Chloe Boreham November 25, 2020 Project Management
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.
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.
Project Managers are all too familiar with the project triangle. We know we can shorten a schedule by either (a) reducing the scope of the project, or (b) adding more resources to it. Unfortunately, management either has not seen that triangle or, more likely than not, simply chooses to ignore it. Consequently, Project Manglers who are more interested in pleasing upper management than keeping honest have come up with their own universal algorithm for shortening project schedules. Take the number of days that need to be cut from the schedule, divide it by the number of major milestones, and then deduct that number from the duration of each milestone. In other words, if a project comprising of 4 major milestones is estimated to last 6 months, but you need to reduce it by one month, you`d take 20 days, and divide it by 4. Take the answer (5), and deduct it from the duration of each milestone. And voila! Works every time.
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.
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