We don’t have to tell you what a “timeline” is because we have used enough Facebook to clear that up.
As the Facebook timeline shows how every single day of your life has been noted down on an hourly or daily basis, the project timeline does that for all of the tasks associated with any number of projects.
The benefits of creating a project timeline are many but what it most helps is in keeping all of the processes together in one space to make sure that you can see how all of them are working together, through all of the connections and dependencies to make your project a definite success.
Timelines play a pivotal role in the development process of the project but still many of us struggle to make an effective one even with some very powerful project management applications.
In this article, we are going to address that same issue that we have all been having, to make sure that for all of the different projects that we create from now on, have the best possible project timeline, ensuring success for all our endeavors.
What are the Benefits of Making a Project Timeline?
Listed below are some of the benefits that you can get upon making an effective Project timeline.
1. Complete Analysis of the Project
The most beneficial feature of a good timeline is a complete analysis of every task and process that is a part of the project development process.
What it does is that it keeps a track on every entity so that the manager or the concerned personnel can make adjustments to make the project excel.
2. Increased Teamwork
An effective timeline also helps the company in increasing the overall teamwork of the development team.
It does that by keeping everyone informed about the progress and the duration of the tasks and processes so that no one can procrastinate on their duties and all of them join forces to defeat all of the obstructions and obstacles.
3. Tracking Time and Budget
Another benefit of this timeline is the tracking of all of the resources that are being used in the project development process.
These resources include the time and money being spent on the project and how the managers can take proper measures to ensure that they are not wasted.
4. Improved Communication Between Frontline Workers
With all of the details being highlighted about the project by the timeline, the team and the project managers don’t have that many barriers between them and everyone know about the workings of the project.
This helps to improve all of the different communication parameters and channels among the team members and the upper management.
Let’s now take a look at the 9 steps you can perform to make sure that you create an effective timeline for your project.
9 Steps to Creating The Best Project Timeline in 2020
Listed below are all of the steps you need to create the best timeline to help your project development process.
1. Sketch a Perfect Outline of Your Project
To keep everyone on the same page, every timeline needs to start with a detailed project brief consisting of all the details like goals needed to be achieved, the vision of the project as a whole, and all of the milestones that are needed to be completed by the development team.
The following are some of the queries that are needed to be explained in your project brief.
- What are the goals and milestones connected to the project at hand?
- What is the timeframe of the overall project?
- Which stakeholders are going to be a part of the project and what are the roles that they are going to play?
Once you have answered all of these different queries, you will be better equipped to answer any and every question that the stakeholders and the development team have for you, during the dev process.
This project brief will also help you figure out any missing links or any loose ends that you need to take care of before you start making an effective timeline.
2. Make a Step List of Everything You Need to Do to Finish Your Project Management Timeline
nTask Can Help You Create a Project Timeline
To make sure that you create effective timeline project ideas, you need to have the most detailed step list.
This step list will include all of the tasks and processes that your development team has to perform, to make the project a definite success.
The tasks that are added to this step list are supposed to be the most important things on the roster and the minor activities that are not that important but are still required to be completed.
What this means is that all of the tasks that help the project to be completed without over-spending the budget and the time allocated in the project brief, go on this list.
You don’t need to fret about the order that these tasks and processes will appear on the list right now. That come later.
An example of a step list for a dinner party is as follows:
- Crafting an effective event plan
- Drum up an appropriate budget for the Whole Shebang
- Confirm the location of the event
- Select the caterers that are going to make the party a success
- Choose an appropriate theme for the event
- Set up an RSVP page
- Advertise event
- Test A/V
- Prepare all event collateral and swag
- Send invitations
- Order swag
- Finalize presentations
- Day-of checklist
You get the gist.
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3. Find out How much Time Every Step in the List is Going to Take to Create the Timeline
Use nTask Timesheets to Track the Time Spent on Tasks
Once you have crafted the list and noted down all of the steps, the next step is to estimate the time needed to complete all of the tasks and processes on the list.
If you are a manager and you are doing the time estimation, you need to understand that the team is not a robot army that is going to do all of it in seconds.
You need to make some room for the human element.
This human element is the time you allocate to your team to complete all of the tasks and processes with ease, but not so much that they overstep their boundaries and make delay the overall time frame.
Once you have estimated the time needed for the tasks to be completed, you will have a better understanding of how you are going to create an effective project roadmap for your team to follow.
4. Nail down the Sequence of Steps and the Dependencies needed to be Completed in those Steps
Milestones and Task Dependencies
More often then not, the tasks and processes in the project development process are not singular entities. They are dependent on each other. As a project manager, you need to address those tasks.
How can you do that? Well, for starters you are going to appoint the appropriate staff to perform each task that is going to take place.
Secondly, you need to adjust the time that the task is going to be performed because if task A is going to be completed at 9 am, task B cannot be started at 8 am.
So, to make sure that the development process doesn’t come to a halt due to these overlapping dependencies, you need to adjust the timing and the resource usage timing for each task.
Then and only then can you ensure a smooth development process for your project.
If you want a recommendation on how to do that, use a project management software like nTask, that will help you map out all of the dependencies in your project and develop your project roadmap.
5. Assign and Manage Resources
In addition to all of the tasks and processes that are being tracked, you need to also track all of the resources needed to perform all of those tasks.
These resources include time, money, and the technology needed to complete the project.
6. Select the Format of the Timeline
The next item on the list is choosing the format of the timeline. You have two options for that. Either you doodle your version of a timeline, or you can use a PM software like nTask to make a proper timeline for you.
7. Draw your Project Timeline
The next step is the star of the show, Drawing your Timeline.
For this step, you are going to need a project management software that is going to help you create a perfect timeline based on all of the steps that you studied about earlier.
Using software for making timelines is going to be very beneficial for you because an automated program like nTask is going to save a lot of your time that you would’ve spent doodling on a whiteboard.
Let’s discuss the steps that you are going to perform, to create an effective timeline or Gantt view on nTask.
- Go to the project section located on the workspace page
- Select your desired project
- When you click the project, you will see all of the tasks laid out in front of you in a detailed visual representation
- If you want to change the duration of the tasks, you can do so by sliding the tasks larger or shorter
- If you want to create task dependencies, you can do so by connecting the front-to-end of the second task, or end-to-front, depending on your criteria
8. Convey the Timeline to the Stakeholders
Once you have created your timeline and done most of the work, you need to share all of it with the stakeholders that are connected to your project.
This is quite beneficial for the relationship among the manager and the stakeholders that they share information regarding the workings of the project because that helps to reduce conflicts.
You need to focus the most on this point because the more information that is shared among the two parties, the happier all of the entities related to the project development process will be.
If you want to make this transfer of information even easier, you can do so by using nTask. Simply share the timeline that you created on the software and the stakeholders can analyze it from there.
9. Incorporate the Changes and Manage the Timeline after Project Kickoff
When you are finished with the whole process, it’s time to let the timeline loose into the unknown jungle, which is the time, just after the project kicks off.
One thing you always need to remember regarding the project management paradigm is that nothing stays the way it was supposed to be.
You need to be prepared for any and every change that hits you so that you can apply the countermeasures needed to make that change a beneficial one rather than the opposite.
Project timelines are very important for your project. It is the roadmap that lets you track all of the different tasks and processes being done at a specific time and place in the project dev process.
That’s why, to make your project a definite success, you need to create an efficient timeline, using appropriate PM software, and solve all of your project development headaches.