Chapter 7. Realistic Scheduling


If you ask people what makes a project successful, "a realistic schedule" usually tops the list. But ask them to be more specific, and several characteristics of a realistic schedule emerge. A realistic schedule:

  • Includes a detailed knowledge of the work to be done

  • Has task sequences in the correct order

  • Accounts for external constraints beyond the control of the team

  • Can be accomplished on time, given the availability of skilled people and enough equipment

Finally, a realistic schedule takes into consideration all the objectives of the project. For example, a schedule may be just right for the project team, but if it misses the customer's completion date by a mile, then it's clear that the whole project will need reassessment. Building a project plan that includes all the necessary parts and achieves a realistic balance between cost, scheduling, and quality requires a careful, step-by-step process.

Chapter 6 dealt with the first step in planning the project: the work breakdown structure. This chapter explains planning steps two through five. Each planning step relies on the one preceding it, and each adds a new element to the plan. You can use the diagram in Figure 6.1 (see page 127) as a guide in this chapter.


Here is a quick recap of the steps involved in planning a project. The first two actions prepare the groundwork for planning and so can be considered preplanning activities. The remaining five steps develop the detailed ...

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