Figure Example Schedule

create a dynamic plan that will change as a reflection of tasks completing earlier or later than scheduled. This is where the spreadsheet loses its appeal and project management software becomes a necessity. Keep in mind to apply any Lead and Lag times that you discovered during Activity Sequencing.

There are a number of Schedule Development techniques available. Critical Path is probably the most widely used and is the underlying technique behind MS Project. Also gaining in prominence has been Dr. Eli Goldratt's Critical Chain method (see Chapter 28 for a fuller discussion of Critical Chain). Be sure that the technique you choose is supported by your project management software.

Don't forget to apply the Resource Calendar with its holidays, vacations, shifts, and so on. It is possible for key resources to become over-allocated; for example, Joe Developer is assigned to four 8-hour activities on the same day, resulting in a 32-hour day. Resource Leveling is moving these activities to provide a "best-fit" to keep resources from being over-allocated or to execute activities when key resources are only available at certain times. Be aware that Resource Leveling, although necessary, could result in extending the schedule.

What about replanning? Often you will be asked to expedite the schedule, while keeping the scope intact. Techniques such as Crashing (tradeoffs between cost and schedule in order to determine how to obtain the greatest amount of compression for the least incremental cost) and Fast Tracking (normally sequential tasks done in parallel) are high-risk techniques that, in an effort to deliver faster, can increase cost, increase the probability of rework, and increase the threat of missing the earlier date. When these requests come down, try to work on them with as little interruption to the project team as possible. It always seems that these requests come at the worst time, when taking team members off current work to look at a potential replan of the schedule will assuredly result in missing deadlines on the current work. Instead, pull as few Team Leads as possible to look at replanning. If you are comfortable and have enough knowledge of the project, you can perform this exercise yourself. Have a seasoned project manager review the result to catch any errors in the replan. Try to encapsulate the project team away from these interruptions and keep them working towards the baselined schedule until it is ultimately decided that a replan is necessary.

Congratulations: You now have a project schedule. Review it once more with the team to get buy-in on the Schedule baseline, as this is foundation for Project Tracking and Oversight.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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