Project scheduling is one of the basic skills any project manager should have. It is the mechanism we use to shine in front of our stakeholders by showing how we’ll approach a new project.
It starts at a high level when we create the master schedule and give the client a rough idea of what to expect. After guiding the first couple of conversations, we then use the result to inform our detailed project schedule. Finally, having gathered internal feedback, we present the final version which can be resource loaded, and it becomes the baseline against which you’ll be measuring project progress.
That’s a lot of pressure and the reason why it’s important to have software that properly supports your scheduling, from tasks to resources. Your job as project manager is to ensure everything runs smoothly—from putting a team together, allocating those resources, running meetings, budget planning, and forecasting.
How I Picked The Best Project Scheduling Software
When selecting software, I research and analyze certain categories which are relevant to the project management app. In this case, I weighed different factors and used the following criteria to shortlist the best software.
- User Interface (UI): I look at the distribution of elements on screen as well as how attractive the design is. Having ‘pretty’ software is important if you see it every day, in my opinion.
- Usability: I experience the tool as a new user and try to analyze how intuitive it is. Also, I approach it as someone who would need to teach others how to use this tool to other people. Is it easy to learn?
- Integrations: At a minimum, most project management software will have pre-built integrations with Google Suite, Dropbox, and Box. Something to watch for is integrations with or the ability to sync with calendar apps—while it may seem like a no-brainer, not all tools have pre-built integrations with calendar apps that you’re already using (or you have to upgrade your plan to access that functionality).
- Pricing: How does this tool’s price compare to other tools with similar feature sets? I also search for free trials or free versions of the software that allow you to test their functionality for yourself. Small teams with simple project scheduling needs might be able to get by with free project scheduling software.
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Wrike is an award-winning, easy-to-use project scheduling software trusted by 20,000+ organizations worldwide. It's suitable for teams with anywhere from five members to an unlimited number of team members. The tool is highly configurable and allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, request forms, and more.
Wrike’s simple project scheduling software enables users to plan and schedule projects on Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, or traditional workload views, as well as switch between them. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, calendars, and real-time collaboration. Unlock advanced insights with performance reporting tools, time tracking, and more.
Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. Toggle quickly between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and the activity stream. Wrike has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Pricing starts at $9.80 per user per month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
- Plenty of collaboration features, from proofing tools to @-tagging
- User-friendly, visually appealing Gantt chart schedules
- The free plan is good for basic task list scheduling
- Time tracking only included in Business and Enterprise plans
- Full scheduling capabilities have a bit of a learning curve
- Subtask management and scheduling is limited to paid plans
monday.com is a project management platform with intuitive collaboration features that are easy to learn and quickly understand. It’s a highly customizable tool that helps you clarify the sequence of work and see the progress and status of your projects at a glance.
Why I picked monday.com: Most of the project scheduling features in monday.com are in the “timeline” feature—this is where you can plan projects, set deadlines, assign team members, break down tasks, and set dependencies. You can reassign tasks by simply clicking and dragging, and you can view your timelines as spreadsheets, as lists, on a map, on a Kanban board, and other views.
With monday.com you can create summary charts and export and share project plans in a variety of formats (XML, PDF, etc). Apart from that, the platform enables big-picture views using reporting dashboards that collect data from multiple boards, allowing better progress tracking.
All said and done, monday.com technically doesn’t enable you to make Gantt charts in the very traditional sense (nor can you import or export MPP files). However, it’s a flexible, intuitive schedule management software tool that helps you see where tasks are bottlenecking, understand who’s currently working on what, etc. What’s more, the customizable fields and the drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to quickly set up and start using.
monday.com Standout Features & Integrations
Features include automations, shared documents for real-time collaboration, file management, dashboards, Gantt charts, and 5+ views so you can see your project information the way you want to.
Integrations include apps like Slack, Excel, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and thousands more accessible via Zapier.
monday.com Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $10 /user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
- Resource scheduling tools included
- Easy to use calendar and task scheduling
- Colorful, graphically pleasant schedule interface
- Complicated pricing structure
- Steep learning curve for beginners
Kantata is a resource management & PSA software with modules for project scheduling and management, accounting, resource management, business intelligence, and team collaboration.
