Alexandra Faunce October 31, 2020 Project Management
The project schedule is the central part of the project plan and it is used to connect the tasks to be done with the resources that will accomplish them. It consists of a list of deliverables with intended start and finish dates. Deliverables are the lowest level elements in a schedule, which are not further subdivided.
Most larger organisations have well developed and run IT departments. They usually have formal project offices with established plan templates and standards, with project office staff and automated plan analysis systems (for example seeking orphan tasks / missing dependencies and so on to measure overall `plan quality`). Smaller organisations - for example, `IT solutions houses` - may lack this level of sophistication but will certainly use detailed project plans.
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.
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.
Most team members often feel overwhelmed with the prospect of having to worry about timelines and tasks they need to accomplish over the duration of the work effort. Helping them to stay focused and organized is a key skill that a PM must bring to the table when running a 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.