Wednesday 2 February 2022

6 steps to successful scheduling

Drawing up a detailed schedule is one of the most challenging tasks on the path of project managers. Scheduling is sometimes considered a science, and the results confirm this. For team members, it is very common for confusion if they follow a schedule created by one manager while in one project, and in another project, another manager takes a very different approach to scheduling.

Very often from team members you can hear this phrase: "Why can't all managers work in the same way?"

If you've heard this on your team, then it's probably time to research how you and your team create your schedules. You probably don't have a consistent approach to scheduling for your team that's helpful on all projects.

There are many sources that talk about the perfect solution to problems with the schedule. But you can follow the next six simple steps to succeed.

Step 1: Define actions

Create a work breakdown structure (WBS) and perform a complete decomposition.

Explore your WBS structure and learn the steps you need to take to create the elements of the structure. For example, if the item is "installing new hardware," then the actions added to the plan might include "establishing a network connection," "installing a video card," "installing applications," and then "installing an email client."

Step 2: Define the sequence of actions

Remember how before school you were asked to make the right order from a set of pictures? You needed to determine which picture shows the first action, which - the second, etc. So, this is the second step towards making a successful plan. It consists in arranging actions in order by simply arranging them one by one. For example, you need to install a video card before you set up a network connection, install applications and then finally install an email client. In some cases, two or more actions may be performed simultaneously. Surely we can install applications while installing something else at the same time. At this stage, we can take into account the different types of dependence of actions, such as end-to-start, start-to-start, end-to-end and start-to-end, in order to understand how these actions will relate to each other.

Step 3: Calculate the necessary resources

The third step involves calculating the resources that are needed to complete each action. This includes the necessary human resources, financial resources and equipment. All of these resources need to be calculated for each activity before you calculate their duration in the next step.

Step 4: Estimate the duration of each action

This step requires you and your team to analyze how long it will take to complete each action. This estimate can be calculated through the following tools:

Peer review – that is, consulting with those who are already familiar or have had experience in what needs to be done to complete a certain action.
Analogy assessment – that is, a top-down assessment approach that is performed by examining similar projects within an organization in order to estimate the duration of actions.

Parametric assessment is usually a scalable estimate. For example, you assumed that you need to allocate 10 minutes to install one software product, which means that you can spend 6 times more time installing six applications, or 60 minutes.
Three-point assessment – sometimes called a Perth analysis – is a good tool for estimating the duration of an action. You often need to take a weighted average of a pessimistic, expected, or optimistic estimate to find the duration of the action. This estimate is of the form (Pessimistic_value + 4x(Expected_value) + Optimistic_value) / 6

Step 5: Development Planning

This step is a process where the sequence of activities, the required resources, and the duration of each activity are used to optimize the entire project schedule. The tools used in this process include the critical path finding method, schedule compression, a hypothetical scenario, an even distribution of resource requests, and a critical chain method. Each of these topics can be expanded in a separate article, but this article does not include their description.

Once the schedule is developed, it should be fixed and the original schedule should be captured.

Step 6: Schedule Monitoring and Control

The last step is to observe and control the schedule. This step is performed throughout the project and ensures that the results match the plan. Schedule monitoring includes the use of a progress report, a schedule of change control systems such as the use of project change requests, performance management, and change analysis to determine additional actions that are required to match the schedule with the plan.

So, here are six steps you need to create to create a successful project schedule.

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