Tuesday, August 12, 2008


What are schedules?

According to me and my work, schedules are systematic delegation of work and expected time within which this work has to be delivered. Schedules let everyone know when they are expected to start and finish a task. This includes ID team, development team, decision-makers, SMEs, clients, and so on. The schedule is signed off by the client to ensure that the dates suit them also.

Why are schedules important?

  1. Everyone is clued in on when their intervention is required. Clients and SMEs are very clear on intervention points for clarifications and sign offs.
  2. Schedules ensure that you do not spend extra time on a task that requires less time. Extra time on a task would mean you are eating into the company revenues. It also means that you are wasting resources that could be moved to another task.
  3. The actual execution happens in a smooth and systematic function. There is no chaos and no ‘sleep time’. Sleep time, according to me, are those intervals in a projects where we are waiting for the next task to happen to continue with our work. The task could be feedback, response to clarifications or sign off. The projects goes to sleep till the other team wakes up and completes their task. Then, after ages, the project moves and everyone else has moved on.
  4. When a schedule is drawn and shared at the beginning of a project, you get an opportunity to plan your time and resources in advance.
  5. You have a clear plan that you can analyze later to check where and what the delays were. This will help you plan better for future projects.
How to create a schedule?
  • Always ensure that you understand the requirements clearly.
  • If you have an outer deadline, backtrack. Start from the end date and then reach the start date.
  • Based on you team’s strengths and weakness or availability, assign time for very task.
  • Ensure that you keep five days buffer time at the end of the project. This will take care of any surprises you may encounter during execution.
  • Ensure that you keep in mind the number of people and person days (how may days/weeks a person will spend on that particular task).
  • Always have reasonable timelines. Do not over or underestimate yourself and your team.
  • Take into account reviews, fixes, edits, audits and so on while creating the schedule.
A clear plan will help your team understand what is expected of them. They also get to see how they fit in the whole picture and how their contribution adds values (sorry about the functionalist thought :P). Even if you miss the deadline, if you have schedule in place, the delay will be short. But I should also add that if individuals just do not respect deadlines, nothing will work…

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