Practical Time Plans for Projects

Three key characteristics are often mentioned in a project:
Budget – Ai how much money are you willing to spend
Scope,Ai what are you going to do
Time,Ai when will you get it done?
It can be said that time is the most difficult factor to predict of all three. Let’s look at a simple example to see how you can set a realistic time frame for your projects. In this instance, you are asked to construct a fence around a backyard.
Step 1.Ai Make sure to understand the scope. The time required to complete a fence will vary depending on whether it is a string around the yard or a brick wall. A home garden is different than fencing a botanical garden. Consider:
What is the client expecting?
Where will you be able to source the materials/resources necessary for the project?
What are the likely effects of weather conditions and other external factors on your project?
Is this the first time such work has been done? If so, what was the process?
Step 2 – Ai Define any important dates. Most projects will have a start and finish date. You might be asked to deliver the project before the end or in time for a formal meeting or opening. These dates can be used as a guide for your time planning. Be aware that the time you are given by a client to complete the task might not be enough.
Step 3: Start to plan the timing for the key tasks. Referring to your project plan, estimate the time it will take to complete each task. Below is an example of a draft for our garden project. (Total project time = 19 days)

Step 4: Review the task time requirements and prerequisites. You may be able to review task timelines using information about past work and the time it took to complete the task. Ask suppliers and contractors about their time requirements based upon their experience. A task prerequisite is something that must be completed before the task can begin. Multiple tasks can be done simultaneously in some cases to reduce the time it takes to complete a project. This image shows an updated version our fence project timeline that includes these elements.

Total project time = 18 days.
These tasks have been reviewed and allow for more realistic time estimates. These steps will help you to create a realistic timeline for your project. The project time plan will help you track the delivery of your projects. Have fun planning!
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