<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Project Plan Schedule

Dec. 19, 2012 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
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 Worldwide

Related posts

4 Tips on Creating a “Customer Experience” Strategy
Jun. 6, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
In your company, how much thought is given to the quality of interactions between your customers and your business? The experience your customers have when interacting with your brand can make all...
Are You Looking to Expand Your Business?
Jun. 4, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
Over the years, I’ve coached many business owners as they’ve worked to expand their business. Whether it’s the physical expansion of your office space, expanding your workforce, or investing in new...
Turning Loyal Customers into Brand Ambassadors
May. 30, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Gaining loyal customers is just the first step in an effective growth strategy. For many companies, the hunt is on for individuals who are so taken by their products or services that they are willing...
5 Customer Service Blunders Made by Small Businesses
May. 28, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Is “quality customer service” part of your brand promise? If so, you’ve made a commitment to deliver an outstanding buying experience each and every time a customer (or would-be customer) interacts...
Automate Small Tasks and Stay Focused on the Big Picture
May. 23, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
A sizable portion of business operations involves tasks that are repetitive, annoying to those charged with handling them, and fairly easy to automate. In case you’re wondering which tasks fall into...
How Business Visualization Tools Help You Persuade and Communicate
May. 16, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
There are two fundamental truths about information and human nature that CEOs and business owners should probably come to grips with: We are drowning in data. Humans process information through...
How A Positive Company Culture Is Built By Aligning Employees
Apr. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
What does company culture mean? Every organization comes with a unique culture, a set of agreed-upon values that govern the way the company does business. Some cultures grow with the company and...
When You're the HR Department for Your Business
Apr. 23, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
Human Resources (HR) is an area that seems to cause most business owners the highest amount of stress. Unfortunately, without an HR Department, HR issues become the responsibility of you, the...
How to set up virtual office for a small business
Apr. 18, 2019 | Posted by Gary Hoffman
Virtual Office Space Dos and Don'ts You’re ready to give your business an impressive corporate presence, but you’re not willing to plunk down millions of dollars for the office space, the permanent...
How to Appreciate (And Retain) Your Employees
Apr. 16, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Any business that doesn’t place a high priority on employee appreciation is likely one that sees a fair degree of employee turnover. Back in the day, simply paying a worker on time—and perhaps...