Why Do Dissertation Students Need To Work by a Schedule?

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 The project schedule is an essential pillar of its success, as it constitutes a guide for managers and team members in defining responsibilities and the sequence of work to achieve the project goal. The project schedule also contributes to organizing and simplifying tasks, and setting a single vision that is understood by all members and managers with their various specializations. So how do you set up a project schedule the right way?

Why Do Dissertation Students Need To Work by a Schedule?

table of contents:

What is the project timeline?

Why use a project schedule?

Who are the beneficiaries of the project schedule?

Why is the project schedule important?

Pros and cons of a project timeline

Project schedule management

How to create a project schedule

What is the project timeline?

The project schedule represents an integrated picture that reflects the entire vision related to the project, with the aim of managing the project efficiently and professionally to accomplish what is required in the best possible ways, in addition to controlling implementation and monitoring the progress of the project.

Project schedules contain the set of sequential activities that make up the project. The project schedule can be simple or complex depending on the nature of the project and the project manager's experience related to facing difficulties and challenges in project management.

The project schedule takes many forms, but the most common project schedule is based on two axes: a horizontal one that represents the project's progress in time, and a vertical one that represents the tasks and activities performed by the team.

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Gantt chart

Why use a project schedule?

Using project scheduling is useful in determining the exact duration of project activities, in addition to determining the relationship between activities and their interrelation with each other. The project schedule refers to the time difference between the actual completion date and the completion date according to the project planning sheet.

The project timeline helps determine the resources needed for each project activity, and plan those resources optimally, in addition to the cost of completing each task according to the time allocated to it within the total time period for completing the project.

The project manager can track the progress of the project entrusted to him, as through the project implementation schedule, he can set the basic lines for measurement and compare the current results with the established lines. This allows early correction of errors, before continuing to implement the project in a manner other than what was planned.

Who are the beneficiaries of the project schedule?

There are many parties that benefit from the project timelines, whether they are within the scope of the company or outside it. The project timeline is useful in determining the appropriate period for importing certain materials from an external company, for example but not limited to. The following are the main beneficiaries of the project schedule:

Why Do Dissertation Students Need To Work by a Schedule?

First: all levels of management

All lower levels of management can benefit from the project timeline, as the supervisory management remains constantly informed of the progress of the project and its conformity with established plans, while middle management is able to know the distribution of resources and cash blocks between projects, and transfer between these resources if necessary. Project timetables also facilitate the work of senior management in knowing the progress of the company's strategic plans.

Second: Team leaders

Team leaders with different specializations can reach a single understanding formula, based on the project timeline, as the plan is a language understood by all specializations, and it is an essential factor in unifying efforts towards a specific goal.

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Third: Official bodies and organizations

Official agencies and organizations can benefit from the timetables of company projects, in knowing the implementation time required to provide certain services within a specific scope, such as providing logistical support to entrepreneurs to temporarily facilitate their work within a specific area.

Why is the project schedule important?

The project schedule is one of the most important elements that must be taken into consideration when planning, as the benefits provided by the schedule are numerous and in multiple areas, some of which affect the work team, some of which facilitate management processes and performance monitoring, in addition to organizing the resources and cash blocks allocated to the project, and others. The importance of the project schedule can be represented in the following points:

1. Improve team productivity

The project timeline provides unified information to all employees about the progress of the project, so each employee can know the developments occurring in the project, and deduce the next event according to the logical sequence on the plan, and this is what controls work compatibility between team members, especially with regard to work time conflicts, which It leads to improved labor productivity.

2. Managing complex information

Simple forms and papers cannot manage huge projects, which contain complex information. There must be tables or charts that allow project time management, to give a clear and integrated picture of all activities related to the project. The project schedule accelerates the speed of making an effective decision that benefits the workflow, if the schedule is designed correctly and professionally.

3. Spare employees the additional workload

The project timeline supports the manager in organizing the employees’ work, as the project avoids the overlap in employees’ work while performing multiple tasks within the same project, and organizes resources efficiently in a way that spares the project the burden of additional employee work, in addition to the additional costs resulting from this work.

4. Follow up on project work in an easier way

The main goal of creating a schedule is to divide the project into organized blocks of work and activities that can be managed and monitored independently of the rest of the project activities. This division helps the project manager in dividing project management from one block that requires a great deal of time and effort to complete, into smaller blocks that save the time and effort spent on completing the project management and implementation process.

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5. Set task links

The project timeline makes it easy to determine the nature of the connection between tasks and how they will be accomplished, and what conditions must be met to complete any of the planned tasks while preparing the project implementation schedule.

The importance of the project timeline in setting links becomes apparent when there are a large number of tasks within one project, especially if relying on computer programs to prepare these schedules, such as preparing a Gantt chart through project management software, such as MS-Project, Primavera, and others.

