Planning and Scheduling: Definitions and Tips

The process of planning primarily deals with selecting the appropriate policies and procedures in order to achieve the objectives of the project. Scheduling converts the project action plans for scope, time cost and quality into an operating timetable.

Lesson 2 2 What is Planning and Scheduling

What is scheduling?

Creating a schedule involves determining who will complete specific project action plan steps and when. Companies evaluate their resources, including equipment, team members, and time, during the scheduling phase to determine which ones are required to complete the project’s goal and whether they need to acquire more. Businesses examine when specific project milestones must be reached as they create a schedule, establishing crucial checkpoints. The project team will use those checkpoints to determine whether the project is ever behind schedule and whether adjustments are necessary to meet their goal.

What is planning?

One of the early phases of project development is planning, during which organizations and businesses decide how they will accomplish a goal. Many project managers develop an action plan during the planning stage to help them see the steps they need to take in order to accomplish the project’s goal. The planning stage would be used, for instance, if a business launched a new marketing campaign with the aim of gaining ten new clients within the coming year.

Planning and scheduling in the workforce

Some businesses designate two separate employees to oversee the planning and scheduling duties while a project is being created. Companies frequently create two distinct positions because the two jobs call for different skill sets. To understand what the company can accomplish when planning, people frequently need strong risk assessment skills and knowledge of research and development. To ensure they finish the project on schedule with money and resources to spare, people must have strong administrative abilities and time management skills.

However, some businesses combine the duties of both roles into a single position. It’s critical for an employee to have strong communication skills when a company assigns them the planning and scheduling responsibilities so they can work effectively with other company departments. Individuals can successfully carry out their responsibilities and ensure the project is successful by seeking guidance and knowledge from various company departments, such as accounting, marketing, and research and development.

Planning vs. scheduling

Although both scheduling and planning are crucial for a project’s success, they have different roles to play in assisting the project in achieving its objectives. The planning phase takes place before the project begins. Project managers then present or pitch the idea to company executives and managers using the developed plan. However, as project managers allocate resources and assign roles, scheduling is one of the first steps in completing the project. Once the schedule is finished, the project officially begins as the team concentrates on finishing the first action plan step.

Companies frequently rely on the data from the planning stage during scheduling to create the schedule and effectively distribute resources. For instance, if a business is aware that their action plan calls for more marketing specialists than they currently have, they may plan to enlist the assistance of marketing consultants at various stages of the project. It’s also possible that some managers may learn during scheduling that they can’t finish the project in the allotted amount of time. Project managers may need to go back to the planning stage if that happens to decide whether they need to change the project or extend the deadline.

Major steps for planning and scheduling a project

The following are some essential actions businesses take when beginning a new project:

1. Establish project scope

Identifying the project’s scope is the first step in project planning. The project’s scope includes everything the company can successfully produce or complete before its deadline. When coming up with features or ideas for the project, managers and project executives will need to assess each suggestion and determine whether the company can implement it without compromising the quality of the project.

An employee might propose a feature for the app that calls the doctor if the user is running late, for instance, if a business was developing a new mobile application to help users keep track of their doctor appointments. The project manager must decide whether the feature fits the project’s scope and can be completed by the project’s deadline if they approve of the idea. The team can clearly identify the project’s main objective and what constitutes success once the scope has been officially decided.

2. Develop the action plan

The business can create the project’s action plan by identifying its major tasks once the project’s primary objectives have been determined. Project managers frequently divide the project into smaller, more manageable goals when creating the action plan to help them identify key roles and project checkpoints. For instance, if a business wants to develop a new type of computer software, their first action plan step might be to describe the software’s features. The following step might be to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) for testing.

3. Determine resources

It’s crucial to comprehend what resources the project will require before developing the schedule and beginning it. Resources can include a wide range of distinctive things, including team members, materials, equipment, and more. Identifying the resources required for the project is crucial because doing so can make it easier for the project manager to develop an accurate budget and schedule. For instance, a company may require 3D rendering software, manufacturing equipment, and prototype materials if it wants to develop and produce a new kind of energy-efficient flashlight.

4. Create the schedule

Most project managers use the action plan’s information along with a list of required resources to create the schedule in order to determine the most efficient budget and timeline. It’s crucial for project managers to know how many resources the team needs for each step of the action plan, as well as roughly how long each step will take. Project managers who are aware of these two facts can more effectively create project budgets and allow the team ample time to complete each action plan step.

Planning and scheduling software

Some businesses may use impressive planning and scheduling software when creating the project plan and schedule to help speed up and improve the process. Some companies offer software so that businesses can work together and produce impressive action plans and timelines to efficiently manage the project. However, not all software enables businesses to quickly make significant changes during the project, which can present difficulties or lead to delays for the team.

Some businesses use spreadsheets to make a customizable plan and schedule that can be very helpful to the team and project manager in order to prevent delays and allow for more manual organization. Although there are fewer automated functions, the manager may find it easier to change any significant deadlines or action plan steps manually than to try to work with a software’s automation.

Tips for coordinating planning and scheduling

Here are some additional pointers for juggling scheduling and planning in your professional life:

Gather resources first

Before beginning the scheduling phase, it’s crucial for businesses to first gather or understand their resource requirements after the planning stage. Although a business may have a list of the resources it anticipates using, it’s crucial for them to understand how much of each resource they currently have and where they will get the rest. The efficiency of the project can be increased when the company knows where the resources are coming from or if there are enough of them already.

Prioritize efficiency

When scheduling, giving priority to a project’s efficiency can help you avoid duplications and cut down on delays. For instance, it is advantageous to schedule the use of a piece of equipment that two company departments might need at various times so that no department is ever waiting for another to finish their work.

Additionally, it’s critical to clearly define key roles and assign each department with a specific action plan step. The company can ensure that no two people are working on the same task and potentially causing project delays when each department knows exactly what it is doing.

Foresee major challenges

It is beneficial to attempt to foresee any significant challenges the project may face when planning and scheduling. Project managers can increase productivity by anticipating problems and allocating the proper resources and time to each task. Giving a task more time to complete in case any unforeseen issues arise is helpful if a manager is having trouble identifying any significant challenges it might face.

Focus on communication

It’s critical that the planning and scheduling team stay in close contact with one another while creating the plan and schedule. Giving each other feedback on each other’s work can help each team develop and improve their concepts. A step in the action plan, for instance, might not be feasible when creating the schedule due to a lack of funds or resources. If this happens, the scheduling team may speak with the planning team to update the project scope and action plan.


What is difference between scheduling and planning?

Planning Quotes
  • “Life is what we experience while we are preparing for other things,” ” .
  • “If you live close to a live dragon, it does not do to leave him out of your calculations. ” .
  • “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” …
  • “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” …
  • “The future has already arrived; it’s just not distributed equally.”

What is planning and scheduling in engineering?

The primary distinction between planning and scheduling is that one determines what must be done and how much, whereas the other specifies who must perform the operations and when. Even though they are distinct procedures, operation and production scheduling brings them together.

What are the benefits of planning and scheduling?

Planning: The division of a project’s tasks into their individual events, and the sequencing, resourcing and strategy of those events. Scheduling: Detailed assignment of logic, duration & start/finish dates to. project activities, within the overall plan.

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