A project has multiple moving parts and individuals. It is a complex process to complete and deliver what can be seen as a successful project. Therefore, many elements can help you and your team reach this outcome. One such thing is the project cronograma.
The project cronograma helps organize the events of the project in light of the project completion date.
With the project cronograma, you have an outline of the project that can be followed throughout the project lifecycle.
What is a project cronograma? And how can you effectively create one to help with your project management process? Here is everything you need to know.
What is Cronograma?
Firstly, let us define Cronograma. Cronograma is the Spanish word for schedule.
In project management, project scheduling is a significant aspect of delivering a successful outcome. Therefore, it is important to understand what project scheduling actually means.
Think of the project’s timeline schedule or timeline cronograma as a timetable that helps organize all the elements needed in order to complete the project and to have a successful project delivery.
The project schedule is usually created at the time of the planning phase of the project.
The project schedule is a combination of deliverables, milestones, and activities outlined with planned start and end dates, durations, and even possibly resources.
Difference Between Project Cronograma and Project Planning
You may be wondering what the difference between project scheduling and project planning is. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone in this confusion. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably which can be quite deceptive especially considering the different roles the two play.
In the lifecycle of your project, both project scheduling and project planning are important and contribute to helping you and your team deliver a successful project.
Simply put, project planning involves drawing up an overall plan of the way the project will be run, while in comparison a project schedule is more detailed and looks into the specifics.
Project planning involves the bigger general decisions that will shape the way the project runs such as deciding on which methodology will be followed, creating any project policies and procedures that will deliver the project on time.
The project schedule on the other hand creates an operational timeline based on the project plan, the project scope, and the budget that was set out.
Why is Creating a Project Cronograma Important?
You may be asking why should you even create a project timeline or schedule in the first place? The answer is in the importance that a project schedule or timeline holds for the success of your project and its aid to reaching a successful project close.
There are many reasons why you should take the necessary time to create an effective project schedule or timeline. Here are just a few of the benefits that you and your team can gain by taking part in this process.
- By creating a project schedule or project timeline, you have a document to help track, report, and communicate progress both to team members as well as to other stakeholders or clients that need to be updated.
- By creating such a timeline cronograma, you have a schedule that makes running the entire project a smoother affair.
- Project scheduling and committing to a timeline during the planning phase of the project help you to set a clear picture for you and your team of what to expect and the requirements in place.
- With set due dates and timelines to follow, everyone is held accountable to the same durations and you can ensure that everyone is on the same page about tasks, deadlines, and task dependencies.
- By monitoring the project’s progress in light of the schedule you can identify any issues that arise early, thus giving you a heads up to be able to rectify them or to notify necessary parties such as clients. Scheduling also ensures you can identify is timelines or deadlines are unrealistic from the get-go so you do not face any project delays or added costs.
- Highlights resource availability for the project you are working on as well as for any future projects for both yourself and any other managers that need to know.
These are just a few of the benefits of taking the time to create a project schedule or timeline.
Now that we have highlighted why creating such a schedule is important let’s go over some tips, tricks, and steps you can follow to help you simplify creating an effective project schedule for your next project.
Creating an Effective Project Cronograma
The way you choose to create your project schedule depends on you and your team however, there are certain steps you can follow and some tips you can use to make the most effective project schedule and timeline.
What you will want to do is start by creating a plan for your project.
After creating a plan for your project, you will want to decide who has authority over your project’s schedule and plan out how you want the schedule to be.
This planning will be done by creating tasks and identifying activities needed for your project to be completed. Set start and end dates for these tasks and activities.
If any tasks are dependent on the completion of other tasks you will want to highlight any task dependencies.
Once you have highlighted tasks and activities and identified any dependencies you can easily put the tasks into chronological order to create a project calendar.
You can also figure out what resources you will need and their availability as well.
You can then create a project schedule.
To ensure the project schedule is effective, there are certain tips you can consider implementing.
You want to try and avoid creating your schedule in isolation. Speak to clients and stakeholders and get their input if possible, and ensure you also include your team in the process.
If you are unclear about the duration tasks might take, you can look at past projects that will give you a good idea of what your schedule should look like depending on how that project went.
You want to remember that no project plan is set in stone. Some certain risks and delays can happen. The best way to deal with them is to identify potential issues and risks from the start and have plans to mitigate them if they arise.
While creating an overall project plan and schedule is good, by identifying important events or markers in your project as project milestones you can gain a summary schedule, as well as something to report to executives, or help to identify problems early.
Another tip is to use a project scheduling tool or project management tool to simplify the entire process from start to finish.
nTask and your Project’s Cronograma
How you create your project timeline or schedule is up to you. A common phenomenon in the project management world is projected timeline software. This type of software is a focal point in project planning.
Such timeline software can help your project scheduling while also offering complex additional features that allow you to monitor progress during the project execution and also easily update team members, clients, stakeholders, and all those involved.
Project timeline software provides your project schedule in a visual format allowing you to view your tasks and milestones on a timeline.
nTask is one such great timeline software that can simplify the entire project management process for you.
With nTask you not only gain features to help with other aspects of project management such as meeting management and issue and risk management you also have a centralized data repository that allows everyone involved in the project to have access to critical information including the project timeline.
nTask has a Gantt chart module that graphically illustrates your project’s timeline. You will be able to see your tasks represented by bars along with the dates you create and milestones represented by diamonds.
The first step to creating the timeline and viewing it with the Gantt chart feature is by creating tasks. You need to create tasks that are required to be completed to complete the project.
Each task has the option allowing you to set a start and end date which is necessary to identify in order for it to show in the Gantt chart. Those tasks will automatically display in the Gantt chart.
You can also create milestones for specific events that represent important moments in your schedule so you can clearly see whether you are on track or behind schedule.
Furthermore, nTask allows you to create task dependencies. These are those tasks that rely on the completion of another task in order to start. To create a task dependency, you simply need to hover your mouse over the corner of the taskbar and drag it to the start or end of the taskbar it has a dependency on.
You also see the update on the progress of your project by way of the completion percentage of each task and the color of the bars. For each task, you can set the status of the task as either ‘not started’, ‘in progress’, ‘in review’, ‘completed’, or ‘canceled’. You can also create custom statuses and choose your colors for those.
Besides seeing the tasks outlined on a timeline, the Gantt chart also identifies other important information such as the project budget that you set, the project cost that has been spent so far, the completion percentage, any issues and risks identifies, and who the project managers are.
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There you have it, everything you need to know about a project cronograma.
There are many techniques and tools such as the project schedule and timeline that are essential project management staples. These concepts are important to help you and your team reach successful project completion.
To find out more about such project management concepts check out our blog here.