Project scheduling is critical to civil engineering and the world of transportation and every civil engineer should know about the benefits of project scheduling. Time management is crucial for us to develop a plan. Any delay could have undesirable consequences, so it is necessary to prepare this document before starting. In this post we talk about the schedules and their characteristics.
What exactly is a Scheduling?
When applied to transportation or an engineering project, it is a graphical representation of a series of activities . These are developed over time and under agreed requirements. Different milestones that we have to achieve are shown, the relationship between them, the phases to be completed and both the beginning and the estimated completion of the project.
Read: What Are Civil Works Projects?
By discounting, all participants must know the schedule and their involvement in it. Thus, there will be no doubts about who should do a specific activity. In addition, the planning of any activity is simplified, since there is also a reference time.
Benefits of project scheduling
- The main one is the simplification of the tasks of a project . By specifying the time available for each, the possible phases of development, and giving members access to the schedule, we are ensuring clarity throughout the work. This simplifies and streamlines each task, leaving little room for improvisation and ensuring a minimum of predictability.
- Another aspect to take into account is the ease of monitoring . We can see at a glance what state the project is in, what tasks have been completed, if any fixes are needed or if a problem has arisen. Thus, decisions can be made at critical moments with good information and in an agile way, something that is always needed to reach a successful conclusion.
- Engagement among participants is also encouraged . Each one will be clear about their role and will be able to check the rhythm of the activities. Workers will see themselves as part of a functional whole, moving in a certain direction and where they are being useful. This also reinforces motivation and prevents some participants from getting off the hook.
- Finally, we managed to optimize the available resources . All phases or stages will be assigned a time and the necessary resources for the tasks required. In this way, an accurate estimate can be made with a tight margin, but one that prevents resources from being scarce. You avoid overspending or reducing the endowment to a part of the project.
It is true that all processes have a margin of improvisation. In fact, no matter how foreseen, during their development, unexpected elements always arise that modify the roadmap and force to rethink tasks, deadlines and, if the case warrants it, specific and general objectives. However, that does not mean that projects work better in the improvisational arena. On the contrary, experience shows that many processes are successful because they start from clear and defined methodologies. Are the schedules, then, a kind of magic formula for the smooth running of projects? Of course not. What they do suppose is a greater guarantee that the proposed objectives can be carried out. In addition to the good use of time, schedules bring countless benefits to projects. Let’s see some of the most outstanding:
It is not the same to lead a group in which its members do a little of everything to another in which the tasks are defined in advance and clearly. It is the best remedy against dispersion and crossover. Each member knows what to do and assumes responsibility for their work as their own.
Improve direction and follow-up:
Schedules are especially beneficial for project managers or leaders. Not only do they allow them to have a global vision of their deadlines and their stages, but they also help them to better control what happens during the development of processes. Making decisions is easier with a schedule in hand.
Facilitates the introduction of changes:
Likewise, the vision that the schedule provides to project leaders is useful when it comes to detecting eventual failures or obstacles. The idea is to anticipate its appearance through strategies that mitigate its effects and avoid major inconveniences that may alter the smooth running of the processes.
Increase the level of commitment of the participants:
By setting deadlines, schedules pose small “challenges” that those involved in the processes work hard to meet. It is proven: the best way to guarantee the fulfillment of a task is by setting a specific deadline.
Optimize the use of resources:
A project marked by improvisation starts to work without being clear about the resources that it must use in its different phases. That is the work of the schedule: define the necessary tools at all times and, at the same time, open a brief margin for others that may be required even without being foreseen. The impact of this will be felt in the budgets and balance of overhead costs.
Keys to developing a schedule
When we want to create a schedule we cannot act haphazardly , since we would reduce its effectiveness. The first step to follow is to define which phases and tasks are essential, then they will have to be related to each other, estimate the deadlines for their execution, include the previously balanced resources and the last step will include a review of the schedule to look for errors.
Each of these steps is important and it is not recommended to skip them . The final result will be a useful schedule, which we can distribute among the participants and which will serve as a reference during the development of the activities.
In short, project schedules play an important role, since a part of the organization and planning depends on them. Thanks to them, any job can be finished within reasonable times and without consuming more resources than are strictly necessary. Otherwise, the chances of failure would increase.