Team Project Scheduling

When working as part of a team on a complex project scheduling is critical to the successful completion of the project.  Creating this schedule is a major undertaking of its own.  Of course there are many tools that can be used to document the schedule, but the team has to determine the individual tasks and the timing of them to make the schedule work. 

The best way to have successful completion of a team project is for the entire team to buy into the schedule.  If they are committed to the tasks and the schedule it is much easier to overcome the inevitable obstacles.  One good way to get this buy-in is to involve the team in the development of the schedule.  This doesn’t mean every member has a vote; however soliciting input on the areas each person will be involved in can be critical to the success.

Several large projects I’ve been involved in over the years have had a pre-defined end date as well as multiple sub-teams that were focused on specific areas of the project.  The schedules were developed by each sub-team and fed into the overall project plan.  Everything had to meet the defined end date due to larger business concerns.  As part of the integration of the individual schedules the sub-team leaders met to review how their schedules interacted and impacted each other.  This allowed each area of the project to be heard on what is important to them and to air out any constraints, particularly those caused by other aspects of the project. 

As each area defines their tasks and the time required for each step the people working on those steps start to own the work they will be doing.  By stating what they are going to do and by when it helps create a sense of ownership for the tasks.  By documenting the schedule everyone knows what is due and by when.  If the project schedule also has a name assigned to each task then it furthers the ownership and creates accountability for the tasks. 

The final tie to this process all together is to have regular reviews of the schedule with the team leaders and then with the individual sub-teams.  At times this is once a week or more and then it may become less often.  There are projects where the review becomes daily as the project approaches the end just because of the number of items that must fall into place during a short period of time right at the end.  The frequency of reviews is variable and should be decided by the project manager and his leadership team.  As well, frequency should be re-evaluated periodically to make sure it’s still appropriate to support project success.

How do you get team member’s to support the schedule?

photo from iStockphoto.com

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Filed under Leadership, Team Building, Time Management

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