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How to Keep Your Project Schedule Up-to-Date

project management schedule up to date

We’ve all been there. We get assigned a project and spent days or weeks planning for it and creating an initial project schedule. Then we kick it off. Work starts progressing but so do a number of issues. We review our schedule and mark off what has been completed. But, after some time we find ourselves holding a schedule that does not reflect reality in any way.

The problem is, many project management professionals struggle answering this question: “It’s Monday morning. What are the first things you do on your project?” Project leaders struggle with this question because there’s lots of information out there on how to plan a project but very little on how to execute a project schedule. Let’s fix this problem right here and right now.

Project management professionals can improve their project performance with these steps from Systemation:

The first step that needs to be done is to identify the right frequency for updating your project schedule. It could be anywhere from once a week and up to once a month. The frequency you choose should be often enough that you’re significantly surprised by what has transpired. But, not so often that very little has taken place.

Then on the first day of your chosen frequency period follow these 9 steps:

  1. Validate and input progress data from the previous week.
  2. Validate that the desired results from each completed activity have been accomplished.
  3. Mark appropriate milestones as completed.
  4. Reschedule external dependency milestones as required.
  5. Reschedule incomplete activities with finish dates in the past.
  6. Reschedule un-started activities with start dates in the past.
  7. Add or delete activities as required to keep within scope based on the current reality.
  8. Adjust resource assignments based on current reality.
  9. Adjust activity dependencies based on current reality.

These 9 steps really are foolproof and will insure your project schedule reflects your current reality. It takes discipline to do them consistently. However, it will keep your head out of the sand too.

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