COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TOOLBOX
Scheduling Your Project Activities
For any project, timing is everything. The LABORATORY FOR COMMUNITY AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (LCED) has created an online scheduling tool to help
community leaders with development initiatives. The online tool is designed
after the Gantt chart, a horizontal bar chart that provides an easily understood
overview of the activities and milestones of the project. Named after Henry
Laurence Gantt, the American engineer and social scientist. Gantt charts have
been used since the early 1900s and are frequently an important business tool
business for planning and managing projects.
The chart displays the chronological time frame of your project and helps
document and plan major project milestones. The simple display includes
proportionate, chronologically scaled time frames for each task in the project.
The chart will display information about WHAT is happening WHEN it should be
happening and WHO is responsible for each task. The tasks are outlined on the
left-hand column of the chart.
Using the LCED Online Project Planning Tool
At the main Laboratory
for Community and Economic Development Toolbox page,
Select "Community Planning" and then go to "Scheduling Your Project Activities."
You will have to complete a login form once which will allow you to store and
maintain your information at this site. On subsequent visits you will bypass
the login pages; however, each time you visit the site you will have to enter
your original login and password. The information you enter will be stored and
you will be able to make changes and updates.
Assign a name for your project and identify the different people or organizations
that are involved in project activities. Each activity within your project will
be assigned a color in the final Gantt chart representing the individual or group
responsible for implementing the particular task.
Once you have identified up to six different people, groups or organizations who
are involved in the project press "submit" to take you to the next page.
On the second page of the tool, you will be asked to identify the start date
of the project. The next table provides rows where you can label each activity in
your project; assign a time frame; and identify the person or group responsible for
completion. Type in the activity name in the first column, then identify which week
that particular task will start and be completed by pressing down the arrow and
highlighting the appropriate week. The Gantt chart will identify the exact date of
completion based on the start date entered earlier. Finally, press on the down arrow
of the last column to select one of the predefined persons/groups who is responsible
for implementing that task (only the names entered on the previous page will listed).
Tips for successful project scheduling:
Communications among team members is the key priority.
Build consensus among your team in defining tasks/milestones and timelines.
Individual responsibilities must be clear.
There is a trade-off between scheduling a project with too little detail and
projects with too much detail. With too much detail, it is difficult to manage
more than 3 or 4 tasks at a time. With too little detail, milestones may be missed
and often a lot of the work is left for last minute.
As a guide, do not define tasks that will take longer than 6 weeks to complete,
break the task down to small and more manageable milestones. It is easier to stay
on target (in terms of cost and time) when tasks are subdivided into smaller,
more easily understood activities.
Meet regularly with your team to assess whether the outlined schedule is still
on target and make modifications to your timeline if necessary. Keep your eye on
the goals of your project and revise activities as change in strategies become
If your goals and tasks are not clearly defined use the LABORATORY FOR COMMUNITY
AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT online Strategic Planning
tool to help facilitate the process.
For more information:
Contact Julie Fesenmaier ~ email@example.com
FOR COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT