How to Create a Project Management Schedule

When first approaching a new project at work, it can often seem daunting. Organising your team, meeting deliverables, engaging with the stakeholders and hitting the final deadline can all seem quite overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into the trap of putting your head down and pushing on without much consideration, but this will only lead to unnecessary complications further down the line.

Taking a step by step approach to your project will make it more manageable and clear. A project management schedule gives you just that, allowing you to completely plan out the who’s, how’s, what’s and when’s of the project. Putting together an intuitive schedule will help relieve the stress of reaching deliverables, delegating responsibilities and leading your team.

Spending time to put together a project management schedule is always a worthy investment, providing clarity to you and your time and saving time in the long run. Today we’re going to give you a step by step guide on how to plan, develop and implement a project management schedule.

Project Schedule

1) Clearly define the goal of the project

It may seem obvious, but defining the end goal of the project should be your first port of call. When planning a journey, the first thing you think about is the destination, and the same should apply for project management. Once you’ve identified the goal, then we need to plan out how to get there.

2) Identify your milestones 

Once you understand your goal, now we need to break the project down into the milestones and deliverables you’ll need to reach along the way. Do you have stakeholders you need to pitch to? Have you been given any internal deadlines? Do you have a versioning plan in place? These are all milestones that need to be put in place along the road to project completion. 

3) Work collaboratively with your team

Don’t plan your project alone. Work collaboratively with the team you’ll have on the project to gain their insight into the intricacies of their roles. This will help you to gain a holistic view of a project from each side, ensuring that milestones for every team member are taken into account. Not only does this help your team feel more included, it also helps to reduce the number of unforeseen milestones that may arise, allowing your project to run smoother. Additionally, your team will be able to provide more realistic timeframes on your project, meaning that stakeholders won’t be misled by unrealistic deadlines. 

Team Collaborating

4) Engage with stakeholders on their view

Stakeholder engagement is a key element of project management, and including it in the project schedule will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Start by listing everyone that needs to be involved in the project, and identify those you will have to report to on a regular basis. The earlier you start to build a relationship with them, the easier working with them will be. Talk to them about what timescales they are visualising, and correlate those with your team’s expected timelines to create a project management schedule that works for everyone.

5) Plan for potential risks and conflicts

To realistically align project completion to a deadline, make sure to factor in potential issues that might arise. This may come from conflict between parties, perhaps where a decision requires compromise on both sides. It may also be risks of a financial or qualitative kind, which should be tracked, measured and planned for. It is always wise to come up with multiple contingencies for risks, and factoring these into the total project schedule. This allows you to be more agile with how you respond to these risks, and helps keep your project on track.

Management Presentation

6) Break down your milestones into tasks and subtasks

Next, break down your milestones into their requirements. What tasks need to be completed to ensure a milestone is met? It may be that your tasks need to be broken down even further into subtasks, ones that might even take less than a day to complete. This will make it easier for you to allocate tasks to team members, and will make it simpler for your team to understand. After all, any big task is just a bunch of smaller tasks on top of each other. 

7) Order your tasks by priority

Once you have an idea of the necessary tasks needed to complete the project, you now need to order them. Some tasks will be reliant on the completion of other tasks, so take care to consider where your dependencies are. Once you’ve aligned your tasks in priority order (based on prerequisites of other tasks / milestones) add them to the schedule and give your team a clear visual aid for the project.

Collaborative Presentation

8) Delegate!

You’re almost done with your scheduling, and nearly ready to get down to work. But first you have to assign tasks to team members. This is not always as easy as you think. Many project managers will just throw tasks to the four winds and hope they are picked up, while others will assign tasks based on availability of the team member. However, you should always look to delegate tasks to team members based on their individual strengths. Perhaps even assign a task to a duo where only one is an expert. This will help you reap the benefits of collaboration further down the line, as your team learns from each other, and help to better their skills. Be considerate of each team’s workload, as overloading any one member could cause them to miss deadlines or produce work that could be so much better.

9) Share and monitor the schedule

It’s go time. As we mentioned earlier, the whole point of a project management schedule is to keep your project on track and running smooth. Give your team access to the master schedule, or even create sub-schedules for departments or individuals. Monitor the progress of the project, and support your team members where they need it the most. 

This is where Verto can help. Our easy to use project management system allows you to create, manage and monitor a project management schedule. Alongside this, you can assign tasks to teams, work collaboratively online, calculate risks and much more. Verto is a cloud based solution, meaning that it can be accessed anywhere on a range of devices. 

Workplace Mental Health

Join the hundreds of organisations using Verto to create intuitive project schedules, and keep their projects on track all the way to compilation. Our system is relied upon by a range of sectors to help them streamline how they manage projects, programmes and portfolios. 

A project management schedule is an essential part of project management, especially in today’s technology-driven world. Utilise an interactive, customisable schedule will help to keep your project running smoothly, and keep your team on top of their work.

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