Managing Project Schedules

Sunday, June 3, 2018, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Project schedules are such an integral part of project management that many people often mistakenly refer to a project schedule — such as the Microsoft .MPP project file — as the Project Plan.

Most project managers know that the project schedule is but a component of an overall project plan, however, it is probably the component most focused on by management. As a result, it gets the most attention !

  • How much detail should be in my schedule?

    This is a very common question, especially among new project managers. While we don’t believe there’s a perfect answer to this question we generally advise that the schedule’s detail and complexity is aligned to the project’s size and complexity.

    As a matter of best practice, you should have produced a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as a buildup to your schedule. Remember, we covered WBS in Developing Effective Work Breakdown Structures.

After the WBS is developed the question of transitioning to the project schedule becomes “how much decomposition” is required?”. This, again, should be scaled to the size and complexity of your project.

In small projects that may last only a few weeks it makes sense to manage the deliverables at a high level and consequently your schedule may be relatively simple and brief. Perhaps a simple checklist or Excel spreadsheet might suffice to manage such a schedule.

Longer, more complex projects would result in greater decomposition of deliverables, longer project schedules and the involvement of more capable scheduling tools such as MS Project, EasyProjects, or SmartSheet.

For a small, simple project we suggest this Excel template which you can download here for free.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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