Project calendars are essential to planning and carrying out project tasks. With so many things happening, maintaining a project calendar will keep your team organised and ensure that you stay on track. However, setting up one can be quite time consuming and confusing. Some managers simply do not know where to start or how to keep the calendar up-to-date. If you feel the same, here are 4 different ways on how you can easily set up your project calendar.
Identify your goals
Identify your ‘end’ goals, as well as your ‘enroute’ goals. Your ‘end’ goals, as the name suggests, is what you want to achieve at the end of the project. These are goals that you are wish to achieve without compromise. Your ‘en-route’ goals are what you need to do in order to achieve your ‘end’ goals. They are much more flexible and can be changed, depending on the circumstances. ‘Enroute’ goals can also be removed or deleted if the present situation doesn’t call for it. Once all goals are laid out, go through each again to make sure they all align and contribute to achieving your ‘end’ goal.
Identify how much work needs to be done
Set clear expectations of what needs to be done for each goal to be achieved. Go into as much detail as you can, such as identifying who will be impacted and what needs to be done before any changes are rolled out. Identify if a task requires low or high effort to be completed. If possible, also include if there are resources that you would need to complete the task, and whether these resources are on-hand or if they still need to be acquired. This will help identify the required budget for the project. Lastly, anticipate potential roadblocks and create a contingency plan just in case this happens.
Create a timeline
Once your goals are laid out, create a timeline as to when you would like each goal to be achieved. The timeline must be realistic, taking into consideration how much work needs to be done as well as your workforce. Using the sandwich approach, schedule low effort tasks in between high effort tasks. This will help avoid burnout and also provide the team with a sense of accomplishment. If possible, do not schedule tasks too close together, so that you have some breathing space just in case one task encounters a roadblock or a delay.
Depending on how big your team is, collaboration may be the hardest part of managing your project calendar. There are different tools you can use to organise your project calendar. Some choose to use Google sheets or Google docs which allows easy collaboration as changes are reflected across all users instantaneously. Some choose to use a simple calendar app and add tasks as an event. There are also project management tools such as Trello wherein you can add cards for each task. You can add the completion deadline to the task. You can also assign the task to the responsible team member.
Effectively managing your project calendar is essential to the completion of goals and the success of your team. Make sure to check in with your team and include them in the planning. Make sure you clearly explain each part including the purpose of the task, and encourage them to leave notes or add their own input. Assign a team member to take notes during meetings and to make sure any changes are properly reflecting your project calendar. By doing so, you can ensure that their goals are aligned with your team’s goals, and ultimately your entire organization’s goals.