A timeline/ project calendar (click here to download a free copy) illustrates a project schedule and is a great project visualization tool. Formatted as a bar chart, it breaks down the project’s structure. While it can be quite simple and general, it can also be very complex when it contains various elements (activity, predecessor tasks, optimistic, pessimistic, normal and expected time estimates, etc.). One of the most widely known charting techniques is a Gantt Chart.
Regardless of the charting technique you and your team use, these are the steps you need to take according to Project Management Tips website:
1. Break down the schedule and identify the phases according to areas of specialization and responsibility. Note that certain phases depend on a completion of a prior phase.
2. Estimate duration of each phase and determine a start date. Be aware of the tasks that can only be completed consecutively; however, if tasks can be implemented concurrently, feel free to overlap them and save some time. Still, some people say that sometimes, it’s better budget in some additional time as a safety cushion for anything unforeseen. At the end, when you deliver before the deadline, your customers will appreciate it.
3. If you are working with a team and have assigned the members to particular tasks, allow them to define their own time requirements and be prepared to modify the schedule, if needed.
4. Distribute the finalized schedule to your team members and, if and when appropriate, to your customer. Keep in mind that the schedule might need to be revised and modified; regardless, once the project starts, track its progress against the schedule and, if delays occur, take action.
Can you share some planning and scheduling advice?