define Project Activities
Well, this can be as similar as creating a task list that needs to be completed to deliver your project. If it is a complex project, you can use your project estimation software to organize tasks and subtasks in the form of charts to stay systematic at all times.
One major challenge in this part of the project scheduling process is not knowing how to divide activities. For this, you can consider the 8/80 rule. This means that a single activity should be completed within eight to eighty hours.
You must use time tracking software to see the number of hours spent. If a task requires less than 8 hours to complete, you can group it with other tasks. However, if it takes you or a team member 80+ hours on a task, you must break it into sub-tasks.
Another advantage of using project estimation software is that it lets you divide activities such that they are measurable, well within the budget, and can be delivered within the timeline.
3. Determine Dependencies
Now that you have a list of all activities, you need to identify which tasks are dependent on others to be completed. For instance, if you are building a flat, you cannot simply put the roof till you have completed the frame.
So, you need to define all the dependencies so you can schedule and avoid project delays.
4. Set Order of Activities
Once you know the project dependencies, you can easily put them in order and sequence them. At this time, you are not assigning work in terms of hours and due dates. Instead, you need to focus on the order in which tasks will be executed.
5. Resource Estimation
Each activity or task in your project requires resources in the form of tools, personnel, workspace, and funds. Make sure you consider them using project estimation software to avoid confusion later.
You must not forget that resource allocation can drastically impact your schedule. For instance, if a team member is supposed to complete multiple tasks, it is not possible to submit all assignments at the same time.
6. Calculate Time Required For Each Activity
The next step is to calculate the time each activity will take with time tracking software. Ensure you make a correct estimate, as underestimating can lead to project delays and frustrate your customers.
At the same time, overestimating can leave resources with no work. The best way is to check your project estimation software and use data from similar projects. If you still don’t have any data to work from, you can make an estimate based on the average of most likely and the best and worst-case scenarios.
7. Develop Project Schedule
By now, you will have all the information you require to develop your project schedule. So, you can start assigning start and due dates for all activities.
One thing which you must not ignore is the in-built calendar in your project estimation software. You must not forget to include factors such as corporate functions, stakeholder events, national holidays, and other occasions that can possibly affect your schedule.
Also, if your team is on leave for four days, you will need to add that time to your deadline and manage customer expectations.
8. Monitor and Control
Unlike other steps, this one is ongoing. As a project manager, one of your main duties is to constantly monitor and control your project schedule. This involves assessing project progress, generating reports, managing performance, and communicating with the team.
There will be changes in the schedule. You must make sure that they are carried out and communicated to the team. Moreover, you will need to take corrective actions if there are any delays.
With the right time tracking software and project management techniques, you can easily stay organized and help your team stay ahead of schedule. You can even use Kanban boards to have a visual view of the project progress and keep everyone in the loop.