A Project schedule is a tracking tool. Project schedules also create a sense of security for your project sponsor and Project Control Board (PCB). That is their purpose.
They are a simple tracking tool only and of no real value. Therefore there is no real need to have one. You can track how things are going making an estimate and report this to your PCB and sponsor.
A number of Project Managers that I have worked with have no idea how to put a project schedule together.
- They don’t include all of the tasks that are required to deliver the project – incomplete schedules are a waste of time.
- Dependencies are not called out. Therefore there is no understand of how slippage of one task affects others – schedules that don’t show the true picture are a waste of time.
- The dates in their schedule only make it look like they understand the time required to complete a task – reporting is not factual because the schedule that is created isn’t a true indication of time and work output required.
- The schedule doesn’t have task owners or resources against it, so there is no accountability for delivery – waste of time
Why then would you bother wasting your time making a pretty picture that isn’t factual, complete and usable?
An inaccurate project schedule is a waste of time
Please PM’s if you are going to take the time to create a project schedule, do what’s needed to make it as accurate as you can. This way there is real value in it. You can honestly monitor your outputs and then show a true picture of where your project is at.
Add in milestones. Those checkpoints that you can monitor against. Make them realistic too. Include them at obvious validation points where there are clear deliverables that form a package or piece.
Be honest with your PCB and business owner or sponsor about your progress. This honesty builds trust with them. It will allow them to support you to get what you need to bring a project back on track. Something that is really valuable.
You DO need a project schedule
Of course you need a project schedule and one that is set up correctly.
Listen to this podcast episode for tips and ways to create a project schedule that will support delivery of your project.