5. Make a schedule, including milestones & implementation dates.
Your specific project goals are made up of your stakeholder needs and these need to be prioritised in order to be an effective part of your time management system. Time is a big consideration when working towards your goals, especially when you have set specific deadlines. You need to be clear about how you are going to go about accomplishing your goals.
An effective way to develop your schedule is as follows –
- First, identify activities and tasks needed to produce the work package, which will help form your task structures.
- Next, identify the need for resource limitations.
- Estimate the time and the cost of each task.
- Determine realistic resource restrictions.
- Create a ‘task dependency’ list to run in synchronously in a sequence where tasks are dependent on other tasks.
- Develop a planner and document all estimates and tasks, with a timeline of events, including resources, expenditure and deadlines.
- Develop a cost by time period.
6. Create a workflow which includes milestones and implementations datesImplementation dates clarify and describe what the project should deliver and within what time-frame. If continuous monitoring and control is not done, everything that can appear to be going along smoothly can all turn bad and go out of control very quickly. A hands on approach to supervising and analysing with audits and assessments of the project implementation progress can pick up the risk triggers early on and indicate immediate problems with the workflow or work package.
A project manager needs to set and manage the expectations of the project and not set overly aggressive or optimistic schedules, the realities and limitations of the actual project should be thoroughly investigated and adhered to, taking into consideration the deployment dates and required resources and deliverables all of which should be kept current in the minds of all stakeholders so that no-one loses sight of the final product while going through the project life cycle.
Try not view deadlines in a negative light, it is natural to feel anxiety about whether you can finish on time but if you follow the above suggestions outlined here you shouldn’t be far off your target but if you do have unscheduled delays remember you can still adjust if you are aware of all the details, as you do need to have some flexibility built into your project plans.
When all the components of the schedule and the implementation dates have been set for the project and the schedule is developed and designed, you need to make sure that this document has been checked and approved by all stakeholders and the project manager in order to ensure that its content is appropriate and its targets are clearly stated and achievable.
Similarly, milestones are tools to mark specific points along a project timeline, when you have to show progress. Without a deadline there is ‘no motivation’ to show progress or indeed finish something within a certain amount of time.
Milestones help you to more accurately determine whether or not the project is on schedule!
Milestones may include key dates, launch parties, board meetings, product roll-outs and other significant pieces of your project.
Monitor your progress by keeping track with your check list or an ‘app’, even a simple spreadsheet can help you gage your progress. Checking off tasks as you complete them can be a great motivator along the way as they essentially let you know if your project is advancing in the right direction.