Project scheduling is a demanding—and pivotal—aspect of project management. It’s the equivalent of a sailor’s map, guided by a North Star, leading you on your way to significant project completion.
While straightforward, drafting out a project schedule can require exceptional time management and be a huge undertaking, but one a skilled project manager like you can handle! 💪
In this guide, we’ll explain what a project schedule is and the benefits of implementing one. We’ll also lay out how to create project schedules in six easy steps and share how project management software from ClickUp can help you navigate each task with ease.
- What is a Project Schedule?
- Benefits of an Effective Project Schedule
- What to Look for in Project Scheduling Software
- How to Create a Project Schedule for Your Team
- How Teams Use ClickUp for Project Scheduling
What is a Project Schedule?
A project schedule is a simplified road map of activities, resources, and due dates that help your team meet a final goal. It breaks down the who, what, when, and how of your project. The process involves gathering background information, including which team members will be responsible for what tasks, and establishing deadlines that should be met.
Once created, the project schedule acts as a timeline and go-to resource for all team members. Everyone involved in the project plan should be able to see where each task stands, its start and end dates, and whether the project status is meeting the established deadline. ⏳
It sounds like a lot. But project scheduling is a critical aspect for project managers and their role. It requires excellent time management skills and a high level of organization to know critical aspects of the project life cycle and the overall task dependencies in each phase.
But you don’t have to do it all on your own.
There are project schedule templates and software tools that can help you get the job done in less time. Read on to learn more about the benefits of a project schedule and tips on how to create one using templates from ClickUp.
Benefits of an Effective Project Schedule
Project scheduling software provides several benefits, one of which is staying organized. As a project manager, you know how quickly an entire project can spiral out of control—think: scope creep, unmet deadlines, and overspending—without proper oversight or attention to detail.
With a project schedule, you can keep track of where things stand, prepare to adapt in case issues arise, and manage the team by keeping everyone on the same page.
Here are some of the benefits of an effective project schedule:
- Makes tracking, reporting, and sharing project progress with all team members easier
- Establishes clear expectations for tasks, responsibilities, start and end dates, and deadlines
- Identifies potential bottlenecks, such as lack of bandwidth for certain team members or difficulty with resource allocation
- Lets you see issues as soon as they arise with real-time project monitoring, so you can address them before they affect deliverables
- Encourages employee accountability. Each team member knows exactly what’s expected of them and is aware of the deadlines they affect in the project scheduling process
- Supports better financial performance by clearly laying out necessary resources and keeping a lid on unexpected expenses
- Ensures better quality since team members outline the project from start to finish and are able to schedule testing and avoid last-minute changes—helping project managers at the same time
- Identifies task dependencies and relationships so you can easily see which tasks are dependent on other tasks getting done first. This makes it easy to identify any potential roadblocks and areas where the entire project may be delayed
What to Look for in Project Scheduling Software
Whether you’re using a project schedule template or project management software, there are several things you should look for when choosing the right one. There’s not one specific tool that’s right for every business or project schedule. Some may require complex team collaboration while others may be more heavily resource-focused.
Finding the right tool for your project schedule can streamline the process, helping you complete everything on your to-do list. From features that enable calendar creation to customizable dashboards, these tools can help make your project scheduling process faster and more efficient.
Here’s what a good project schedule template or software should offer:
- Customizable dashboards: Team members process information differently. Some may work better with a visual project management dashboard while others prefer lists. Being able to use different work views and dashboards makes it easy for everyone to do their best work.
- Shared team calendars: No project schedule is complete without a calendar that gives all team members an overview of what’s happening and when. Boost collaboration and stay on track of all team projects in one easy-to-view space.
- Risk management tools: Project management is all about identifying when issues arise so you address them immediately. Your project scheduling tools should empower team members to identify, track, and address risks.
- Task management support: Nothing slows processes down like forgetting to assign or delegate project tasks. By choosing a project schedule tool with task management support, you can ensure everything gets assigned to the right team members. A great tool will also have subtasks and customization for due dates and milestones to keep track of the project schedule.
How to Create a Project Schedule for Your Team
Ready to create a project schedule for your team? We’re here to help with this step-by-step guide. 🌻
1. Set the scope of the project
The first thing you need to do is figure out the scope of the entire project. Who are the main stakeholders and team members that will be involved? What will they be responsible for? When would you like the whole project to be completed? Answer these questions to establish the project scope.
Once you have that laid out, outline the policies, procedures, and deliverables for the project. Are there procedures established by higher-ups or the department that need to be followed? Will you need to secure resources from outside organizations? How do you define project success? Think about these types of things when outlining procedures that need to be followed during the project.
Need help with this project planning step? Use ClickUp’s Project Scope Whiteboard Template where you can sketch out a summary of activities and resources needed as well as estimate due dates and deliverables.
