Tips For Faster Scheduling

Tips For Faster Scheduling

Tips For Faster Scheduling
  Tips For Faster Scheduling 

Some PMs find project scheduling to be good fun. It’s exciting to see all those tasks come together into one structured whole. The project appears before your very eyes and suddenly the screen shows a complete initiative, with everything and everyone aligned to deliver a meaningful business benefit. Plus there is something satisfying about sorting out over-allocation for resources and dealing with task conflicts. When the schedule is done, it’s a work of art.  What isn’t fun, is the time it takes to develop that beautiful project schedule. Here are some tricks to help you produce a schedule faster.
1-Work Together  
You can’t put the schedule together by yourself although I have tried! That was a long time ago, before I realized the value in having input from others in the project team. Everyone on the team will have a different take on the tasks involved to get the work done, and as they see it from a slightly different angle, with a focus on their own work, they will identify the tasks that they need to do that you wouldn’t be able to see. 
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Input from subject matter experts is invaluable and will save you loads of time going back and forth between team members for information.  You can hold a project scheduling workshop and brainstorm all the tasks together, which is a fast way to get the whole schedule produced in just a couple of days. You could never do it that quickly if you worked alone. 

1-Work Online  
Storing your project schedule online, and working on it online, means that you can update it or add new tasks from wherever you are. Use a mobile app to access your schedule from your smartphone or tablet and you’ll be able to manage your project from anywhere. That saves you time because you can make changes as they are discussed. 
If you didn’t do that, you’d have to write down the activity, try to remember the details, make the change later, go back to the person who suggested the change and that all takes time.  If you can access your project schedule online you can amend your plan with the relevant resource alongside you and make and approve the changes in real time.

1-Set Deadlines  
Once you’ve put together your initial view of your project schedule, you’ll want your team members to cast their eye over it and ratify that you’ve understood everything correctly. And you want this activity to be fast.  Set a deadline: tell them that you need to hear back by a certain date. If you don’t, they won’t have any clue about your personal desire to get the schedule finished promptly and they won’t have any motivation to respond to you. 
A deadline sets a clear expectation about when they need to respond by, and you can chase them if they need reminding.  In fact, this goes for all plan reviews and the majority of communications with your team members! If you need their input and not having it is stopping you from doing something else or finishing a task, make sure they know when you are expecting a response. Then you can all plan your work accordingly.
4-Share Access  
The project schedule isn’t something that the project manager should keep private. Everyone on the team (and anyone else appropriate) should have access to the schedule so that they can see the work coming up and what the overall picture looks like. Make sure that you upload your project schedule to an online tool so that everyone can access it.  You may not want them to be able to make changes. 
If you are anything like me, you’ll want to be the custodian of the schedule, and aside from status updates, want to be the one who adds in new tasks, deletes tasks, updates it to accommodate approved changes and so on. You can set access permissions on the system so that your team mates only have the right to make certain changes, so if you are worried (or a control freak like me) then get these set up correctly from the beginning.

1-Schedule Updates  
One of the most time-consuming scheduling jobs has to be updating the schedule when it changes. It’s great if your system automatically pulls activity logs and timesheet data and makes some of those changes for you, but even if that does happen you’ll still have to add and delete tasks and tweak the timeframes and resource allocations based on the dynamic project situation.  So you want to make that overhead as fast as possible.  The best way that I have found to do this is to make time in the diary each week. 
I put aside an hour on a Friday to update my plans and the project schedule. It barely takes any time, but if I leave it and then do a major update once a month it’s a huge job. Save yourself a lot of time by making small, incremental changes as they happen or at least once a week, as this is a far faster way of managing your schedule than doing a big update when you remember or have a report to produce!  
Project scheduling used to take a long time, especially in the days where it took ages to schedule meetings with everyone, and clunky tools made it hard to produce project plans, let alone update them regularly and share them with everyone. That’s changed now. The ways we work together are different and the tools at our disposal mean that scheduling is a joy! These tips will help you get that project schedule done even faster.
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The Author: Ala'a Elbeheri

                                         Ala'a Elbeheri
A versatile and highly accomplished senior certified IT risk management Advisor and Senior IT Lead Auditor with over 20 years of progressive experience in all domains of ICT.  • Program and portfolio management, complex project management, and service delivery, and client    relationship management.      
• Capable of providing invaluable information while making key strategic decisions and spearheading customer-centric projects in IT/ICT in diverse sectors.   
• Displays strong business and commercial acumen and delivers cost-effective solutions contributing to financial and operational business growth in international working environments.      
• Fluent in oral and written English, German, and Arabic with an Professional knowledge of French.  
• Energetic and dynamic relishes challenges and demonstrates in-depth analytical and strategic ability to facilitate operational and procedural planning.  
• Fully conversant with industry standards, with a consistent track record in delivering cost-effective strategic solutions.    
• Strong people skills, with proven ability to build successful, cohesive teams and interact well with individuals across all levels of the business. Committed to promoting the ongoing development of IT skills  throughout an organization

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