Managing Projects: The Power of Dynamic Scheduling

Are We There Yet? The Power of Dynamic Scheduling
Since time is money, time management is arguably the most important part of any project. There's no way you could conduct a project without time management; but are you doing everything you can to ensure timeliness and efficiency? If time management is the most important part of any project, planning and scheduling are the most important processes in managing a project.
There are six processes associated with project management:
  • activity definition
  • activity sequencing
  • activity resource estimating
  • activity duration estimation
  • schedule development
  • schedule control
Notice a pattern there? It seems the words activity and schedule come up quite often, and for good reason. The most basic part of any project is an activity which can be further broken down in to tasks; and of course a schedule is the most basic thing you need to manage time at all.
Scheduling activities in a responsible and educated way is the key to project time management. Identifying activities and scheduling them is a great first step to effective project time management, but it's not that simple. Anyone can take a guess at how long an activity will take you, what you have to do is come up with the best estimate, as well as make allowance for that estimate being a little off.
Any schedule, no matter how good it is, is still an estimate at best.
To ensure that your project isn't derailed by an activity taking longer than planned it's best to schedule some slack or gloat. That simply means you have made room in your schedule for unexpected delays and the project won't go off track when these delays occur. The time spent on a project and its costs are directly proportional. Your schedule may very well determine the budget, and a mistake in scheduling could cause you to break your budget, so getting the schedule right before you start is important. As long as you get the best advice you can about how long activities should take and schedule slack to allow for miscalculation your schedule should stand the rigor of the project cycle.

By Frank Payne
Photography by Nikola Hristovski