Project schedule is prepared listing down step by step in sequential order the jobs involved in the implementation of the project. The steps should be well-defined along with the required time to complete each step.
This project schedule becomes a “tool” to ensure timely implementation of the project. When a final decision has been taken to launch, the Project Manager is to entrust the jobs involved to personnel within the Project Team with assigned responsibility to ensure that the steps are completed within the time-frame allotted and within the budgeted cost.
Steps to Developing a Project Schedule
Step 1: Create a work breakdown structure
Step 2: Estimate durations
Step 3: Determine resources
Step 4: Identify predecessors
Step 5: Determine milestones
Step 6: Identify dependencies
Step 1: Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is used for estimating the project scope by breaking it down into easily manageable components, or bites. WBS is the hierarchical list of project’s phases, tasks, and milestones.
A WBS is very useful in planning a project and makes a complex project more manageable. The WBS is designed to help break down a project into manageable chunks that can be effectively estimated, managed and supervised.
A WBS also provides the basis for a detailed duration and cost estimates. It gives accuracy in estimating a project by calculating how much time and effort is required to accomplish a task or activity, thereby aggregating to estimate the effort required to complete a superior component in the hierarchy.
Step 2: Estimate Task Duration
Once the list of activities is identified, estimate the task duration for all activities as to how much effort by duration is required to perform each activity. To estimate the task duration, make sure the activity is detailed enough to estimate how much effort each activity or sub-activity will require to complete.
For example, to calculate how much time is required to complete the ‘Excavation’ for constructing the house, you may need to know what is involved in doing excavation and how much time is required to complete each activity in excavation. List the set of activities required to do excavation on the site and estimate the duration of each activity.
Step 3: Determine the Resources Requirements
Determine the personnel and non-personnel resources required to perform all activities. For example, the excavation work may require the following resources: Project Manager – Work duration 16 hours Site Grading Contractor – Work duration 80 hours.
- Create a Resource Table of all resources who will work on the project
- Assign or Allocate resources to activities
Step 4: Identify the Dependencies between Tasks
After identifying all the activities and timeline necessary to complete the project, we identify and define the immediate predecessors of all activities. This will determine the sequence in which the activities may be performed. For example, excavation work will be carried out before the steel erection can be done. Hence, the predecessor to ‘1.2 Steel erection’ activity will be ‘1.1 Excavation’.
Step 5: Identify Dependencies
In a project, dependency is a link between tasks or activities or elements. There are four kinds of dependencies:-
Finish to Start (FS): A FS B = B can’t start before A is finished or B will start only after A is finished.
For example, concrete must cure before it can be used. Therefore, the builder pours the concrete, waits four days and then builds the walls on the concrete.
Finish to Finish (FF): A FF B = B can’t finish before A is finished, i.e., B will finish only after A is finished.
For example, Foundations excavation cannot be completed unless the elevator pit excavation is complete.
Start to Start (SS): A SS B = B can’t start before A starts, i.e., B can start only if A has started.
- Curing cannot be started unless pouring for the foundation has started. Start to Finish (SF): A SF B = B can’t finish before A starts, i.e., B can finish only after A has started.
- Pouring & curing is a parallel activity and Pouring can finish only after curing has started.
During the project planning phase, the project is estimated to list out the set of activities, tasks, and resources required to complete the project. The project schedule is detailed enough to show each task to be performed, the resource allocated to perform the task, the start and end date of each task and the duration in which the task will be performed. During the lifecycle of a project, the project progress is monitored by the project schedule.