Project Schedule

In order to adjust for things such as scope changes, we need to be sure that there is a solid project schedule in place. The project scheduling process needs to include the activity definition, activity sequencing, activity duration estimating, schedule development, and the schedule control.

Examples of the primary tools used for project scheduling are Gantt charts, or Critical Path Method (CPM), PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique). Critical Path Method and PERT are powerful tools that help you to schedule and manage complex projects. They were developed in the 1950s to control large defense projects, and have been used routinely since then.

Gantt charts are simply a visual look at the major activities involved in a project, arranged so that the viewer will see the time-based relationships of the component parts of the project. Figure 11.3 is a Gantt chart showing the activities involved in the purchase and implementation of a new accounting software system.

CPM helps you to plan out all tasks that must be completed as part of a project, and it acts as a basis both for preparation of a schedule and for resource planning. When you are managing a project, this tool can help you monitor the achievement of your project goals to date. It also helps you to see where you can take action to put a project back on track if it has fallen behind or deviated from its course.

June

March

April

May

Weeks 1-2

Weeks 3-4

July

August

September

October

January

June

December

Person/Team Responsible

Assessment of the needs and tasks the new software would perform

x

Joan lead/ accounting team and managers

Research the programs available in the market

x

Accounting team

Request proposals from software vendors

x

Joan

Evaluate proposals

x

Joan/ accounting team

Reassess needs given capacity of software packages

x

Joan lead/ accounting team and managers

Make selection

x

Joan lead/ accounting team and managers

Install software

x

Sam/IT team

Train staff on use of software

x

Sam/IT team

FIGURE 11.3 Sample Gantt Chart

FIGURE 11.3 Sample Gantt Chart

CPM is useful because it:

^ Identifies tasks that must be completed on time for the whole project to be completed on time.

^ Identifies which tasks can be delayed if necessary if resources need to be allocated somewhere else to catch up on missed tasks.

^ Helps to identify the minimum length of time needed to complete the project.

PERT is a variation on CPM that takes a slightly more skeptical view of time estimates made for each project stage. To use it, you estimate the shortest possible time each activity will take, the most likely length of time, and the longest time that might be taken if the activity takes longer than expected.

Project scheduling essentially takes the definition of what the project is and breaks it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. It also identifies the relationships of each of the tasks to the other tasks. It illuminates in complete detail the actions that need to take place in order for the project to get accomplished. It then ensures the necessary order by using information about the activity duration as well as any external constraints that might exist. Finally, the project schedule ensures that the deadlines are met given the identified constraints such as labor, materials, and other resources.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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