How to Create Project Schedule Part II

Hello!
It’s Allison again, and I want to continue a bit on the subject of how to create a project schedule using Elementool.

With today’s clip you’ll discover the importance of estimating and how you can use it to build a schedule. We’ll also talk about dealing with tasks, and tracking the progress of a project using Elementool. So listen up – you’re going to find out some really useful stuff in this one!

Let’s start by talking about estimates. An estimate is a prediction of how long a project will take to complete and how much it will cost. For more information on ways to create estimates, view Elementool’s Project Management Formula program at www.projectmanagementformula.com, which goes into great detail about various estimation techniques.

When you are planning a project, to ensure that you stay on track to finishing on time, it is vital that you create estimates for each task. Be certain that the people making the estimates are experienced in the type of work that’s being estimated, since this will increase the likelihood of a correct estimate. It can also be helpful to use data from similar past projects to help make estimates for current ones.
Once an iteration begins, you will want to start assigning tasks to team members based on the iteration length, the task priority, and the time required to develop these tasks. As a team, you need to determine what must be accomplished during the iteration, in what order the tasks should be done, and who should do them.

Team members should choose tasks based on their availability, also taking their teammates’ availability into account. The estimates of how long each task should take will make it easier to decide who will be assigned which tasks.

A major factor when it comes to assigning tasks is task priority. The team needs to decide what the highest priority items are – in other words, which features are the most crucial to the success of that iteration. High priority tasks should be assigned first, with the team gradually working its way down to the medium priority features and eventually the lower priority features if there is time. In our Project Management Formula program, we discuss in greater detail priority classifications and how they affect the way a team handles a project.

To create estimates and assign tasks to team members, you should follow these steps:
1. Choose a task on the project task list.
2. Set the task start and end dates.
3. Submit the number of hours that the task should take in the Hours field. This is the total number of hours that all team members will spend on the task.
4. In the Resources column, select the team members that this task is assigned to. The system will automatically evenly split the total number of hours between the team members. You can change the number of hours each person works on the task, in case they don’t spend the same time.
5. Elementool will create the Gantt chart bar representing the task schedule and assign the task to the team member on their personal schedule.
6. As you can see, the task bar is clear and looks empty. When team members submit the time that they spend on the task, the task will start to fill up, representing how much time has been spent.This will enable you to see the development progress of each task. We will have an example of that in our next clip.

That’s it. Building the project schedule is very easy. Anyone can do it.

I’m going to show you a simple way how you can use Elementool Schedule to track the progress of the project. This will allow you to make sure that everything is progressing according to plan, and if it’s not, you’ll be able to see that and make the necessary changes in you project plan to get it back on track.

Although estimates provide a projection of how long tasks are expected to take, it is important that team members submit the actual time that they end up spending on each task, and Elementool can help with this process.

Tracking the time that team members spend on tasks allows project managers and the team to see at what pace the project is progressing. Based on the times being submitted, they can see if there are any delays that need to be addressed, or any changes that must be made in order to keep the project on schedule.

The team submits the time that they spend on each task to the Elementool Scheduling system. They can submit it a few times a day when they finish working on different tasks, or once a day for the entire day.

There are two ways team members can submit tasks:
1. If they use the Issue Tracking to work on issues, they can use the Schedule form on the bottom of the Issue form.
a. Scroll down to the Schedule form.
b. As you can see, this issue has already been included in the project.
c. Submit the date and number of hours that you worked on this issue.
d. You can submit the start and end time and the system will calculate the duration automatically.
e. Or just submit the number of hours that you worked on this issue.
f. When done, click on Update.

2. The second way to submit time is to go to the Schedule application by selecting it from the service dropdown menu at the top of the screen.
a. Click on Add Time.
b. Find the task on the project list.
c. Fill out the date and time and click on Submit button.

The hard part is behind us. Now let’s take a look at the Gantt chart. As you can see, the tasks that were reported are starting to fill up on the chart. This allows you to see how much has been done and how much is still left. In case people work on a task longer than expected, their colored time bar will extend itself outside of the Gantt bar borders. This means that they spent more time than was estimated and probably had less time to work on other tasks. So you might expect delays in the project.

This is all for now. If you want to learn advanced strategies for project scheduling and planning, I recommend that you sign up to Elementool’s Project Management Formula program at: www.projectmanagementformula.com
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to submit them in the comment section below.

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