90 Percent

Project management, productivity, change management, and more!


Keep your schedule updated!



Schedule (Photo credit: Marco Buonvino)

Scenario: You take an hour or two to create a schedule for the project. A week after the project was supposed to start, the kickoff meeting with the client is still being postponed so you adjust your schedule. Eventually, the meeting occurs, and at the end of the meeting, it seems some requirements have changed, so it will take longer to do.

You changed the schedule again to find out three weeks later that the client will need more time to send his content than what was previously planned. At this point, you decide that the schedule doesn’t need to be updated again, it’s just the content delivery, and at some point, you just stop updating it until the end of the project… Sounds familiar?

Maybe, maybe not, but it happens! And it may seem to be justified to stop updating the schedule, but it guides the team, sets clear objectives with specific dates, which without, the project can go on and on, and people become confused and unmotivated.

So it’s simple, always update the schedule!

Quick tip: Make sure your schedule can be changed quickly. Avoid schedules that include an hour of beautiful design work around it just so it’s more classy. That may be good for preliminary schedules included in offers made to clients, but when it’s time for execution, keep it simple.

If you’re only pushing farther away some dates, it should take 5 seconds. If you’re adjusting it, it still shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes unless you are redoing the whole thing. That way, you’ll be more motivated to keep it updated all the time.

So have you had to update a schedule over and over again? Or did you have to work with an un-updated schedule?

2 thoughts on “Keep your schedule updated!

  1. I agree with this. The schedule needs to be a living document regardless of the type of project. The original schedule is based on a set of assumptions at the beginning of the project. In information technology projects you often don’t know things until you are well into the project and the plan will definitely have to evolve based on changing requirements and/or new information. This is why other methologies such as Agile/Scrum seem much more appropriate for software development as you can tighten plans down to smaller sprints and adjust regularly.

    In my background working with construction projects in the past, it was important that you keep the schedule up to date and it is often a part of the contractual requirements. Any major changes to the plan can require approval and can easily change the project cost by thousands or millions of dollars.

    • Hi benferris, thanks for sharing.

      You bring a very interesting point by mentioning that IT projects get clarified as we go; this is one of the reasons schedule stop being updated as PM are not all familiar with this, and think it’s not normal to have to adjust schedule frequently when it is actually even more important!

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