Project Scheduling: How to hit all your deadlines

by Gabriella Martin

Need help with project scheduling? Using a Project Action Plan (PAP) will provide an overview of your organization’s tasks, acting as an important contributor to your project’s overall success.

Project scheduling is part of the project plan or the project management plan. This, too, including individual plans and elements within project management, the process plan is specially designed for the timing and the achievement of milestones . In project management, the project schedule is a document that, when prepapred correctly, may be a blueprint for planning, execution, monitoring/controlling, and communicating the delivery of the expectations set by and to the stakeholders. The main purpose of project scheduling is to represent the plan to deliver the project scope over time

In planning, project scheduling usually follows the work breakdown structure , which brings together the project components in terms of content. The PAP coordinates a project chronologically. This sequence illuminates individual tasks, goals and the overall progression of a project, ensured to be completed punctionally.

The advantages of the PAP:

  • Precise timing
  • Dependencies of tasks understandable
  • Set and pursue milestones
  • Effective allocation of resources
  • Simplified communication internally and externally

Applied Steps

The most important components of project scheduling in PAP are:

  • All sub-projects an overall project as well as
  • The individual tasks that belong to the completion of the sub-projects
  • Time specifications : days, hours or weeks

Step 1 in project scheduling: Define your end goal.

Goal setting is a critical part of preparing for personal change and accomplishing project objectives. Well written goals provide motivation, focus attention, serve as a basis for managing performance, and evaluating change.

End-goals are future results an organization or individual would like to achieve. These are typically easy to identify as they are simply desirable outcomes. This should not be confused with strategy and objectives that are concrete plans to achieve end-goals. The following are illustrative examples of end-goals.

Step 2: List down the steps to be followed.

  • Define the Problem(s)
  • Collect and Analyze the Data.
  • Clarify and Prioritize the Problem(s)
  • Write a Goal Statement for Each Solution.
  • Implement Solutions: The Action Plan.
  • Monitor and Evaluate.
  • Restart with a New Problem, or Refine the Old Problem.

Step 3: Prioritise tasks and add deadlines.

Prioritisation should be flexible, as you may need to interrupt low-priority tasks for urgent must-dos. Establishing priorities is necessary in order to complete everything that needs to be done. Prioritization is important because it will allow you to give your attention to tasks that are important and urgent so that you can later focus on lower priority tasks.
  1. Have a list that contains all tasks in one.
  2. Identify what’s important: Understanding your true goals.
  3. Highlight what’s urgent.
  4. Prioritise based on importance and urgency.
  5. Avoid competing priorities.
  6. Consider effort.

Step 4: Set Milestones.

Project scheduling is heavily dependent on creation and fruition of company goals. Goals define where you’re going, and milestones let you know if you’re actually getting there. Achieving visionary goals requires practical milestones that let your small business make realistic progress.

Here are ways you can do it.
  1. Define Your Endpoint. What do you actually want to accomplish?
  2. Start Where You Are.
  3. Be ‘SMART’ About it.
  4. Take it One at a Time.
  5. Write it Down.
  6. Be Flexible.
  7. Reward Yourself Along the Way.
  8. Give Yourself Breaks.

Project scheduling can benefit from the SMART goals…What are the five SMART goals? The SMART acronym outlines a strategy for reaching any objective. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and anchored within a Time Frame.

Step 5: Identify the resources needed.

Identifying resources is the process of evaluating which funding streams and resources are accessible to support the goals and objectives of the system, project, or initiative. A fiscal analysis study can help find and evaluate the usefulness of current and potential resources.

Step 6: Visualize your action plan

Visual Project Management: How to Visualize a Project Scheduling Plan
Gantt charts are useful for planning and scheduling projects. They help you assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and plan the order in which you’ll complete tasks. They are useful for monitoring a project’s progress after its commencement.
  1. Plan the schedule with a Gantt chart.
  2. Structure your team with an organizational chart.
  3. Visualize data.
  4. Assess risks with a risk breakdown structure.
  5. Track progress with a status report.
  6. Reinforce information with icons.
  7. Use color coding to communicate effectively.

Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and update

Steps of Monitoring and Evaluation
Beginning with…A Business Needs Analysis is a study that attempts to identify business needs and determine solutions to business problems. A business needs analysis aims to identify the changes to an organization that are required for it to achieve strategic goals. Changes could include: modifying processes.
  • Step 1: Needs Analysis.
  • Step 2: Programme and Design
  • Step 3: Stakeholder Mapping; beneficiary Identification.
  • Step 4: Defining the Theoretical Framework.
  • Step 5: Defining the Logic, Mapping the Indicators.
  • Step 6: Milestone Identification, planning and scheduling.

Project milestones mark specific points along a project’s timeline. They are checkpoints that identify when activities or groups of activities have been completed or when a new phase or activity has commenced.

What do you have to consider when planning?

In order to set up a functioning schedule, buffer time is important to consider. Buffer time is extra time added to a service duration that you use to clean up after the appointment, or prepare for the next appointment. So if you have a 30 minute service, but it takes 10 minutes to clean up afterwards, then you add a 10 minute buffer time. This will allow you to allocate your capacities and resources efficiently .

With a well-structured PAP you can assess:

  • How far has the project progressed ?
  • When is the next milestone?
  • Is everything going according to plan?
  • Do any changes need to be made?


Project scheduling allows for timetables that organize tasks, resources and due dates in an ideal sequence so that a project can be completed on time. With PAP, project scheduling can be visualized and easily followed.

If you enjoyed the tips about project scheduling with project action plans, take a look at our other content on Allegra’s blog page, where we share the know-how about project management tools and software.

Back to overview