Project schedules are 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 really required to deliver the project – incomplete schedules are a waste of time.
- They have no idea of dependencies and how important it is to understand and link them so that slippage of one task affects others and you can see that and monitor it – schedules that don’t show the true picture are a waste of time.
- They make up dates to include in their schedule, so that they can make it look like they have understood 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?
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 the real value is in it. You can honestly monitor your outputs and really 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.
Written by Karen Munro