Brigitte Werfel November 6, 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.
One of the challenges of explaining project management to people who are unfamiliar with the approach, is that descriptions are often either so high-level as to be meaningless, or so detailed that they are overwhelming. Over the years, I have come to use a model as a framework for introducing and discussing project management tools and techniques. It can be used as the basis for a five-minute explanation of what is involved in project management, but also as an outline for more detailed discussions. The actual model can be found on the Key Consulting website under free templates and info.
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.
When it comes to choosing tools for managing a project, there are several options that are available to you. In the past several years, many tools that were in use were general purpose tools. Nowadays, software tools have been created specifically for managing projects in specific industries. In addition, these tools are available in different types such as automated tools that could be installed on local computers or on a network server where different users can access them. There are also Web-based tools and paper-based tools, which include forms, templates and checklists.
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.
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.