What Is Project Scheduling and How It is Done?


What Is Project Scheduling and How It is Done?

The successful completion of any project depends on having a solid plan of action. Proper project management will include having a master schedule that details each stage of the project, how it is to be done, who is to do it, when it should be completed and the expected outcomes. Such elements are only possible if there is proper project scheduling.

What is Project Scheduling?

Project scheduling is documentation or a mechanism that outlines what needs to be done and in which order, the resourced required to complete the work and in what timeframe. In short, it is a masterplan that outlines the task at hand for a timely delivery or completion of the project.

Projects tend to be a multi-tasked, and each task will have projected start and its due date. The various elements of the project can be assigned to different people. But people will have varied schedules, and thus their availability, as well as vocations, may conflict with that demands of the job at hand.

Hence, project scheduling will not only focus on proper distribution and delegation of the different tasks to different people. It also focuses on scheduling those assigned work to ensure their availability are appropriately documented to coincide with the successful completion of the project.

In light to this, a properly laid down project schedule should cover:

–            The milestones of the project

–            Defining deliverables

–            Outlining tasks required for the completion of the deliverables

–            Allocating and scheduling tasks

–            Detecting dependencies

–            Identifying require resources

–            Instituting proper distribution and allocation of resources

–            Establishing time frames for each task and project’s deadline

How To Schedule A Project

Differentiating between project planning and project scheduling is essential. What you do when you schedule a project is just one part of the project planning process. The goal with scheduling is to ensure a timely completion or delivery of the work and thus a detailed schedule guides you through the entire project keeping you on track.  Putting together a project schedule will, therefore, require you to take the following steps:

  • Project Conception (The Idea)

It is vital to evaluate the project idea to determine whether or not it benefits the company or organization, the specific benefits and feasibility of the same when accounting for the costs of bringing the project to completion. It is the first phase of the scheduling process, and much of it will have to be done in writing. It will touch on major aspects of the project that include project definition and planning, project launch, how the project is anticipated to perform, and the estimated close of the project.

  • Develop Your Project Scope

Outline the expectations of the project and the necessary elements required for a timely delivery. Developing the scope of the project should involve all the stakeholders, and it should identify the resources needed, cost and make exceptions for time constraints. A definitive scope will establish and outline the tasks and have a breakdown structure that segments the work into specific deliverables.

  • Sequence Of Activities

From the details of the project scope, it will easy to know what should be done; however, the scope will not cover the how or when. For this, you need to develop a sequence that places the various tasks in a neat order based on their importance, complexity, required resources, and estimated completion. Doing this will be less tasking if you have a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) develop from the Project Scope. With is in place you can group the tasks in phases and define their deadlines and allocate them the necessary resources.

  • Map Dependencies

Some tasks may require others to start so that they can commence or end. Such dependencies should be outlined in the scheduling to ensure the relationships between the various tasks is clear for purposes of meeting the deliverables promptly. Mapping the dependencies will account for four possibilities:

i).          Finish-to-Start:         An activity runs from start to its end

ii).         Start-to-Start:         The work must begin before the next commences

iii).        Finish-to-Finish:         A task must be complete before the next one ends

iv).         Start-to-Finish:         An activity should start before the completion of the next

  • Outline Your Critical Path

For the above steps, it will be possible to outline a path that describes the sequence to be followed for linked tasks and at which intervals when working on a particular job before the next starts or ends. The path will therein define the estimated duration of the project.

  • Define Project Milestones

Having milestones will aid in knowing and ensuring that the project is on track. The milestones or benchmarks are more or less checkpoints in the project’s lifecycle that mark crucial activities. This aspect of the project scheduling depends on outlining your critical path.

  • Plan Your Human Resources

By following the steps mentioned above, it will be easier to start appointing people that will help you effect your plan. Make sure that you get the right people matching to respective tasks according to their skills sets. Ensure that you allow them to have 20% of their time address other administrative tasks so that they can give 80% of their time to the project.

  • Establish A Project Deadline

If the above steps are followed to the tee, it will be possible to make accurate estimates of how long it will take to complete the project meaning you can set an informed start and due date that everyone working on the project should note and adhere to.