Plan and schedule
|Plan and schedule|
A plan and schedule are documents in project management that define the activities, resources, timelines, and outcomes of a project. The plan outlines the tasks necessary to achieve the project objectives and the schedule breaks down the timeline into specific phases, milestones, and activities to be completed. Both the plan and schedule provide an understanding of the project scope, timeline, and cost and are used to keep the project on track and ensure it is completed on time and within budget.
Best practices of preparing plan and schedule
- Set Clear Objectives: A plan must have clearly defined objectives that are measurable and achievable. The objectives should provide a guideline for the project team to follow and help them stay on track.
- Define Resources: A plan should define the resources that are needed for the project, including personnel, equipment, materials, and funding.
- Create Milestones: Milestones are important for tracking progress and keeping the project on schedule. Milestones should be established at the beginning of the project and updated as the project progresses.
- Establish Deadlines: Deadlines should be established for each task, milestone, and overall project completion. Deadlines should be realistic and achievable.
- Assign Responsibilities: Each task should have a designated person responsible for its completion. This will ensure that tasks are completed on time and to the required standard.
- Monitor Progress: The plan should have a system for monitoring progress throughout the project. This will allow the project team to identify any potential problems and make adjustments as necessary.
- Establish Contingency Plans: A plan should include contingencies or alternative plans that can be implemented in case of unexpected circumstances or delays.
- Review and Adjust: The plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is still relevant and up-to-date. Adjustments should be made as necessary to ensure the project remains on track.
When to use plan and schedule
A plan and schedule are typically used at the beginning of a project to define the scope, timeline, and cost of the project. They can also be used throughout the project to track progress and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget. The following are some specific applications for a plan and schedule:
- Planning: A plan and schedule can be used to identify the tasks, activities, and resources necessary to complete a project.
- Tracking: A plan and schedule can be used to track progress and compare it to the planned timeline and budget.
- Risk Management: A plan and schedule can be used to identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.
- Change Management: A plan and schedule can be used to identify and manage any changes that may occur during the project.
- Communication: A plan and schedule can be used to keep stakeholders informed on the progress of the project.
Advantages of plan and schedule
The plan and schedule are essential documents in project management that provide an understanding of the project scope, timeline, and cost. The following are the advantages of having a plan and schedule in place for a project:
- A plan and schedule provide a roadmap for the project, outlining the tasks and activities necessary for completion. This helps ensure that nothing is overlooked and that the project is completed on time and within budget.
- A plan and schedule help to identify potential risks and problems before they arise, allowing the project manager to take proactive steps to address them.
- A plan and schedule help to establish clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders, ensuring that everyone knows their part in the project.
- A plan and schedule provide a timeline that can be adjusted if necessary, allowing the project manager to respond to changes in the project scope or timeline.
- A plan and schedule help to ensure that tasks are completed in an efficient manner, as the timeline can be broken down into smaller, manageable chunks. This helps to keep the project on track and reduces the chances of delays.
Limitations of plan and schedule
The plan and schedule are essential elements of project management, however there are some limitations associated with them. These include:
- Time – The plan and schedule can only be effective if the estimated timeframes are accurate and realistic. If a task takes longer than expected, it can throw the whole project off-track.
- Cost – The plan and schedule also do not account for unexpected costs which may arise during the project.
- Team – The plan and schedule assume that all team members are performing as expected and that there are no issues with communication or collaboration.
- Resource availability – The plan and schedule are based on the availability of resources, however these can change over time, which can affect the ability to meet the project objectives.
- Risk and uncertainty – The plan and schedule do not account for potential risks and uncertainties that may arise during the project.
The other approaches related to plan and schedule include:
- Risk management – Risk management helps identify, assess, and manage risks associated with the project. It assesses the probability and impact of potential risks and develops strategies to mitigate them.
- Scope management – Scope management provides a framework to define and control the scope of the project and ensure that it meets the objectives and requirements of the stakeholders.
- Cost management – Cost management is used to manage the budget and ensure the project is completed within the allocated budget and time frame.
- Quality management – Quality management is used to ensure the project is completed to the required standards and meets the customer’s expectations.
- Communication management – Communication management is used to ensure stakeholders are kept informed of the project’s progress and any changes that may occur.
In conclusion, the plan and schedule are essential documents in project management that define the activities, timelines, and outcomes of a project. Other approaches such as risk management, scope management, cost management, quality management, and communication management are also important in ensuring the project is completed on time and within budget.
- Xiong, G., & Nyberg, T. R. (2000). Push/pull production plan and schedule used in modern refinery Cims. Robotics and Computer-integrated manufacturing, 16(6), 397-410.
- Marin-Garcia, J. A., Garcia-Sabater, J. P., Ruiz, A., Maheut, J., & Garcia-Sabater, J. J. (2020). Operations Management at the service of health care management: Example of a proposal for action research to plan and schedule health resources in scenarios derived from the Covid-19 outbreak. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management (JIEM), 13(2), 213-227.