Creating Project Schedule

Project schedule is crucial for the project success, however, one of the common misconceptions about project management is that it is just scheduling. It is important to know that scheduling is certainly a major tool used to manage projects, but it is not nearly as important as developing a shared understanding of what the project is supposed to accomplish or constructing a good work breakdown structure  to identify all the work to be done. People today tend to acquire project schedule software for the project management and and think that will make them instant project managers. They soon find that that idea is wrong. In fact, it is nearly impossible to use the project schedule software effectively unless you understand project management.

Project Schedule Method Overview

Before the 1950s, the only tool for project scheduling was the bar chart . Because Henry Gantt developed a complete notational system for showing progress with bar charts, they are often called Gantt charts. They are simple to construct and read and remain the best tool to use for communicating to team members what they need to do within given time frames.

Bar charts do have one serious drawback: it is very difficult to determine the impact one task on the rest of the project. The reason is that the bar chart did not show the interdependence of the work.

To overcome this problem, two project schedule methods were developed: one is the Critical Path Method (CPM), and the other is Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). The key benefit of using the two methods is that you can tell whether it is possible to meet an important project completion date, and you can also tell exactly when various tasks must be finished in order to meet that deadline. Furthermore, you can tell which tasks have some leeway and which do not. In fact, both CPM and PERT determine the critical path, which is defined as the longest series of activities and which therefore governs how early the project can be completed.

How to create project schedule

The primary reason for creating project schedule is to ensure that the deadline can be met. Most projects have a deadline imposed. Furthermore, since the critical path method helps identify which activities will determine the end date, it also helps guide how the project should be managed. However, it is easy to get carried away with scheduling and spend all of your time updating, revising, and so on.

Project schedule needs to consider the resources allocation. It is also very easy to create schedules that look good on paper but don’t work in practice. The main reason is usually that resources are not available to do the work when it comes due. In fact, unless resource allocation is handled properly, schedules are next to useless. It is essential to take into account when planning your project schedule.

Project schedule needs to consider the development process. There are two ways you can develop a schedule. One is to begin at the end and work backward until you arrive at the beginning. The second method is to start at the beginning and work toward the end. Usually, it is easiest to start at the beginning.

The first step is to decide what can be done first. Sometimes several tasks can start at the same time. In that case, you simply draw them side-by-side and start working from there. The next step is to figure out how long it will take to do the job. Time estimates for each task are made by using history and experience using your best knowledge.