2. Define project tasks and responsibilities
Now that you know what the project entails, it’s time to start defining tasks and responsibilities. Consider all team members that will play a role in the project. Decide which project activities and tasks they’ll need to handle.
You can pair this with a work breakdown structure (WBS)—like the Work Breakdown Whiteboard Template from ClickUp—which outlines all specific tasks and subtasks that are required for each person to complete their portion of the project. This is also the time when you’ll establish any project milestones. ✅
3. Set a task sequence
Next, it’s time to evaluate task dependencies. That means going through your task list to figure out what sequence of events needs to happen to meet your project goals.
Does one of your predefined tasks need to be fully completed before another one can begin? If yes, you’ll want to make sure you prioritize your schedule and effort toward those tasks first.
Can other tasks overlap or be worked on at the same time? Great! You’ll want to plan on scheduling those simultaneously to cut down on the project time.
Did you know you can use ClickUp to set your task dependencies? Use the software tool to identify any tasks that are waiting on others for completion, tasks that are being blocked, and tasks that are unhindered.
4. Decide what resources you need
Resource management is a huge part of any successful project. When you have the right resources when you need them, you can move at the speed of light. When you don’t, the project starts to fall apart, causing delay after delay.
Support your project teams by identifying what resources you need to bring the project to completion. This includes considering labor, finances, material resources, and assets.
ClickUp’s Workload View lets you see who’s behind, who’s ahead, and who’s on track. That way you can adjust your project schedule to make up for any shortfalls. With ClickUp’s Dashboards, you can create Gantt charts and Kanban boards to quickly visualize resources and project standings.
5. Set a timeline for tasks
No project schedule is complete without a timeline. Start by estimating the project timeline and how long it’ll take to complete each task. Build out your project calendar from there by adding start and end dates for subtasks and milestones. Use project timeline templates in ClickUp, Excel, and other tools to create a project calendar and track project progress. 🗓️
If you have a Business Plan with ClickUp, you can use a Timeline View to get a linear visual of the project tasks and timeline. Customize the view to show the information that’s most relevant to you or select the “group by” filter to see the timeline for individual employees or priority tags.
Try out these construction scheduling tools!
6. Develop the final project schedule
It’s finally time to complete your project schedule! Create an official start date and end date for the project baseline. There are several different techniques and methods of creating the actual project schedule.
These include the critical path method (CPM), which focuses on the longest possible timeline to achieve your desired goal given the predefined tasks. It’s a good choice for project managers that want to be able to quickly see what tasks can delay the project and identify any potential roadblocks.
Another alternative is the program evaluation and review technique. This methodology is a network diagram of nodes and arrows that highlight dependent tasks and milestones. With this overview, you can plan out the project and streamline workflows while keeping the start and finish dates in mind.
Create your project schedule today using ClickUp’s Project Schedule Template. Four custom fields in this project management tool let you quickly see the budget, team members, timeline, and project stages. Use the four different views to toggle between a project timeline overview and an in-depth look at the various project phases. ✍️
How Teams Use ClickUp for Project Scheduling
There are so many different ways for teams to use ClickUp for project scheduling. From templates that make project schedule management easier to streamlined task management to track progress, ClickUp makes it simple. The best part is that ClickUp lets you do everything in one place.
But don’t take our word for it! Let’s take a look at what a real ClickUp customer has to say about using our tools to make project management simpler. ✨
Jess Mason, founder of The Yarnpreneur Society + Academy used to use 20 Trello boards, Post-It notes, and a host of separate project scheduling techniques and tools to run her business. She found that things would slip through the cracks and handling all these different project management “was the biggest time-suck.”
Then she turned to ClickUp. As someone who loves to plan, write everything out, and schedule project execution down to a T—her own way—ClickUp was a lifesaver. The customizability of ClickUp’s templates and project schedule dashboards means she’s “not stuck with someone else’s structure” and is “able to move forward on projects much easier.”
So how does Jess use ClickUp for her team?
All four departments—Operations, Marketing, Customer Retention, and Course Content Creation—are divided into four different Spaces. Each Space features custom statuses that reflect the project lifescycles and the level of detail each department needs. For all of her Spaces, Jess and her team use Due Dates, Priorities, and Tags to highlight what’s important while streamling task dependencies.
Bonus: Try using a digital planner app for your project schedule!
Leverage ClickUp for Your Own Project Schedule Needs
Now that you know how to create a project schedule, you’re well on your way to pulling off a successful project from start to finish. Follow the six-step guide above to ensure you don’t miss a beat!
From setting the project scope of your project schedule to defining tasks and setting a timeline, you’ll find the best options are those that let teams work in a collaborative environment. With the right templates and project scheduling tools, you have everything to create an effective project schedule.
Try ClickUp today to take control of your project scheduling process to not only meet your goals, but crush them! From various dashboards and views to make tracking your progress easier for your project schedule, you’ll have what you need to nail the project plan. 🤩