<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

Part Two: Benefits of a Peer Advisory Board: Board Members Tell All
Sep. 7, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
In Part One of Benefits of a Peer Advisory Board: Board Members Tell All, you learned a little bit about what it was like to be a TAB member, from the time commitment it takes to the many reasons why...
How to Reduce Organizational Complexity and Boost Productivity
Sep. 2, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
  As in our daily lives, the world of business has grown a great deal more complex in recent times. Generally speaking, every organization finds itself challenged by innovations in technology,...
Why Your Business Needs Standard Operating Procedures
Aug. 26, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Running a business is a costly, time-intensive process. Costs and time can grow exponentially if an organization lacks a system whereby products are made, or services rendered in a consistent manner....
5 Ways To Tell When Your Business Needs a System Overhaul
Aug. 17, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
We all know that businesses need to accomplish many tasks each day for their companies to function. And they need to complete those tasks efficiently, smoothly, and quickly to thrive. As an...
Part One: Benefits of a Peer Advisory Board: Board Members Tell All
Aug. 9, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
Over the last 15 years, I have dedicated my professional career to helping business owners design and implement strategies with sound, reachable growth and profitability goals. I have worked with...
3 Ways to Successfully Transition Your Business To New Owners
Aug. 5, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Transitioning your business is one of the most critical and life-changing decisions you'll make as a business owner. If you handle the process well, you will be helping not only yourself, your team,...
Tips on Grooming Your Business Successor
Aug. 2, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
It may not seem possible now, but the day will come when you no longer run your business (either as a CEO or business owner). Recognizing this inevitability is the first step towards selecting and...
What to Tell Your Employees When Selling the Business
Jul. 29, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Selling a business is often a complicated process. One complicating factor for any CEO or business owner is determining what to tell employees about the pending sale, as well as when and how much....
When It’s Time To Sell Your Business
Jul. 15, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
After all the hard work that goes into starting and maintaining a business, deciding years later to sell that business can be among the biggest challenges in a CEO or business owner’s career. You’re...
A Guide For CEOs —11 Ways To Make An Impact In Your First 90 days
Jul. 13, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Your first 90 days as CEO will set the tone for your entire tenure in the organization. Therefore, this is a crucial time, and the goal is to establish your credibility and trust, so the team and the...