6. Clarity of project requirements

The project requirements and tasks appear clearly to the team members, and what is required of them as duties through a comprehensive and accurate timetable, as the team members agree on the main events within the project, the potential risks, and the mechanism for dealing with these risks if they occur.

Pros and cons of a project timeline

There are many positives that the project timeline offers in planning and implementing projects, and the planner also has negatives that cannot be ignored in order to overcome them. The project manager's skill in planning and scheduling projects lies in maximizing the positives as much as possible, and trying to minimize the effects of the negatives.

Pros of the project timeline

The positives of the project timeline extend to several areas that facilitate the work of the team, in addition to the administrative staff, and also help in directing activities. Here are the most important advantages of the project timeline:

  • Simplify complex work into manageable activities.
  • Organizing tasks and projects.
  • Establish workable time frames.
  • Manage activity priorities.
  • Determine the critical path.
  • Facilitating the achievement of project objectives.
  • Ensuring a clear vision for the work team.
  • Project resource management.
  • Planning to deal with risks that may occur during project implementation.
  • Disadvantages of project timeline

The timeline may negatively affect performance, and may make it difficult to manage project activities, so it is necessary to overcome these negatives to ensure the quality of the achieved result. Among the disadvantages associated with the project timeline:

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Potentially causing increased complexity if not designed properly.

Continuous monitoring and updating throughout the project.

The level of difficulty in managing the project timeline increases when there are a large number of tasks.

Project schedule management

To benefit from the project timeline, the timeline must be managed in a simple way that provides the project manager with the most necessary information about the project. The project schedule must also be summarized, excluding detailed steps to complete activities, which helps determine how to manage the project schedule. Among the most important steps for managing the project schedule are:

First: Choosing the components of the project timeline

The project timeline consists of a set of elements that make up the overall picture of the project and how it will be managed. The tasks and roles of these elements within this scheme vary. The project manager's skill is demonstrated in how to use the art of project management, to prepare and update these components in the various stages of project management.

1. Organizing the working units in the project

These are the units extracted from the structure of project activities, or what is known as the WBS chart. Each group of activities constitutes a unit of work that can be assigned to a member of the project team, who is responsible for its implementation to the project manager. The project manager must prepare activities within the project timeline in a way that ensures that tasks do not conflict between teams, and define the responsibilities of each member so that it does not affect the work of the rest of the members within the team.

2. Determine the relationships between project activities and dependencies

When planning and scheduling projects, the project manager takes into account the relationship between work units and the activities within these units, as there are four different relationships between activities or work units within the project timeline. Defining relationships allows the project manager flexibility in work, and the possibility of making changes to fit the nature of these relationships. Relationships between project activities include:

The end of activity (A) is a condition for the beginning of activity (B)

In this type of relationship, Activity B cannot start until Activity A is completely completed, and it is the most common relationship when creating a project schedule. Starting to sell a product as activity (B) after completing the marketing plan as activity (A) can be described as one example of this type of relationship.

The end of activity (A) is a condition for the end of activity (B)

Activity B can only end if Activity A finishes, but the beginning of Activity B is not related to the beginning of Activity A. The example of not completing visual identity design as activity (B) until website design studies are completed as activity (A) is an example of this relationship.

The beginning of activity (A) is a condition for the end of activity (B)

Activity (B) cannot end before Activity (A) begins, without being restricted by the start time of Activity (B). As an example of this type of relationship, the idea of ​​delivering website data can be brought up. The website design team cannot finish the design process as Activity B before the client begins examining the completed designs as Activity A.

The beginning of activity (A) is a condition for the beginning of activity (B)

Activity (B) cannot start before the start of Activity (A), without being bound by the completion time of Activity (A). It is not possible to start writing content for a specific article (Activity B) before starting to search for content similar to this article, as Activity (A) is an example of this type of relationship.

3. Set project Milestones

The project's milestones indicate its progress within the planned time. They are operational indicators, to make a measurement between what was actually implemented at a certain time, and what must be implemented at this time, based on the plan drawn up, and to take the appropriate action after the measurement relative to the milestone points.

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As an example of project milestones, the idea of ​​completing the construction of Wall No. (3) can be proposed at the end of the fifteenth working day on the project. If the fifteenth day ends without finishing the wall, the project manager must study the time plan and correct errors if they occur, before continuing to implement the project based on these errors.

Second: Allocating resources to the project

The project timeline, along with the project structure and work units within it, helps estimate the resources needed to implement the project. Correct allocation of resources ensures that they are utilized to the maximum extent, without wasting resources that are not necessary for the project.

The experience of decision-makers highlights how to spare the project from time delays resulting from poor allocation of resources. In addition to organizing the work of resources in a way that does not constitute a burden on resources, in a certain implementation period within the project, and a clear void in another period.

