All business projects are expected to be completed and delivered on time. This is possible with the collaborative efforts of the project team and the use of schedule management tools.
Creating a schedule management plan oversees the project life cycle. The project scheduling process helps with the overall planning of project management processes. The process involves ensuring sufficient resources are allocated for the project’s success.
This article focuses on project schedule management plan and shares step-by-step, how to develop a schedule management plan for your project. This article lists the templates that help manage schedules. Managing schedules is easier when you create project schedules using the Master Production Scheduling Excel template.
What is a project schedule management plan?
Businesses engage in different projects. Each project is unique, hence will require a unique schedule management plan. A schedule management plan is a document consisting of the project schedule, when it will start and end, the project scope, and how it will be tracked and managed.
It includes each team member's project tasks, dependencies, and task assignments. This document also defines the tools and scheduling methodology to measure project performance. A project schedule plan can track project progress in real-time to ensure success.
Considerations for Creating a Project Management Plan
Project managers have a lot on their plate, and managing a project gets easier with the right project plan. Before creating the project plan, there are several considerations that project managers need to take into account. These are as follows:
1. Roles and Responsibilities of the Project Manager
It is the role and responsibility of the project manager to assign tasks to all team members. The project manager assigns who will update the project scheduling software.
Generally speaking, everyone on the team can update the project software. Each one needs to update their status when working on the software. Only the project manager performs the final approval.
2. Updating Schedule
Weekly updates are the recommended frequency for updating the entire project schedule management plan. Though, your organization may decide to have a different schedule for updating the project plan. What is important is that you stick to the schedule set by the project manager or the company's stakeholders.
Plans are not always flawless, so feedback is crucial and necessary. Feedback is usually delivered through status reports, meetings, and other forms of communication. Feedback comes from the project team using the program and implementing the project plan.
4. Changes in Schedule
Changes are inevitable and can happen even for well-planned projects. If there are changes in the schedule, these have to be reviewed and approved. It is usually the project manager who approves changes.
Schedule change control procedures must be included in the project schedule management plan for unforeseen cases where schedule changes can't be avoided. In this case, approval needs to come from the upper management or stakeholders.
A management plan needs to be reported to stakeholders to make better decisions for the company and keep all work or projects in place. Reporting outlines the type of report to be submitted, who will make the report, who will receive the report, and how often to report.
6. Schedule Integration
In a company, there are several project activities taking place simultaneously. One or two of these projects may overlap or are part of a much bigger project.
In such cases, you must create a project management plan that can be integrated with other project schedules. Schedule integration helps keep track of all project schedules while ensuring that all projects are aligned with the bigger project's timeline and strategies.
Steps in Making a Project Schedules Management Plan
The first step in the project scheduling process is creating a project schedule management plan. This plan specifies the rules and guidelines needed for creating and managing a project schedule.
The four important steps are discussed below:
1. Schedule Development
When each individual joins a team, they are given their tasks for the project. They must collect important information or input from the other team members to align their work with the rest of the team. They need to write a procedure to estimate the duration of tasks, costs, and the necessary resources required for the project's completion.
2. Schedule Control
As mentioned earlier, your schedule may go differently than planned how much you monitor, measure, and control your project's schedule. Despite this, it is still best to compare your actual schedule and expenses against your planned project schedule and expenses.
Control over your schedule entails measuring work progress in percentage completed, hours, or cost.
3. Schedule Changes
When changes do happen, another person, the project sponsor who is not involved in the daily activities of the project, can be tasked to approve schedule changes. Here are some things to consider when the schedule does change:
- Is the reason for the schedule change valid?
- How much paperwork is involved?
- Will the change be implemented immediately or not?
4. Project Schedule
Project scheduling is the process of creating documents that define the project timeline and the resources needed to complete tasks set by the organization.
Project managers can create a project schedule using project management software. The project schedule must be comprehensive, understandable, and accessible to project team members, for this document communicates vital business information.
Project Schedule Management Templates
Templates help manage projects. There are three types of templates to create project schedules for your schedule management plan. These templates are listed below:
1. Gantt Charts
A Gantt chart template helps plan work with deadlines. It is also useful for allocating resources for the project. Gantt chart templates can be accessed using an Excel spreadsheet or uploaded on a cloud-based spreadsheet.
2. Work Breakdown Structure Template
Breaking down complex tasks is a vital step in creating project schedules. This template can help visualize and prioritize various project tasks.
3. Project Scope Template
A project scope template outlines the work that needs to be done for the project. A project scope template includes project goals, workflow strategies, tasks, and deliverables. It is also beneficial to include in your project scope template work that is left undone for a more accurate project schedule.
A project schedule management plan aims for the timely completion of projects by establishing policies, guidelines, procedures, and documentation for the planning. Project managers have a lot of responsibilities in ensuring that all projects are completed and implemented on time.
Having a project schedule plan helps remind you of important dates and deadlines. An overall view of the project timeline helps keep everything on track and work accomplished on time.