By this time, you already have your project into the planning stage. Well done.
Now let’s start building out your project by going through one of the most important components of the project: Scheduling.
The schedule is the heartbeat of your project, as it sets the rhythm for delivery. It can be extremely fast, which in turn spends money quicker, requires more simultaneous resources and will deliver benefits faster. But will typically have a higher risk profile relating to quality, under estimations, etc. And it can be the inverse for a slower rhythm.
Which is why it is vital to have a heartbeat that has just enough pace to keep pressure on the project, while also not making it drag on and miss the advantage it was designed to provide.
The anatomy of a schedule is a list of the activities, deliverables, milestones and tasks within the project. Each item will typically have a description, start and finish date, resources assignment, and a baseline to compare against forecasts and actuals.
Instead of having a straight list, building parent and children task relationships (known as the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)) will help organise the tasks into easy to execute models that can also be displayed as a timeline (eg, a Gantt Chart).
So, what are the benefits of a schedule?
Budget: From a completed schedule, you will be able to build out the budgets of a project as the labor, resources and technology necessary for delivery has been outlined.
Resource Allocation: Depending on the WBS structure you created, you will be able to know what types of resources you require and by when.
Accountability: Since all tasks are in the schedule and assigned to key resources, you have a list of dates that they are accountable to achieving. A team assigned to a single work package is wholly accountable for its completion and helps reduce any overlaps in responsibility.
Commitment: The schedule gives teams a high-level overview of their responsibilities. Since each team is responsible for a specific component at a time, it helps make them more committed to completing their assigned tasks.
Reduces ambiguities: The process of developing the WBS involves the project manager, project team, and all relevant stakeholders. This encourages dialog and helps everyone involved flesh out their responsibilities. Thus, everyone has less ambiguity and a better idea of what they're supposed to do.
The best first step in building out a schedule is to bring the project team together and brainstorm (or data mine from previous projects and templates) a list of tasks that need to be completed. Once you finish adding the duration or effort to each task, then re-organise the list into a logical delivery sequence and finish by building into the WBS hierarchy.
It’s common to have three levels of decomposition in the WBS (eg, 1, 1.1, 1.1.1). You might have a fourth and even a fifth level in case of extremely complex projects. For most projects, however, three levels will suffice.
Once you’re set with your WBS, you are now ready to finalize your Project Schedule by marking key tasks as deliverables, milestones and key activities to assist with reporting or extracting the key items (just right click on any task and mark them against the most relevant item).
To know more about project scheduling in Focus HQ, you can check this video:
To import a WBS in a CSV file, you can check this video below:
Please also visit the Focus HQ Support Portal for more details:
Feel free to explore Focus HQ Project Schedule by opening your project and clicking on the 'schedule' module within the sidebar to start creating your schedule now.
If you have any other questions, you can reach out to us via the Focus HQ Help or send us an email to email@example.com. We’ll be happy to guide you in navigating through these and provide other valuable support links when needed.