How to create a work schedule

Published on 05/04/2024

How to create a work schedule

Published on 05/04/2024
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How to create a work schedule

Every organization needs to have a planning tool that allows them to track the progress of activities according to the projects they undertake in their company.

Having a tool such as an activity schedule allows meeting deadlines and enables group leaders to monitor their team’s task execution. Due to its importance, we believe that every manager should know what a schedule is and how to create one for their team.

What is a schedule?

A schedule of activities is a tool that allows us to graphically organize the activities or tasks to be carried out during a specific period to achieve set objectives.

The schedule is a very useful project management tool as it provides a detailed overview of the tasks or even subtasks of each project, assigning them to different team members by days, months, etc.

It is essential for a schedule to integrate various elements to achieve effective planning:

  • Activities and/or tasks
  • Necessary resources for each task
  • Deadlines
  • Team members and responsible parties

All planning is dynamic, so the schedule should be as well. It should be able to adapt to the times and unforeseen events that may arise within any company. Therefore, even though this information was traditionally recorded on paper, project managers can now rely on digital tools to streamline the process and allow for effective planning.

How to create a schedule

To create a schedule that is useful for helping employees organize their tasks and activities, we suggest including the following steps when creating your work schedule:

Tasks to be completed:

  • The first step in creating a schedule is to clearly define the tasks and/or activities to be performed in order to achieve the set objectives. Typically, this information is in the hands of group leaders who define tasks and roles for each team member.

Assign roles:

  • As mentioned in the previous step, assigning roles to each worker for the development of each activity included in the schedule is crucial for organizing times and the elements mentioned below. This can be done by a group leader or organization members, depending on the prevailing leadership style. The key is to align each worker’s qualities with the tasks for maximum efficiency.

Establish relationships between tasks:

  • Consider whether there are any relationships between the different tasks defined in your schedule. Prioritize tasks if some are more important or urgent than others. Some activities may be complementary to others, and certain tasks may need to be completed before others can begin. Clarifying these relationships helps structure the schedule and set execution times.

Set execution times:

  • Reflect the approximate times you believe each task will take in the schedule. These times may vary if a project takes more or less time than expected.

Set delivery dates:

  • Unlike execution times, delivery dates should be fixed. It’s crucial to meet deadlines, especially when dealing with client deadlines. Establishing deadlines for completing tasks, and perhaps setting them a few days before the client’s final delivery date, allows for a margin of review and correction of potential errors.

Organize information in a visual design:

  • Once the above points are clear, input all the information into the selected table, platform, or medium to create your work schedule. The best way to input information is visually, using colors and concise information to understand the task without overwhelming detail. A clear and organized schedule facilitates easy reference and efficiency.

Review, adjust, and reorganize:

  • As mentioned at the beginning, a schedule, like tasks, is not static. Therefore, the chosen medium for organizing information should allow for recurrent and easy changes and modifications. Ensure that all changes and modifications in tasks are reflected in the schedule to make it as accurate as possible in reflecting your work times. An outdated schedule loses its purpose and can lead to errors.

Types of schedules:

While there are many templates and ways to organize information for proper planning, we highlight the following three models:

Gantt chart schedule:

  • This schedule is often the most used as it relates the time dedicated to each task. It presents activities in a vertical column, and hours, days, months, or specified deadlines are shown in the top horizontal row. The center columns of the table allow us to relate each task to the time dedicated to it. While simple and useful for establishing start and finish times for each activity, it does not show relationships that may exist between different tasks.

Milestone schedule:

  • This model is very similar to the Gantt chart schedule as it relates milestones (tasks or activities) to their start and finish dates. The difference is that the Milestone Schedule displays the most relevant tasks and their deadlines, providing less detail than other models. Achieving these milestones brings us closer to meeting our final goal.

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