Schedule Management – PM

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Project Manager has to manage all 9 element of the projects including scope, schedule and budget for the entire project.

Time management arguably takes up most of the project manager’s time. Equally, accurate planning is core to the success of the project, and a whole phase of the project management life cycle is dedicated to it.Managing the schedule is one of the most important activities of a project manager. There are many great techniques to help manage the schedule. Here are 2 important ones.

Don’t manage tasks by percentage complete

We know that the lowest level of abstraction in the work breakdown structure is the terminal task, which is when something cannot be broken down any further. These terminal tasks are what we place in a logical sequence to give us a schedule and a critical path(s) will then appear, which is the shortest time in which the total project can happen.

It thus makes sense to work these terminal tasks from 0 – 100% complete. But, how do you really know when a task is any percentage complete. By gut feel? And, when something is indeed 50% complete, it does mean that 50% of the time is used or remaining. This is simply because normally, time vs effort is not a linear progression. If a team member tells you he is 60% complete, how do you really know? How do you know he is not 58% complete or 62% complete? A better way to interrogate each task is to declare the actual start date, and then to declare how many days are remaining to completion. The remaining duration will either predict a new date, or confirm the original planned completion date.

Ideally, all terminal tasks are linked and sequenced. But, on some project schedules terminal tasks are not necessarily linked, as some persons prefer to manage by dates. In such cases, ask the team member what the actual start date is and then, what the planned completion date is.

Whichever method you use, compare the new completion dates with the dates in the original baseline. This not only provides you with a clear picture of where the project is heading time-wise, it also gives you a good idea on which critical paths to crash, if necessary. You will be surprised how much more accurate the schedule is.

Present the schedule for critical review by others

The project manager and his/her team can sometimes become too comfortable with their own schedule. It is not suggested that they are hiding things, but because they are so deeply involved, people sometimes take the understanding of others for granted.

In many cases, it makes sense to have another party evaluate the project management processes being utilized and double-check that the project is progressing as expected. This “outside party” could be any qualified person outside of the project manager. Call for regular project audits as part of the overall quality management program. In any event, an audit should provide comfort to the project stakeholders that effective project management processes are being utilized and that the project is progressing as planned.

Hopefully above article shared some light on schedule management leg of project management.

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