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10 top tips for creating timing plans: an introduction

One of the key responsibilities for project management is to make sure that projects are delivered on time, and to do that it usually helps to create some kind of timing plan or project plan that takes you from the project initiation, to project close.

If you haven’t already, bookmark this page and check out our definitive guide on how to create perfect project plans.  You will find the best practices, infographics, examples, and a free project plan template for Microsoft Project. 

Creating an effective timing plan

Getting  a timing plan right enables you to forecast your resource requirements (in conjunction with your costing), help structure workflow (the order and process in which you sequence production), and probably most importantly for the client, enable you to give them timings for when they’ll be required to sign off elements, and give them the all-important live date.

A checklist for creating project plans

The following Ten Top Tips series is designed as a checklist for ways to approach doing this, especially with creating timing plans in MS Project.  When a timing plan is complete, you’ll then also be equipped with the necessary information and detail to pull together a cost estimate, and SoW (Scope of Work) as you’ll be aware of the amount of effort required.

In the following ten posts we’ll look at the following:

  1. An introduction to creating timing plans
  2. Define your workflow
  3. Establish your planning horizon
  4. Break it down
  5. Ask, don’t guess
  6. Question when questioning
  7. Allow time for amends
  8. Plan for it not going to plan
  9. Finish well
  10. Post project review & optimise
  11. Checkpoint charlie
  12. A summary to creating timing plans

What do you think?

What do you think we’re missing? In the next ten posts we’ll delve into the details of these tips but what else should PM’s be thinking about when developing timing plans? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any tips too – why not share them using the comments below?

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and VP of Client Services at FCV, a full service digital agency in Vancouver, Canada. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.


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