Scheduling Best Practices and Guidelines

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    • #5076
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      I need to create some scheduling guidelines for our staff and was wondering if there were any canned materials out there.  My problem is this depends on what the user is looking for.  I was thinking something like this:

      perfect world:  best practices and relevant project options

      someone who likes manual control (i.e. doesn’t want project thinking):  practices and relevant project options

      I think the practices and relevant options could be presented by a user-type or profile.

      Any suggestions or ideas?  Books that may approach scheduling in this way?

    • #6692
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      Hi Mark,

      I’m not sure how to answer this.  All project management packages use something akin to Critical Path Analysis or Network Analysis as their root technique to schedule a project.  If you only want manual scheduling, then use Excel, Word or even a pencil and paper! Microsoft Project’s sole purpose is to use it’s programming to calculate a schedule for the tasks and the data you enter. Project has zero intelligence and it can’t think, so someone has to do all the thinking and decision making.  There’s no point in spending money on Project if you don’t use is prime scheduling ability.

      So the first best practice it to let Project tell you want you can do with the data you enter so that you can apply the mind to re-thinking what you hope to do.

      You might like to see (and perhaps your colleagues also)  my introduction to Project, including the principles of Network Analysis, to get an impression of what Project can do and what it cannot.  You can find this in the TechTrax ezine, particularly #1, at this site:  or this:
      (Perhaps you’d care to rate the article before leaving the site, 🙂  Thanks.)

      FAQs, companion products and other useful Project information can be seen at this web address: <>

      Hope this helps – please let us know how you get on 🙂

      Mike Glen
      MS Project MVP (97-11)


    • #10435
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      By guidelines, do you mean:

      – use 5.2 to 6.0 effective hours per day for planning

      – adding time for unanticipated issues

      and so on?

    • #6704
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      Great question Bill.  Initially I was thinking what the default project settings should be as well as a couple of hints.  Although best” scheduling practices and guidelines could be a lot more about behaviour and practices outside of the tool.

      I’ll take either. 

    • #6710
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      Your starting point needs a Business case or project charter etc that clearly defines WHAT will make your project successful. Scheduling should now be easy: do whatever it takes to communicate clearly HOW the project is to be (and is being) delivered successfully.

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