Scheduling Simple Projects

Work back from your end date.

© iStockphoto/nigelcarse

Simple projects involve only one or a few people over a short time. Typically, simple projects will have few tasks dependent on other tasks, and will be relatively straightforward and easy to coordinate. Examples might be coordinating delivery of resources for a workshop session, implementing a small marketing plan, or delivering a simple software enhancement.

With simple projects, tools like Gantt Charts   and Critical Path Diagrams   may overcomplicate project scheduling and communication. Unless project team members are trained in their use, they can often 'blind people with science', leading to poor communication and muddled projects.

Appropriate timetables and Action Plans are often sufficient to coordinate and implement simple projects. These should be explained and negotiated with project staff to improve the plans and get staff understanding, input and buy-in.

It will often be enough to create a workback schedule, starting from the date by which the project must be completed, and listing all of the tasks in reverse order with due dates for each.

Key Points

Simple projects are often best run using simple timetables and Action Plans. These should be prepared and negotiated with project staff to improve plans and get buy-in.

During the project these will contain sufficient control points and deliveries to monitor project progress and take any appropriate remedial action.

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Comment (1)
  • Dianna wrote Over a month ago
    When a project is small or reasonably simple it's tempting to just dive in without a real plan. You figure the time you spend planning could be better spent "doing". If however you take just a bit of time upfront to plan your approach and make sure you have the resources and support required, the end result will be that much more satisfactory and there will far fewer glitches along the way. It seems that when I've neglected to plan is when the most issues arise so I've learned the hard way that it doesn't pay off to cut corners no matter how small the project.

    Enjoy!
    Dianna

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