If the project's human resources are not clear before starting, you can assign a job title description to the task and later add the person's name to the task. As an example, the name of a web developer could be mentioned at the beginning of the project, changed to the name of a member of the web development team during implementation, and the name of the implementing person could be agreed upon.

Color coding of tasks can be used when distributing people and resources to different tasks and responsibilities. This notation is used to explain some of the principles related to the table, and an explanation is included with the table explaining the meaning of the colors used. Therefore, color coding is an important element in the success of project schedule management.

Third: Estimating the time duration of the project

Estimating the time duration of the project depends on the number of activities associated with it. The duration of one activity is estimated according to several methods, including estimating the average value of the activity, including estimating three values ​​for each activity: (the first is the duration in the best working conditions, the second is the duration in the worst working conditions, and the third is the value expected under natural conditions), or any other appropriate method can be chosen to estimate the project duration.

There are many elements that affect the estimation of the project duration, including the constraints imposed on the project, the risks to which the project may be exposed, in addition to the resources available for use within the project. The total time period for the entire project is the sum of the periods of the activities on which it is based.

The project manager must not ignore the number of approved team hours and weekends, in addition to holidays and vacations approved by the company in its internal regulations, such as holidays and others, and take them into account in the planning stage, which reduces the risk of failure to implement the project or finish on time .

Fourth: Determine the critical path in the project

Within the project schedule, the critical path describes the group of successive activities that delay its total duration if the duration of any of the group's activities changes. Other activities that are not on the critical path can be allowed some delay, without exceeding the total duration of the project.

The project's critical path is determined by setting the longest time path for a group of successive activities within the project timeline. The project manager must modify the timeline to ensure that there is a single critical path for the entire project, as multiple critical paths lead to unjustified difficulties and complications in project management.

It is necessary to monitor the progress of activities and make calculations daily or weekly - depending on the degree of complexity of the project - and compare with the plan, to ensure that there is no change in the critical path of the project, and to modify the plan for the project, including the timetable, to control this change, with emphasis on giving priority to activities Additional attention is given to those located on the critical path, due to their importance over other project activities.

Fifth: Reducing the project schedule

The company's management is often forced to reduce the project schedule, as the project manager must implement within a shorter period of time than the period granted in the project schedule planning stage.

The timetable can be reduced by relying on additional resources and allocating larger sums of money to implement the remaining activities of the project, which is an expensive method and causes additional financial burdens for medium and small projects. Therefore, it must be used in a careful manner so that the project is not negatively affected.

It is also possible to resort to reducing critical path activities, which in turn leads to reducing the total duration of the project, provided that a new critical path does not emerge after the reduction. It is a less expensive method because resources and amounts are allocated to a group of critical path activities, not to all project activities.

How to create a project schedule

To create a project schedule, it is necessary to define the project tasks and activities based on the activity structure, set the expected start and end date for each activity, and determine the time required to implement the activity. The project manager must determine the nature of the relationship between the activities, and calculate the total implementation period of the project, based on the time of the activities and the relationships between them.

After calculating the total implementation period, the project manager must identify parallel activities within the project timeline, which are tasks that do not have any correlation between them, as one of these activities can be started without being affected or affected by the parallel activity.

It is necessary to determine the project's critical path, which is the path that requires the longest period of time to implement it. It is necessary to avoid having two critical paths and adjust the project timeline to maintain one critical path.

Read the project timeline and the software used

There are many chart models that are relied upon to form the project implementation schedule, the most famous of which are the Network Diagram and the Gantt Chart.

To read project timelines, it is necessary to know the mechanism for drawing a timeline, as each activity is represented by a line whose length indicates the period of time required to complete the activity, according to the unit of time approved in the project, for example in days, weeks, or months. The arrows issued and received from and to this activity also show the type of relationship that one activity has with another, which facilitates the process of tracking activities through drawing.

You can rely on a variety of software and tools that help draw the project timeline, especially if you rely on a Gantt chart. This software is useful in applying a color pattern to distinguish task responsibilities between teams, and it works on drawing a network diagram and determining the critical path and time required for its implementation, in addition to forming correlations between activities, and setting the main milestones with ease and convenience.

These programs save a lot of time and effort expended by project managers to prepare the project timeline. Perhaps the most prominent programs approved for project management and preparing their schedules are MS-Project, Primavera, and Vizzlo.

To help prepare a distinct project plan, you can seek the help of experts, and hire a professional business consultant through the Mustaqil platform, the largest platform for freelancing in the Arab world, to prepare a professional project plan for you along with preparing a timetable of the required quality and according to the capabilities of your business.

In conclusion, the project schedule constitutes an information-rich element for each stage of project management, and the importance of the schedule is highlighted by facilitating the work of managers and employees, to track the progress of the project and limit responsibilities regarding the implementation phase. Therefore, every project manager must improve his abilities to design and read timelines, to implement projects in a more easy and organized manner, and to ensure the success of the project.