<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=349935452247528&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Project Plan Schedule - Turning to Schedule Development

Dec. 19, 2012 | Posted by The Alternative Board
toolbox_bg-1

Project Management for Small Business VIII

Nothing is impossible……for the person who doesn't have to do it.
 
Project commitments are often worked out in a conversation that sounds something like this:
  • Business Owner: This project is absolutely critical. When can you have it done?
  • (Inexperienced) Project Manager: I'm not sure. I think we can do it in 3 months.
  • Business Owner: That's not soon enough. How about 6 weeks?
  • Project Manager: We'll get it done in 2 months.
  • Business Owner: Approved

 

swahily clock

When do you think this project will get completed? I can assure you, it won't be two months. For project managers, if you're asked when you can complete a project on the spot like this, you have to respond by saying, "let me schedule it out, and I'll be able to give you a solid date."

 
Turning to schedule development, new project managers often think that they get extra points for creating the most detailed schedule possible. They create a schedule to impress their boss, then find that the schedule has quickly become irrelevant because it's too difficult to maintain.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              swahily clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
A schedule is a tool for communication – so that the stakeholders can get a sense for the status of the project – as well as a tool for the project manager to keep the project organized. A good schedule does not have too many or too few tasks.  When you're creating the schedule, be aware that you are going to have to update it at least weekly, if not more often. Don't make your schedule too hard to maintain.

Want additional insight? Download Productivity Hacks for Business Owners 

DOWNLOAD
The project schedule is the list of all tasks that need to be accomplished to complete the project. A solid project schedule will contain the following items:
  •  Task Categories – these are the major groups of tasks such as planning, documentation, implementation, testing, piloting and launching.
  • Tasks – these are the individual activities that need to be completed for each task category. At a minimum, each task should have the following details included:
  • ID – an identifier for referring to each task
  • Short description
  • Individual assigned to complete the task
  • due date (you may also separately include Start Date)
  • percent complete (for tracking).
  • Milestones -  these are the major deliverables for a project. For example, when planning is completed, you have achieved the planning milestone. Milestones are the primary checkpoints on a project. If you are missing milestones, your project is in trouble.
For moderately complex projects, you can also specify which tasks are dependent on other tasks. For example, if you cannot start testing until implementation is done, then testing is dependent on the completion of implementation.
 
Sophisticated project schedules use terms like float, lag, dependencies, and critical path to develop a schedule. Formally trained project managers scheduling a complex project can use a tool like Microsoft Project to create a sophisticated schedule. But for the typical small business project, this is not necessary.  Microsoft Excel will work just fine for most projects. If team members in multiple locations need to access your schedule, use an online tool such as Google Docs or Basecamp to store your a living version of your schedule.
 
As you build your schedule, keep in mind what Mozart exclaimed to Solieri: " too many notes". This means make sure your schedule has enough tasks – but not too many.
 
 

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board

Related posts

13 Lessons In What NOT To Do In Your Business
Jun. 9, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
There are many things successful business owners consciously steer clear of while going about running and growing their business. We asked 13 TAB members what they believe entrepreneurs should...
Let Employee Recognition Drive Your Culture
Jun. 4, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
All businesses claim to value their employees and to be committed to a culture that recognizes and rewards employee achievements. But success in this effort may be elusive, particularly if employers...
14 Habits Of Highly Successful Business Owners
May. 21, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Success doesn't happen by chance. Highly successful entrepreneurs share many habits, and they often incorporate small practices into their daily routine. We asked our TAB members what habits have...
Use Your Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage
May. 18, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Every business needs a competitive edge, whether it’s in the quality of their products or services, their dedication to customers, or some other aspect they can leverage to outdo their competitors....
When the Time Comes to Fire a Family Member
May. 11, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Terminating an employee isn’t something business owners and CEOs relish. When the situation demands some drastic action, however, it’s necessary to follow through for the good of the business. The...
17 Essential Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs - Part 1
May. 10, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
While a great idea and some capital may be essential for a successful business, the most critical ingredient for a successful venture remains the entrepreneur. This is why many successful venture...
How to Sell During Times of Uncertainty
May. 6, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
If your business is struggling right now, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to improve your sales. While there’s no guarantee that any specific strategy will accomplish this during...
Managing Family Business Conflicts
Apr. 29, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Small business owners and CEOs have plenty to contend with as part of their normal daily operations. When the business is family-owned, a different crop of challenges may emerge. That’s because “the...
Tips on Effective Business Succession Planning
Apr. 27, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
With many family businesses, the time to think about succession planning starts on Day One. It’s a complicated subject, sometimes fraught with emotional baggage, but is critically important,...
6 Tips on Making a Family Business Partnership Work
Apr. 20, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
We often hear stories about the difficulties of making a family business partnership successful. Yes, there are unique hurdles that differ from other types of business models, but with the right...