Sarah Neudorf October 28, 2020 Project Management
A detailed schedule is one of the best tools that a project manager can have. By scheduling yourself in advance to do all of the necessary management tasks, you stay much more organized throughout your project. You know exactly what you need to do to get started, what you need to do for the planning stage, and so on. Plus, before you commence work on your project, you can ask yourself: how often do I want to meet with my team? how often do I want to conduct project reviews? and schedule yourself to do these periodic tasks.
Among all the tools at our disposal for managing projects, checklists are perhaps the simplest and most productive means of building consistency in work practices. Checklists are useful in almost every field of human endeavor, and in particular where repeatability and systematic action drive performance. Yet they are still much under-used in the planning and managing of projects.
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.
Can Project Managers prevent projects from slipping? Ask a techie to come up with a schedule for a specific list of activities, and more often than not, he/she will present a fairly accurate estimate. Some activities might be underestimated, others overestimated, but overall, the plan will be fairly accurate. However, something happens to these estimates between the time the techie writes them down and the time the Project Manager publishes a baseline project schedule. That "something" is why projects slip.
Project scheduling should be considered the central piece of any project management software. Without the possibility to easily schedule all the tasks of a project there would be little expectation regarding the efficiency of controlling complex projects. However a project scheduling software should simplify a project managers work and not complicate it.
The next step in project management involves determining inter-task dependencies. Once the tasks have been listed and organized into a WBS, inter-task relationships need to be established. These relationships, also called dependencies or links, exist when the start or completion of one task is somehow related to the start or completion of another task. There are three types of inter-task dependencies: finish-start, start-start, and finish-finish. The tasks that must be performed first are called the predecessor tasks and those that follow are successor tasks.