What Is a Project Schedule?
A project schedule is what communicates the planned dates for performing schedule activities and meeting each of the milestones. It indicates the sequence with which activities will be performed and how long it will take to perform each one.
In many organizations, project schedules are created with a software application like Microsoft® Project®. By entering the activities, resources and durations into the scheduling tool, the software generates a schedule with planned dates for completing the activities.
Some organizations; however, manage projects through documentation. This is particularly true for smaller organizations with limited resources. If you’re managing a project in the latter environment, you may find this template useful. It’s a slightly modified version of a Microsoft® Office® template.
Like most project schedules, this one presents data graphically. The one here allows the user to enter activities or milestones along with their start and end dates. Once entered, the template automatically populates a Gantt chart which scrolls across the top of the page. The second page of the template is used for documenting resource requirements.
Who Creates the Project Schedule?
The project manager creates the project schedule; though he or she rarely does so in isolation. A good project manager will consult with the project team members and other stakeholders when determining sequence, estimating durations and identifying constraints.
What Are the Inputs?
Inputs to the project schedule include the activity list, activity attributes, project schedule network diagrams, activity resource requirements, resource calendars, activity duration estimates, project scope statement, enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets.
How Is It Used?
The project schedule is a planning tool. It’s used to plan the sequence and duration of the project activities, from start to finish. Developing it is an iterative process. As more information is known, the schedule becomes revised.
The project schedule is also a monitoring tool. It’s used to monitor time. At some point before the project work begins, the schedule becomes “baselined.” In other words, it becomes approved and it’s used to track progress. What actually happens is compared to what was agreed upon. These performance results are set forth in each status report.
Think of the project schedule as a living document. It’s one that becomes updated throughout the duration of the project. Where change requests increase or decrease the project scope, remember to review the schedule for revisions.
Download the template below and get started. The second tab on the worksheet is used for tracking resource requirements.
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