Why I picked Kantata: It offers a system of dashboards, live time and expense tracking features, and a great document management system. All of these best-in-class features are delivered through straightforward and minimalistic design.
For project scheduling specifically, Kantata offers a complete set of useful features. As you make detailed project plans, the tool support a multi-level work breakdown structure that lets you define the project by a series of granular tasks and subtasks. Other scheduling features include: Gantt chart-based project plan capabilities, schedule management, multi-level WBS, workflow planning, task assignment and scheduling, and critical path and variance analysis.
It also has some good contextual collaboration features to communicate around tasks, projects, and many other project objects. It’s a full suite that takes time to truly master, but the simple, streamlined UI shortens the learning curve significantly.
Kantata Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource management features (real-time utilization, resource forecasting, capacity management), analytics (built-in reports, custom reporting, trend analysis) and accounting tools (project costing, budget management, invoicing).
Integrations include pre-built integrations with tools like Expensify, G Suite, Xero, Salesforce, Netsuite, Jira, Hubspot, Slack, Concur, Dynamics 365, Qualtrics, and Quickbooks. They also provide an integration platform called M-Bridge to help you build your own integrations.
Kantata Plans & Pricing
Kantata offers plans to meet your needs. Choose from resource management to complete PSA with advanced BI. To receive accurate pricing information, contact Kantata directly.
- Improved task tracking since older versions of the software
- Drag-and-drop Gantt chart timeline
- Various scheduling data views
- Aesthetic, simplistic calendaring
- Pricing form does not display pricing information
- No schedule sharing without log-in
- Lack of global search function
Hub Planner is a resource management software with a full suite of project scheduling, time entry, and reporting features.
Why I picked Hub Planner: The core feature is the simple and usable Scheduler, which allows for project and resource planning and visualization. Users can drag and drop to plan projects and schedule resources. The tool also offers a multi-function menu, powerful filtering, and a dynamic team capacity bar. Multiple view modes allow for both high-level birds-eye views and granular views of projects.
Hub Planner has a powerful reporting engine with 70+ pre-formatted templates. If you can't find what you're looking for in a template, you can create reports from scratch.
Hub Planner also has a number of inline workflows for timesheets, requesting vacation time, and a slick resource requesting & approval option. Their Unassigned Work feature is great for scheduling and forecasting ahead of the pipeline, and users can create custom fields at the resource or project level. Users can also customize schedule notifications and reminders.
Hub Planner Standout Features & Integrations
Features include timesheets and approval, vacation and lead management, reporting, skills matching, and resource management.
Integrations include apps like Basecamp, Slack, and iCal. Thousands more can be accessed using Zapier, and its REst API can help you build custom integrations.
Hub Planner Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $7 /month/resource (annual billing) and offers a fully featured 60-day free trial.
- Good overview of staff task/time allocations and availability
- Easily track several projects and generate reports
- Filter planning & forecasting data by project, resource, group or skill set
- Would be nice to view more project booking information like custom fields in iCal
- To customize views and schedule layout you need to edit settings
- Need to click into modal for more details on events/projects bookings
When it comes to project scheduling, Celoxis comes packed with powerful planning and scheduling tools to help you build dynamic project plans that automatically adjust to changing real-world conditions. Armed with one of the most flexible, fast, and responsive interactive Gantt charts, Celoxis can effortlessly handle large project plans involving multiple levels of sub-tasks, inter-project dependencies and even multiple resources per task.
Its automatic scheduling feature accommodates almost every real-world scenario to provide a robust and reliable project schedule. With features like automatic email alerts, RAG health indicators, and critical path analysis, Celoxis makes project tracking a breeze. Celoxis provides visibility into what every member is doing and gives you the ability to track resource loads in real-time. With built-in team and client collaboration features, one can effortlessly share files, discuss, and exchange comments not just with other team members but also with your clients. Several best-practice and custom reports including drill-down charts that let you gather 360-degree real-time insights around your projects and resources.
