Importance of Project Schedule for managing projects
A well-managed project will require a proper schedule and related documents. Project schedule will help to organize all the related tasks related to project in a easy to manage way. Project managers can easily see and manage tasks.
Without a schedule you will never know when you're going to finish your project. Some people may just start projects without a proper schedule.
If you don't make a project schedule, it is very likely that you may have to spend sleepless nights rushing to finish the project on time. And at the end of the day, the quality of the finished project might be poor.
Estimating the duration and making a schedule is not a thing which is possible for the inexperienced. You will need some amount of experience before you will be able to estimate. If you have never worked on a software project or never implemented an application, you won't be able to draw a time-line very well.
Management needs project update status
Anyone who has given you the task would like to know the status and progression. Without a proper project schedule it would be very difficult to tell your progression. You should be able to give the progression in %, Whether the project is 57% complete or not.
Time is money and everyone needs the status of a project they have initiated and how long will it take to complete.
Splitting the work among co-workers.
With a project schedule and requirements document it would be easy to split work among co-workers. Each and everyone working on the project would know their tasks.
For example imagine, you have hired a group of construction workers to build a house. There are no blue-prints and drawings of the house to be built. The workers will not know what to do, definitely there would be a lot of delay in the project. Each and every time the workers need to consult you since they have no predefined tasks or anything. The construction work wouldn't be going very smooth and well-coordinated. There will be chances of mistake also. Since it is construction work, reversing and correcting defects will not only cost time, it might cost thousands or millions of dollars.
Estimating starting and finishing dates
This is certainly not for the beginners. You need a certain amount of experience before you can estimate. To be precise learning something doesn't satisfy with the requirements of the real world. For example, you may have taken some architecture lessons, but if you haven't designed a real house you will not be able to draw a schedule and accurately estimate the duration of the project.
The first thing is to get some experience of your field. There might be times, when you're doing a job for your first time and the person who gives you the job demands to finish it in a particular time period. Well, sadly that's not possible. You need some kind of experience before you can estimate and draw a schedule.
Estimation of finishing date is vital to any project. If you have unlimited budget and time given for a project this will not be an issue. But unfortunately, in the real world everything is limited. We have to do our best to utilize the resources we have to finish the project within the required duration.
The schedule should include the start date. In a lot of cases, the project doesn't need to be started on a certain date. And in some cases, the starting date is very critical. For example, during construction of a house: electrical wiring of the house should be started and finished before the start of interior decoration.
Use GANTT Charts to make schedule
GANTT chart was developed by Henry Gantt. It is a simple and effective way to make efficient schedules. You can use GANTT charts to assign tasks to several people. Or use them to manage multiple tasks.
Lack of Project Schedule will give you sleepless nights
It is a really challenging job for students to draw their project schedules. The first thing is they have no experience and they maybe doing it for the first time. So it's not really possible for them to draw a schedule very accurately. In many cases, some students might make a schedule. But as they start the project, new changes creep into the project, making the real project very different from the original schedule and documents.
Sometimes things may not go according to plan
The purpose of project management doesn't mean when plans are made the project will proceed perfectly. After all it is just an estimation. Always be prepared to improvise the plan. Sometimes you might have to work over-time to deliver the project on time.
Always be ready to improvise if things may not go according to plan.
Things that can delay or interrupt projects.
- Absence of staffs
- Natural disasters
- unexpected incidents
When making project schedule be as realistic as possible. People do get sick and always make sure you have backup plans.
Some tools for managing projects
- Googledocs - Offers online spreadsheets, documents and also enables you to share other types of file online.
- Microsoft Project - Offers great tools to manage projects. And Project schedules can be easily done with the help of GANTT charts.
- Dropbox - Dropbox is an easy way to make backups of your data online. Any data you place in dropbox will be synced to your online cloud account. You can also share folders on the cloud, make it accessible to people you need.