Project Scheduling Best Practice: Build Your Project Lifecycle into your Schedule

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Many organizations have a predefined project lifecycle that they want all projects to follow as part of their project governance process. The first project scheduling best practice is: Make your schedule reflect your reality

Naturally leads one to base your project schedule on the process and context within which your project will be tracked and governed.

Therefore, it is a best practice to build your organization’s project lifecycle (PLC) into your Project schedule. For instance, structure your project around your PLC stages or phases. E.g., Initiation, Charter, Planning, Execution/Monitoring/Controlling, and Close-out (see below).

Some industries or professions have their own predefined PLC, such as architecture and construction. If you are building a schedule for a project in an industry or field with its own PLC, structure your Project schedule around that PLC.

Under each Outline Level 1 Summary Task, you can then create the logical project activities, tasks, and subtasks that reflect your reality.

There are some realities that need to be reflected in tasks that impact your project, such as the elapsed time it takes for decisions. (See task 8: Evaluate and approve project initiation for charter development.) In such cases, where you anticipate the review and approval process will take one elapsed week, even though it may only take 15 minutes in a 1-hour meeting, you want your schedule to reflect your reality: Your project proposal will not be reviewed and approved in less than one week, so you estimate the duration of that task at one elapsed week (represented as 1ewk in the Duration field).

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