A good project management schedule is vital to a successful, growing business. It clarifies operations, goals, and team responsibilities. How well you manage the schedule can determine the health of the organization.
In fact, 37% of project failures are due to a lack of clear goals.
A good project schedule contains defined objectives, deadlines, responsibilities, measurable markers, and other vital components crucial to the development or operations of a project.
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The benefits of a good project scheduling process
To create a good process, it’s important to know why you’re doing it, and what the benefits are for your business. You can achieve the following with a well-planned schedule:
1. Establish clear, attainable goals
Align your team by starting the schedule with the project goal. The key to success involves communicating exactly why you’re taking on this project.
2. Roles, responsibilities, and expectations are planned
When you know who is doing what and when, you’re more likely to get everything done.
3. With tasks and planning, deadlines can be met
When you communicate each component of your plans, you can realistically plan to meet those deadlines. Plus, when teams know deadlines upfront, they can provide input and agree to a timeframe.
4. Save time and resources with good planning
Good planning minimizes risks, utilizes your team in the best ways possible, and maximizes efficiency.
5. Meet budget and time projections
Measure how much time, money, and wiggle room is needed to meet your goals — before the project starts and throughout.
6. Develop a quality product
When everything is planned in advance, you’ll see higher-quality outcomes.
These benefits make projects much more effective while minimizing risks. When you implement the process and project management tools, you can improve the success of your company and its ability to produce exceptional outcomes.
9 steps to creating a project schedule
1. Plan the project
To start the process of project planning, call your team together to create practical goals and expectations. Lay out the objective, gather input, and get everyone thinking about next steps.
Tools like Zoom are great for face-to-face meetings with your team from wherever you are.
2. Define activities and tasks
Once you know the destination, then it’s time to lay out the roadmap. Project schedules help clarify what needs to be done to get to the next milestone. Each clearly defined task brings you closer to the final product.
Many project management tools like Hubstaff Tasks let you assign tasks with your team. You can add descriptions, followers, due dates and more so each task has all the relevant information.
3. Prioritize work
Some tasks are more important than others. There are also tasks that are contingent upon others being completed first or simultaneously. Any project can look complex if a team doesn’t have a well-defined order and schedule. Great schedules in conjunction with effective project management tools help organize these tasks.
The classic method to do this is the Gantt chart, which organizes each task on a calendar with many features that communicate contingencies and other complex details of your project.
While most modern software options use Gantt charts as their foundation, you can also create one through a template or spreadsheet manually.
Another way to prioritize is by using Agile sprints. These one to three week durations align your team by agreeing to what’s worked on in that timeframe, and saving the rest for future sprints.
4. Define resources needed
When teams know what they want and how to get there, they need to know the investments required. How much capital, labor, and other resources are needed to make it happen?
There are many free tools and methods you can use to find the right budget and process that would work for your unique project.
5. Assign roles and responsibilities
Have you ever left a meeting that seems promising but there isn’t any accountability for the action requested? A team might know what to do, but if there isn’t one person responsible for the outcome of each task, then you might as well not even meet.
When someone has a publicly defined role or responsibility, they’re held accountable and people know who to talk to for each task.
6. Establish a timeline
This is a schedule after all and establishing a timeline that defines the scope of the project will create transparency and expectations for your team.
7. Create opportunities for communication
Need to report feedback? Does something need to be adjusted? Your project schedule should allow communication to be built into every step.
Tools like Slack are great for connecting with your team when there are many components to your project. It allows you to organize your conversations by categories, making it easy to plan and share files.
8. Meet deadlines
Stay on track with set milestones that your whole team is aware of. The ideal project scheduling process allows for reasonable deadline goals and accountability.
Project management tools give you updates and notifications when a deadline is coming up. Another option is to optimize your Google Calendar to highlight important meetings and milestones.
9. Estimate projections for work and revenue
Estimate the hours, costs, and timelines for each step of your project and track how things change over time. Setting clear key performance indicators (KPIs) from the beginning will give you a benchmark for success.
Need the right all-in-one tool?
Hubstaff Tasks, a streamlined Agile project management tool, brings your team and tasks together in one place, so it’s easy to stay on track.
With Agile features such as Stand-ups and Sprints, plus due dates for tasks, checklists, and more, Hubstaff Tasks provides everything you need to deliver on your objectives.
Not only that, but comments and assigning tasks can ensure your team is optimized to produce great results.
Get your project schedule template
To speed things up, start with one of our free templates that can help you define your own plan in Hubstaff Tasks.