5 Common Scheduling Mistakes and What to Do Instead

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While researching Shortcuts to Success in Project Management in the Real World, I found a lot of studies about how projects can run late. Although the headline numbers are often impressive, it is difficult to find research on why scheduling doesn’t work out.
My experience shows that there are many reasons why project schedules can become unpredictable. Here are five.

Missing milestones: Mistake #1

#2 Mistake: Not taking into account resource availability. What to do instead?

Mistake #3: Do not use baselines

Make #4: Don’t keep it current. What to do instead?

Mistake #5 – Not scheduling together
What can you do instead?
Next steps

Missing milestones is mistake #1
It is up to you to decide how often milestones are included in your schedule. I know of project managers who use them to manage large’moments’ on a project like:
The end of a project phase
Major interim delivery dates
The beginning of a new phase.

Others use them for marking the end of each week.
It is important to have enough, but it is absurd to have everything every 5 days.
Milestones are primarily used for monitoring and schedule control. These are the points you can track easily. Visually and quickly see if your schedule is off-track. Reporting is much more difficult if you don’t have enough.
What can you do instead?
You should ensure that milestones are evenly distributed throughout the project to ensure that you have regular check-in points.
Mistake #2: Not taking into account resource availability
Your schedule is beautiful. You have milestones at sensible points. You haven’t made any other scheduling mistakes that could cause you to lose track of important things.
When you are able to do the work, the people won’t be available.
When planning your future tasks, you must consider the availability of resources. My experience shows that this is the biggest reason for unexpected delays.
People travel on holiday (find out how you can prepare for a vacation from your company), and they have booked training courses. They get married and take three weeks off to go on their honeymoon.
One memorable occasion was when one of my colleagues discovered woodworm in his home. He didn’t go to work the next day or for quite some time afterwards because he was busy saving his stuff, and moving his family into a house that wasn’t going down on them.
What can you do instead?
Resource Guru’s leave management software is the best solution to manage time off.
It helps team leaders to know when busy times are so they don’t have to approve time off for someone who is critical. This means they won’t approve leave for the person’s deputy at once (yes, that happens too). This means that there is literally no one to do this work.
Project managers need to have visibility into time off so they can be confident that the schedule will work and that people are available to complete their tasks.
It is also a good idea to have a culture that allows employees to share leave dates. Although project managers don’t usually get to approve holidays, knowing about them can make the difference between a frustrating Monday morning or a productive Monday morning.
This is how Resource Guru makes scheduling time easy. You can also consider critical chain scheduling as a method of improving handoffs among members of the team and making better use o resources.
Mistake #3: Not using baselines
This one is a little awkward because I didn’t use baselines when I started as a project manager. I kept a copy of my plan, with a different name almost every time I updated it.
I thought of ‘baseline” as ‘backup. It was like document version control.
I could have done a line-by-line comparison between the previous version and the current version, but this was when I had smaller plans.
It is a daunting task to manually track the differences between two MS Project files.