The term Project Schedule refers to the timetable of a project. It shows the starting and ending date for a project, how the tasks are divided into different milestones and how they are related. The project schedule is the graphical representation (usually a Gantt chart) of the planned dates and resources for the work to be performed. It organizes tasks, resources, and due dates in an ideal way to complete the project within the given time. A project schedule should also reflect the logical relationships between activities.
What is a Project Schedule?
A project schedule is an organized timetable that defines the timelines for different tasks to be performed to complete a project. It is usually created during the planning phase, and the project manager is responsible for creating it. It usually defines the following information:
- Project timelines along with start date, end date, and milestones.
- Tasks to perform for achieving the project deliverables.
- Team members and their responsibilities.
- The cost, risks, issues, resources, and dependencies associated with each task.
Types of project schedule
There are three commonly used project schedule formats:
1. Master project schedule:
A summarized project schedule that highlights the major tasks and their timelines. This type of project schedule is suitable for presenting the project to senior representatives of the external stakeholders who do not need to know about any technical details.
2. Milestone Schedule:
A milestone schedule is used to track the progress of a project based on the milestones. It defines several milestones and their timelines. A project team can determine their progress in a glance by looking at the milestone schedule.
3. Detailed Project Schedule:
This is the most detailed and operational-level project schedule that focuses on every activity and its timelines. It is usually created to be used internally by the project team to keep track of all the project elements.
Component of project schedule:
The project schedule is primarily created to guide the project team throughout the project’s lifecycle. During the execution of the project, the project schedule is compared to the current progress of the project, and some new information is added to the project schedule:
- Deliverables: The outcomes of a project.
- Tasks: Different activities to be performed to achieve the deliverables.
- Task Starting and ending dates: Dates when a particular task is expected to start and complete.
- Task Dependencies: The requirements need to be fulfilled before starting a task.
- Project Calendar: Main dates of the project and different milestones.
- Work Packages: Divisions of work.
- Task Duration and Project Timeline: The period required to accomplish a task and the timelines followed throughout the project.
- Budget: The project’s proposed budget within which the project must be completed.
- Resource Availability: The resources required for the completion of the project and the resource that are available.
- Risks: All the risks associated with the project and the solution to mitigate those risks.
How to create a project schedule?
A project’s schedule can be created manually or using some project management software. Either way, you have to follow some steps to create an effective yet feasible timeline to be followed to complete the project:
- Create a schedule plan for your project.
- Define who is authorized to change the schedule.
- Define the starting and ending dates for project activities.
- List out all the task dependencies.
- Create a project calendar by simply sequencing the activities and tasks.
- Identify the project’s resource requirements and resource availability.
- Determine the amount of time required to accomplish a particular task.
- Create a project schedule.
- Monitor and control the project schedule throughout the project’s lifecycle.