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Project Management (a quick tutorial) - Project Schedule

The Project Schedule (timeline management)

The schedule provides the list of tasks needed to complete your project.  It identifies when the task will start, the duration and the target date for task completion. 

Work Breakdown

Action: Develop a Work breakdown Structure.

The Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS, is a listing of all project activities, tasks and sub-tasks.  The WBS serves to define and organize the work effort and taken collectively the WBS defines all project deliverables.

One of the best methods to develop a project WBS is to list the key project tasks on small note cards, i.e. Post-it® notes. 

  • Ask:  what do I need to do to complete this project (these are activities) 
  • Then ask: what do I need to do to complete each activity (these are tasks)
  • Then ask: what do I need to do to complete each task (these are sub tasks)

List each activity, task and sub task on a separate note card.

F Voice of Experience – WBS

It is best to define your tasks as a team exercise.  By jointly defining the tasks you gain the support of your team.

I Word to the Wise

As you consider your tasks and subtasks think about your project budget and the project accounting system.  Your tasks and sub-tasks should link to your budget and your budget should link to your accounting system.  Your budget should form the foundation for your cost tracking.  Your accounting system should provide the feedback that your budgets are being maintained.

Work Breakdown tasks - are like prunes ~
a lot is too many,
a few is not enough

Network Tree

Action:  Organize your tasks and sub-tasks into a network tree:



Task Outline

Action: Develop a Tasks Outline from the network tree: 

Outline of Tasks

Activity 1

          Task 1A

                        Sub task 1A1

                        Sub task 1A2

          Task 1B

                        Sub task 1B1

                       Subtask 1B2

Activity 2

          Task 2A

                        Subtask 2A1

                        Subtask 2A2

Activity 3

          Task 3A

                        Subtask 3A1

                        Subtask 3A2

          Task 3B

                        Subtask 3B1

                        Subtask 3B2





The Project Schedule – a Timeline displayed as a Gantt Chart

Action: From the task list develop the project schedule:

  1. For each task item, identify
    a. Task relationships (predecessors for each task)
    b. Task durations
  2. Add buffers to protect project work flow and to provide contingen
  3. Add a schedule milestone when deliverables are due.

The task outline can be developed on a project management program, like Microsoft Project or Primavera .  The project management program can display the project schedule in Gantt Chart format where all tasks are identified and the task durations, task relationships and task start / stop times are shown graphically.

Resource Management

Action: Identify the resources needed for each task.  Evaluate the work required against the work effort and task duration.  If the work effort cannot be performed within the scheduled duration:

  1. Revise staffing (i.e. add or revise the resources)
  2. Revise the task duration
  3. Revise the sequence of the work
I  Word to the Wise – Look for Constraints

Projects are often constrained by a few key resources.  Schedules can be shortened by optimizing the constrained resources and protecting critical durations with time buffers and management focus. 

F  Voice of Experience – Look for Conservative Estimating

Often schedules allow too much time for each task, as such the resources delay task work with the anticipation that they can start the work as required to meet the project timeline.  The work is delayed until the last minute and the work quality suffers.  This is situation called the “student syndrome”.  

What helps mitigate the “student syndrome”:

  1. clearly define the task deliverables
  2. define the level of quality required
  3. conduct frequent reviews, with task progress identified
  4. adjust the resources and / or schedule to meet commitments
  5. reduce task durations and add buffer
  6. manage the buffer, allowing buffer to be released based on project need

Cost Management

Identify the material and labor costs for each task.  The total of all costs is the Planned Value (PV).

Action:  Evaluate the work required against the work effort and task duration.  If the work effort cannot be performed within the project budget:

  1. Review how the work is being performed
  2. Look for cost saving measures

Include cost buffers (contingencies) as required by the project and project risk. 

Communicate the planned value for each task to the team and gain consensus

W  Wiki: Earned Value Management

Achieving consensus on all PV quantities yields an important benefit …
because it exposes misunderstandings and miscommunications about the scope of the project,
and resolving these differences should always occur as early as possible.

                        Wikipedia, Earned Value Management

Schedule Baseline

Action:  Once the schedule logic is complete (including resource and cost loading) baseline the schedule. 


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Construction Management Southeast Kansas

What is Project Management?

Project management is the process of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve project goals.

What is a Project?

A project is a temporary work effort with a defined beginning and end, undertaken to meet specific goals and objectives. Projects are designed to bring about beneficial change or added value.

Read more

What is Construction Project Management?

Construction Project Management is project management that applies to the construction sector.  Construction Project Management includes the overall planning, coordination and control of a project from inception to completion aimed at meeting a client’s requirements in order to produce a functionally and financially viable project.

What is Construction Management?

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise ...

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