Kristin Fink October 25, 2020 Project Management
With simple projects, a tool such as a Gantt chart may make over complicate the project scheduling. Unless all team members are trained in the tool then the use of the tool may itself lead to poor communication and an unsatisfactory result. A simple project such as those identified above may only require a timetable and/or an action plan. All those in the project team should be communicated with as to their tasks content and timing. Timetables can then be negotiated and agreed, actions lists or diaries/calendars can be used for recording and planning purposes.
Managers plan, execute and monitor all components of a project. They usually need tools to assist them in completing and delivering the project efficiently. Companies rely on key tools in the project management process to ensure that each task is handled satisfactorily. Project management tools are a necessity in any organization. They help keep track of all the aspects of a project to ensure it is completed on time and within allocated budget. With proper management of a project, a desired outcome is produced in a timely and cost-effective manner. And a good project management tool, whether it is a desktop or web-based solution, helps to accomplish this objective. It will define the project`s tasks, costs, scope, schedules and team members.
Now, you will notice that some of these tasks will be ongoing throughout the project, like managing team performance, assuring quality, and schedule control. Before each project, you should make a checklist and a list of deliverables that will keep you on track throughout your project. There will be a lot of similarities from project to project, so after the first time this will be very easy to do. You may want to schedule yourself to do some tasks weekly or monthly, depending on the task and the length of your project. Maybe you want to add in some of your own tasks, or maybe there are some that you can live without, but this is a great start to managing any project.
Complex projects require sophisticated software and scheduling tools, however simpler and more straightforward projects involving only a few people over a relatively short period of time require a much simpler approach. Usually, a simple project will have a few steps which are dependent on other steps taking place first, and will be relatively straightforward to coordinate. An example might be creating and implementing a marketing plan for a one person business, painting a single room, baking a cake, planning a weekend away for two, building a garden shed etc.
Prior to creating the project schedule the project manager must have a work breakdown structure (WBS), an effort estimate for each task, and a list of resources with availability for each resource. Once these data are established a project scheduling tool can automatically do much of the tedious work of calculating the schedule. However, before a project manager can use such tools, he should have an understanding over concepts like WBS, dependencies, resource allocation, critical paths etc. These are the real keys to planning a successful project.
In addition, the schedule provides project teams with a map for project execution and offers a baseline for tracking progress and managing changes. It can be used as a checklist to make sure that all necessary tasks are performed. If a task is on the schedule, the team is committed to doing it. In other words, the project schedule gives the means by which the project manager brings the team and the project under control. The visual representation of a schedule is a timeline chart. It is created such that it depicts the tasks of the projects, the duration and the sequencing of them, and the major milestones of the project. The Gantt chart is the most popular timeline chart.