Most projects have some form of project schedule, However, the extent to which a project schedule can be relied upon is a function of many variables such as complexity, resource availability, external providers, key dependencies and even the way it was built and is maintained.

The reality of time
Time Management is probably the most challenging of the six competing constraints that project managers need to deal with. Time expires at a regular and predictable rate, regardless of whether a team uses it effectively or not. This is a simple yet important concept to recognise, as all project activities are bound by time and project feasibility is typically based upon assumptions for on-time delivery.

With this in mind, in order to minimise the scheduling risk, consideration should be given to engaging a specialist scheduler to drive this process for complex projects and programs.

When to engage a Master Scheduler
A Master Scheduler’s role complements the Project Manager’s role by providing specialist control over the most complex process in project management. This role is particularly important when there are multiple streams of work with interdependencies, which by their nature cannot rely upon a project manager’s intuition regarding delivery.

To give a project the best chance of success, it is important that the schedule describes a realistic path to delivery. This means catering for the approved scope, cost, time, resources, and change requests, within agreed levels of risk and quality.

A well-constructed schedule, coupled with diligent and disciplined project updates, can provide a level of certainty and support effective communication

Not only does a Master Scheduler produce a baseline schedule but they also construct it in a manner that readily supports “What if…?” scenario planning. This allows the project manager to pro-actively plan for the inevitable change in a project.

When should a schedule be reviewed?
It is important that the schedule is generated correctly during the planning phase and then kept up to date to reflect any changes occurring in the project. External schedule reviews can help ensure the accuracy of the project schedule and should be executed at the beginning of the project and at key milestones or during major re-planning exercises.

A schedule review applying a formalised best practice approach can quickly assess the veracity of a schedule and present a series of actions, which if implemented, will improve the schedule’s reliability and present greater certainty for stakeholders.

Such a review should identify areas for improvement, suggested approaches to apply improvements, benefits of applying the improvements, and key schedule risks that the project team would need to manage, in the absence of improvement.

This schedule review process will help drive quality into project schedules but does not replace the need for project managers and schedulers to continue to maintain their schedules on a regular basis to ensure they remain accurate and achievable.

Contact the Quay team on 02 9098 6300 for more information about Master Scheduling and/or the Quay Schedule Review Service, or drop us an email with your enquiry.

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Quay Consulting
Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...