How to create a project schedule (step-by step guide)

If you don’t have the right mindset, it can be difficult to create a realistic project plan.
Everyone expects there will always be a way to squeeze all the project scope within the timeframes set by project owners. You are under a lot of pressure from stakeholders to find a solution. There is no magic solution in most cases.
The only way to solve this problem is to do less or to ask for more money or extra time. This begins a tedious dialogue with project owners and other stakeholders. You will need to go back and retrace your steps during the planning process, and do a lot more work.
By setting realistic expectations, you can reduce the mental pain. Planning is an ongoing process. You will need to make changes to the first draft.
Don’t get too attached. Be open to negotiations. Prepare to change your plan. It is easier to execute a project if you put more effort into creating a realistic schedule.
You will then promise to deliver the project scope according to a specific schedule. You may also be required to provide interim deliverables at specific dates.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Project Calendar
Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a schedule that is accurate. You can copy it and use it as an instruction.
Prepare a schedule management plan.
Set milestones for project end and start dates.
For each resource, add a “holidays” calendar based on their location.
Add resources (or real people), and their availability.
All team members should be aware of known vacations and days off
Set milestones to indicate when new resources will be available.
If you don’t have a scheduling tool, import a list of tasks.
Allocate resources to each task.
Identify dependencies.
Each task should be given a time limit (copy the estimates from the team).
Identify the critical path.
Do a mental check. Do you think you can meet the deadline? A buffer of 10-15% should be available.
You can move work packages around to make sure they are being done simultaneously. You can also assign more resources to complete the work faster. Or you can negotiate to descope something.
You can check your workload to determine the availability of resources. It is not a good idea to work beyond your daily work hours.
Adjust your schedule and resources until it fits within the deadline. Or prove it impossible. Offer the next-best alternative.
Risk management activities should be included in your project schedule.
Add risk response plans to your overall plan.
You can also move work packages around to make sure they are being done simultaneously. You can also assign more resources to complete the work faster. Or you can negotiate to descope something.
Verify the workload and resources. Validate the entire project schedule.
Continue this process until you have a realistic schedule that you and the team agree on.
Finalize the baseline project schedule.
These steps will be explained in detail.
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Get the BookStep #1: Schedule Management Plan
The schedule management plan is often confused with a project schedule. It is only one part of the plan, but it is an important one. The timeline will be of primary interest to key stakeholders. It answers their primary question, “When will I see the results?”
Before you can drag colored bars onto a Gantt chart there are many questions you need to answer. These are the most important:
A. What are the current policies and processes? Your project must fit within the organizational environment. You will need to obtain approvals, provide reports, and negotiate to prove the need for resources. Your schedule will need to be presented to internal stakeholders. You need to make your schedule look familiar to them.

Author: Kody