Sarah Neudorf October 28, 2020 Project Management
All projects have control points and required deadlines, where progress is monitored and measured. In the event that a deadline is missed then the overall impact on project completion time can be assessed, and if necessary new timetables drawn up, re-negotiated and agreed. Action Plans are lists of tasks/individual actions that are carried out to achieve a single and objective or outcome - in this case, the specific project. Action Plans focus on the achievement of a single goal, the action may then be translated in to a to-do list/diary cum calendar which cover many goals.
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.
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.
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.
Projects tend to slip for two reasons. Either Project Managers do not account for derivative activities such as vacation days when planning the overall project schedule, or they simply succumb to the pressure from management to compress the schedule. Now, present this schedule to the management team, and 8 times out of 10, the feedback you will get is "that`s too late". Eight times out of ten, you will be asked to revise the schedule and shorten it.
The business requirements document should accurately, and in detail, describe the purpose of the project. It states what is needed to achieve that goal i.e. what is in-scope, what is out-of-scope, any assumptions that have been made, any constraints that have been imposed and expected timescales. The document will form the definitive description of the aims of the project and, as such, can be used to manage the expectations of the stakeholders. It will also include acceptance criteria that will ultimately be used to judge whether the project was a success.