Project scheduling is the most important phase of project planning which defines what activities need to be done in what timeframe and what resources are required to complete those activities.
In other words, Project management scheduling is the action of listing all activities as per their dependency sequence, goals, and milestones of a project.
What is Project Scheduling?
A project schedule is a document that usually represents the estimated start and finish date, estimated duration, and resources allocated to each activity. However, it includes work schedules, staff time schedules, task schedules, etc.
For successful time management during the project lifecycle, it is important to have effective project scheduling. All tasks require the allocation of the best resources to perform them in the best possible way.
There are some activities in a project, each task has its start and end date, so it can be completed on time.
Many project management tools are available in the market which can help in scheduling project activities.
Typically, project activity scheduling is just one of the features within a larger project management tool that has multiple applications during the project life cycle. An effective project schedule template can also be made using excel spreadsheets.
Significance of Project Scheduling Template Excel
- A project schedule is a project’s timetable, which consists of arranging activities and set milestones that have to be achieved within a certain time frame.
- An effective project schedule reflects the following useful information,
- It defines what needs to be done in which sequence.
- It helps to allocate resources to each task.
- It helps in tracking, reporting, and communicating the progress of the project.
- It ensures every member of the project management team is on the same page as far as tasks, dependencies, and deadlines are concerned.
- It highlights the issues and concerns, such as a lack of resources.
- It defines the activities’ dependencies
How To Schedule a Project?
For this purpose, we have to define what kind of activities may occur during a project and this can define by splitting the whole project plan into small pieces of tasks which is known as a work breakdown structure.
After that, we have to evaluate a specific timeline for each task completion, for this purpose we can utilize project tracking sheets. This technique helps us to determine the expected ending date of the project. A project dashboard template is also a useful tool for this purpose.
Now the third step is to identify task dependency factors, which means an important task should be completed early than others. Or we can say that those tasks that have a direct influence on other tasks should complete on a priority basis.
The fourth and last step is based on the evaluation and allocation of resources. In this step firstly we have to calculate the resource capacity of our project and after that, we allocate them to working staff for the completion of their work.
Project Schedule Plan Techniques
There are many manual and computation-based project management scheduling techniques used to make project scheduling during project planning such as,
Mathematical Analysis (CPM and PERT)
Duration Compression (Fast-tracking and Crashing)
CPM (Critical Path Method) and PERT(Project Evaluation and Review Technique) are the most commonly used and accurate techniques of project scheduling.
These techniques use a project network diagram to calculate important project factors such as critical path, critical activities, and floating activities of the project. The basic difference between CPM and PERT is CPM uses naturally deterministic times while PERT uses three estimates of time (Optimistic, Most Likely, Pessimistic) to calculate the meantime of each activity.
Following are the simple steps that can be followed to make an effective project-scheduling template using excel,
- Define project activities using WBS and Deliverable diagrams.
- Evaluating activities’ relationship to define how activities are linked to each other and what is the most appropriate sequence of their occurrence.
- After having a sequenced list of activities in hand, the next step is to do an estimated start and end date of each activity and their required duration.
- Based on activities dependency and estimated dates, resources are allocated to activities for their timely completion.
Project Schedule Plan Template Excel
Activity schedules can later be used for easy visualization, monitoring of project activities, and creating a project timeline using the Gantt Chart feature of project management tools.