The emerging health situation globally and the accompanying containment measures announced by WHO call for a serious rethink of business strategy during the coronavirus outbreak. Managing projects will require careful planning before launch to spend as little time as possible in execution and deliver on schedule.
Proper planning before commencement is vital to resource allocation that comprises time, material, and the human element. With this, you can set benchmarks for performance management and effectively track the project through the timelines to the conclusion.
Here are a few tips on how to create project timelines and schedules right to meet client expectations.
Outline project tasks
Upon receiving the project statement, start by outlining expected tasks that will define the project. On the face of it, this appears rather simple but might just turn out to be your Achilles heel at the most inopportune time if the project stalls over some little detail you forgot. To avoid this, involve your team after you produce the preliminary list.
At this stage, also remember to factor in an estimate of expected resources that will supplement these tasks to get your scheduling right. Clearly outline any risks if indicated and review these with both your team and stakeholders to define the element of contingency in your schedule before working on project milestones.
Set project milestones
Break your project into phases under different teams with set timelines to guide work progress. Milestones mark key stages in the management of a project that may include approvals, advance payments, resource mobilizations, quarterly progress reports, partial deliveries, and final handover.
Pay special attention to your capacity when developing these milestones because once done, project owners will hold you accountable and any deviation could be adjudged a breach and penalized.
For ease of tracking, use milestones to break down a complex project into manageable units and link these to tasks under different teams for faster progress. At this stage, carefully review the project statement’s scope and goals to help you create corresponding milestones achievable within a set timeframe.
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The way they ensure high-quality work and meeting deadlines for every project that they take up is by creating milestones that are realistic and, at the same time, good enough to meet customer demand.
Design work timeframe
Project management software is a good tool to use at this stage for faster results and better organization of your data. However, remember project management apps calculate timeframes by default settings that commence immediately and you may have to enter milestone dates manually according to project requirements.
Manually setting dates in a software ensures that you get timeframes that are reasonable and commensurate with assigned tasks and available capacity.
When setting your timeframes, draw on experience gained working on similar projects in the past and set times that your teams can work with comfortably. This is important to set a smooth flowing sequence from one milestone to the next and enhances efficiency between teams.
Align human resource to tasks
Along the way, as you developed the project schedule, defining tasks, milestones, and setting timescales, your team was involved and this may assist you in task allocation.
Use the task review meeting with team members to evaluate individual strength and suitability for any one task. Human resource is key to project execution and must be used efficiently for project success, says Tom Heins, the hr manager, who searches for essay writers UK at Essay Writing Service UK.
Management of team workload is vital to meeting milestones and quality. Assign appropriate tasks to qualified team members and in quantities, they can manage within the allocated time for that phase.
Efficiency is the keyword here, so avoid overstretching or underutilizing any team member by accurate workload analysis using good project management software.
Assess expected risks
After putting everything in place and before commencement, step back and review any risks noted during the planning stage.
You will need to document these risks and the implications on the project schedule to evaluate contingency measures that may be required. Discuss this with project stakeholders to reach a consensus on necessary mitigation.
Some of these common risks in project schedule management include:
- Falling behind schedule due to poor estimation of timelines
- Unclear or revised project specifications by stakeholders
- Unexpected budget cuts and effect on technical specs
- Unavoidable risks owing to policy shift or technology change.
Add to these, assumptions that include unexpected administrative delays in key decisions negatively affecting project timelines.
Review the project timeline with stakeholders and your team
Before launching the project, have that final meeting to review the project schedule and timelines with both your team and client. Get suggestions for improvement from team members and accommodate ensuing changes in the schedule.
Team members’ approval and support for your schedule ensure success in timely delivery. At this stage, team members can also offer to take up different tasks making it easy for you to assign accordingly.
Next, schedule a meeting with your client to present the highlights of the project timelines. Give reasons why every milestone was set as it is, and what the role of the client is to achieve those targets. Once in agreement, remember to get the client’s approval for future reference.
Start work and keep reviewing performance
As much as you have done an excellent project timeline and schedule, it is important for all involved to understand that this can change unexpectedly and prepare accordingly.
However, such changes must be attributed to unforeseen circumstances and not because the schedule was poorly done. One way of cushioning the project against unexpected schedule delays is to provide buffer days between milestones that can be used to mitigate for time lost.
Monitor and review project performance continuously to stay on top of things making sure to deploy contingency measures on time when required. Ensure that both your team and client are aware of emerging changes and that all acknowledge.
Your success as a top-level project manager depends on your skills in timeline and schedule creation. Project schedule creation is a core skill that you simply cannot take lightly if you hope to handle complex projects.
Every project stakeholder wants his or her work done faster, efficiently, and on time as agreed upon with the project manager. To achieve this, plan your project well before committing and set reasonable as well as achievable goals.
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