Celoxis integrates out-of-the-box with popular apps likes Google Drive, Excel, MS Project, Jira, Salesforce, and Quickbooks Online. It is also fully integrated with Zapier, which allows you to use sync with thousands of apps. It also has an easy-to-use web-based API to connect with other services and legacy business apps.
Celoxis is one of the few tools that offer SaaS and On-Premise deployment options. Celoxis costs $25/user/month with additional commitment discounts.
- Great value for small teams
- Supports advanced predecessor conditions
- Has resource management and loading
- Pre-built project matrix report
- Clients cannot be assigned tasks
- Heavy, complex interface
Resource Management by Smartsheet is a high-level resource management and scheduling software that helps modern teams make confident decisions about project planning, team capacity, budget forecasting, team utilization, and hiring needs in real time.
Why I picked Resource Management by Smartsheet: Built-in timesheets, mobile time tracking, and expense tracking, enables you to create rich project reports by filtering project data with just a few clicks. Reports can give insight into historical data or offer a forecasted view of team utilization, actual vs. planned time reports, budget tracking, expense reports, and projects in the pipeline.
Over 1,000 of the most innovative companies in the world rely on Resource Management by Smartsheet, from 10-person shops and 100-person teams within global brands to 1,000+ person professional services firms. Resource Management by Smartsheet has been recognized for its design excellence with awards from FastCo, SXSW, IxDA + IDSA.
RM by Smartsheet Standout Features & Integrations
Features include project and resource matching, dynamic reporting, time tracking, a resource management panel, and a resource timeline for projects.
Integrations include apps like Slack, Brandfolder, Workplace, Microsoft Teams, and Facebook Ads. It additionally has a flexible API you can use to build custom integrations with the tools you use and automation through Zapier where you can connect to 1000+ apps.
RM by Smartsheet Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $9/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial. Resource management is a premium add-on that you need to purchase on top of your Smartsheet plan. Pricing is available upon request.
- Intuitive for keeping timesheets and assigning hours
- Skills database helps resource allocation
- Able to forecast resource utilization
- Combines time tracking and resourcing
- Bulk project edits don’t apply to resource field
- Could use better data visualization
- Initial resource set-up takes time
Runn is a real-time project scheduling and resource planning tool with integrated time tracking and powerful forecasting capabilities.
Why I picked Runn: Scheduling is easy and intuitive in Runn–simply drag-and-drop to create project phases and allocations. Create project milestones, project notes and add project budgets. Flick between monthly, quarterly and half-yearly views to plan for the short and long term. If you don’t have the right person at the right time, use placeholders to define the requirements for the project.
Runn makes planning dynamic and visual. Watch the charts and reports update as you plan your projects. You can see visualisations of capacity, workload, availability, and billable and non-billable utilization. Plan out tentative projects to see how your resourcing plans might change if the work gets confirmed.
Track projects, view forecasts, and get relevant metrics within Runn. You’ll have up-to-date data in one place to keep tabs on insights like utilization, project variance, and overall financial performance. Use Runn’s built-in timesheets to understand how much time was worked on your projects compared to what was planned.
Runn Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource scheduling, project planning, capacity management, project forecasting, timesheets, and reporting.
Integrations include apps like Harvest, WorkflowMax, and Clockify for importing project, client, and people data and syncing time entries. With Runn’s API, you can build your own integration to send data across your favorite tools.
Runn Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $10/user/month and has a 14-day free trial. There is also a free plan for up to 5 people.
- Native integrations & API available
- Free version available for 5 users
- Clean UI that’s easy to use & navigate
- Colors are not customisable
- Cant keep notes on projects
- No time tracking built in
Resource Guru is a dedicated resource management software. The tool allows team members to visualize tasks on calendars, shows what everyone is working on, and clearly displays availability so project managers can maximize utilization.
Why I picked Resource Guru: Project managers can make resource bookings simultaneously while ensuring they aren’t overbooking resources.
