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Reply To: Reduce the lines in a project plan

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Daryl DefflerDaryl Deffler

Not knowing your level of experience… Too much task detail is one of the most common mistakes I see in project schedules. Summarize/combine tasks when it makes sense, to your project reporting intervals. Meaning, if you report progress every two weeks, try to keep tasks around the 80 hour range. (when it makes sense) Some tasks could be smaller, some could be larger. For example, if your project is developing code, you could have individual tasks to review specs, design program, write code, and test code. But if all that occurs in 40 total hours, make it one task with a scope of all 4 sub-tasks. However, if its a very large, complicated program, maybe specs and design will take 40 hours, coding and testing may take 60 hours. In this case, separating them may make sense. But they could still be combined. There are no specific rules on how to do this. The bottom line is to provide enough project task details to allow you the PM to track and report progress, easily and with sufficient detail to know when there is an issue.
There are other factors as well. For example if the team has never done the needed work, maybe you break the tasks a bit more finitely to provide more detailed tracking. However, if the team has done it 50 times, they’re proficient at it, and they have a checklist to manage their process, maybe one task covering the whole scope is fine.
I hope that helps