Schedules provide project teams with a map for execution, representing a baseline for tracking progress and managing change. To be truly effective, scheduling must also acknowledge the reality of bi-modal work styles while also accommodating both occasional users and professionally certified project managers. By adopting best-practice methodologies and tools, organizations can control and analyze project delivery and easily communicate schedule performance while supporting all levels of users and a wide variety of work styles.
Standardize scheduling templates
From detailed waterfall schedules to lightweight milestone plans to agile templates, the typical organization relies on a variety of methods to plan and track schedule performance. An effective schedule management solution standardizes best practices, helping the organization harmonize how things are done at a variety of different levels, ensuring that stakeholders have the visibility they need to optimize all work.
Abstract and track at the milestone level
Organizations and stakeholders require visibility into varying levels of detail depending on the circumstance. This includes everything from standardizing across a very detailed plan to simply capturing key milestones in a lightweight project plan. Providing several hundred line items of detailed information when all a stakeholder really needs are the key milestones can be counter-productive. By abstracting key milestones at every level (project, program and portfolio), from any type of plan, the organization can easily plan, track and communicate status/variance at the milestone level to provide stakeholders with the information they really need.
More effectively manage cross-project dependencies
Understanding and having visibility into the dependencies inherent in project and program schedules is critical, especially in organizations using a mix of agile, waterfall and lightweight work styles. But making those connections shouldn’t lock up your schedules or create needless ripple-effects across the entire portfolio. Smart project managers establish soft dependencies that shed light on the impact that one completion date or milestone can have on another, but does so in manner that doesn’t disrupt the underlying schedules. This gives stakeholders the visibility they need to understand the impact of changes to any schedule.
Task updates and tracking
Robust schedule management provides stakeholders with the ability to update and track progress across all work. Baselines and snapshots are used to lock down plans, track variance and automate performance indicators. Streamlining and automating this process saves time by making it easy for team members to update progress. This gives the PM critical information needed to quickly review and assess any potential impact on the plan. Additional sophisticated features like critical path analysis and other techniques help the organization communicate and track key activities.
Visibility into all work
Very few organizations use only one style of work. Bi-modal is a reality, with various combinations of traditional waterfall, agile and other styles of work now the norm. This requires an agnostic approach to scheduling, to ensure that stakeholders have complete visibility across all work. By seamlessly connecting traditional PPM with the unique line-of-business applications that teams use to manage their work, organizations can ensure that no matter which work style is being used by a particular team or business unit, they have complete control over and visibility into schedule information across their entire portfolio.
Summarize all work with macro-roadmaps
Roadmaps provide executives with a high level view across the portfolio, while also providing the ability to drill into the details as needed. Ideally, these roadmaps can highlight schedule performance milestones and make it easy for the organization to identify key dependencies. With the ability to build macro strategic roadmaps, it’s possible for an organization to track all initiatives across the enterprise, and gain a clearer understanding of the relationships between all projects and programs.