5 principles of schedule management
Scheduling project related activities is a challenge and often the planned schedule moves under your feet.

What is schedule management?

In project management, the schedule refers to the intended start and finish dates of a project’s milestones and activities. Completing deliverables on time equates to good project management. Your schedule serves as your timetable for a project that will show you how you are progressing while taking into account factors like limited resources and potential setbacks.

However, despite a clear schedule, there is always the potential for uncertainties. Therefore, smart project management should follow some simple rules:

1.    Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver

Scheduling will demand that you set a date of completion based on predictions and expectations. Before you commit to a schedule, you should have had ample time to evaluate all the factors. The last thing you want to do is make a promise to a client that you cannot keep for the sake of giving them an answer on the spot.

2.    The Client Should Be the First to Know If the Schedule Goes Sideways

Admitting to the customer that something’s gone wrong and that you’ve now been thrown off schedule is hard to do;  however, do it you must. You might be tempted to keep quiet about it and just wait until the client asks about your progress and deal with it then. You’ll find that this is a sure-fire way for the customer to lose trust in you.

3.    Avoid Scope Creep

Change is inevitable, and that’s why curbing scope creep becomes so challenging. Too often, IT project managers find themselves failing to put their foot down and be tough when receiving requests for additional functionalities. And when team members who are eager to please and impress start to make unauthorized decisions to add more value to the product, the scope creeps.

Ensure your scope change process is rock solid and that it also includes the impact on the project schedule. Follow the original specification document and don’t allow unmanaged contact between your team and the client.

4.    Spread Contingency Throughout Your Project Timeline

Even the most carefully laid out plans have no escape from random occurrences. Equipment breaks and people call in sick. Anything that could go wrong inevitably goes wrong. This is why you should always have a pool of contingency throughout the lifespan of your project. In other words, plan for the unplanned.

5.    Pick the Right Level of Detail

Define the amount of control you want. If your involvement in every aspect of the project is not necessary, don’t push for multiple meetings within the day that will collectively slow things down.

When mapping out your schedule, identify to what degree your team will need to update each other to ensure that everyone involved has the same understanding of what needs to be achieved and by when. You’ll find that there’s a significant difference in productivity between day-to-day scheduling versus week to week. It all boils down to the type of project and level of control and attention it demands.

Project management solution, TeamHeadquarters, knows all about the many uncertainties that take a project off-schedule. That’s why it aims to keep you in control and focused, maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of your time, as it also eliminates all drudgery from project management.

For a free demo of TeamHeadquarters, click here.

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How to Schedule a Better Project