Resource and project clashes are automatically prevented. Bookings can be added to a waiting list and used for capacity planning later. Each staff member gets their own resource dashboard so they can log in and know exactly what they should be working on. Powerful reporting features allow users to monitor utilization and business performance, as well as help with capacity planning.
Resource Guru Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource scheduling, resource management, leave management, project scheduling, capacity planning, and forecasting reports.
Integrations include calendar apps like Outlook calendar, Calendly, and Google calendar. Thousands of additional apps are accessible through Zapier.
Resource Guru Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $3/user/month.
- Powerful resource filters
- Clash management capabilities to prevent overbooking
- Availability bar feature for capacity planning
- No copy-paste of resource tasks
- Integrations are mainly via Zapier, rather than as native integrations
Zoho Projects is a project management and project scheduling software from Zoho. It offers flexibility and customizations to suit the needs of traditional project managers as well as agile teams.
Why I picked Zoho Projects: It has multiple ways of viewing information, like lists, kanban, or Gantt charts. With task tags and custom views and filters, you can organize your tasks and find them with ease. In addition to timeline planning, you can plan your resources effectively with the drag-and-drop resource utilization module. Keep everyone in the loop right inside Projects via inbuilt chat, forums, and comments, or take the social route with the project portal feed. Add to that the integrated advanced analytics capabilities to generate more than 50 types of charts and reports. The colorful dashboards are fully customizable so that users can make Zoho Projects their own.
The interface and modules are highly customizable. All aspects of the UI from theme colors to arrangement and visibility of the various modules can be changed to suit a user’s preferences. Zoho projects also offer free onboarding for customers and a comprehensive online help guide for all users.
Zoho Projects stands out in cases where there are multiple hand-offs involved. It is especially popular among IT companies, consultants, and education organizations. The tool is trusted by over three million users and hundreds of big brands across the globe.
Zoho Projects Standout Features & Integrations
Features include task management, task automation, blueprints, time tracking, team collaboration, charts, and reporting.
Integrations. Being part of Zoho’s ecosystem allows Projects to connect to several of Zoho’s own services such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well.
Zoho Projects Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $5/user/month and has a 10-day free trial. A free version is also available for up to 3 users.
- Time-track multiple tasks at once
- Robust communication features
- Easy workflow automation
- Unlimited number of projects
- Lacks some file type export options
- Lacks some reporting features
- Does not integrate with Quickbooks
Jira is a tracking software solution designed to enable teams to schedule their software development projects efficiently. It’s primarily aimed towards software development and comes with a range of features that help make scheduling projects easier—including roadmaps, reports, and Scrum and Kanban boards that give users critical insights into the context of their work.
Why I Picked Jira: Jira supports teams consisting of 1 to 35,000 users and allows them to schedule their work, set deadlines, and stay on track with the project's timeline. Managers can allocate and schedule tasks and streamline the development process and everyone involved can view the status of different tasks and change schedules when necessary.
Jira’s UI is intuitive; it helps managers plan projects by enabling them to break down ideas into manageable chunks, set up schedules easily, and help teams stay on track with the project even when there are changes in the schedule. Roadmaps also help team members stay on the same page and reduce friction from miscommunications. These allow teams to collaborate easily by seeing each other’s status on the projects and making changes should delays and revisions occur anywhere in the timeline.
Jira can help teams stay on track with their projects and accomplish deadlines and handle any possible backlogs. A free plan that supports up to 10 users is available for smaller businesses and teams that first want to test whether the solution is suitable for them before spending on it. The free plan includes several of the same features available in the paid plans, with the main difference being the limited number of users per site and the unavailability of advanced automation, roadmaps, and dependency management that are only available in the Premium and Enterprise plans. Having a project scheduling solution like Jira gives businesses either a basic or advanced roadmap feature that allows people to see the progress of projects in real time and improve project scheduling.
Jira Standout Features & Integrations
Features include product management, project management, issue tracking, collaboration, customizable workflows, reporting & analytics, mobile support, permission & access management, time tracking, custom data fields, and third-party integrations/add-ons.
Integrations include Confluence, Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Bitbucket, GitHub, Salesforce, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.
Jira Pricing & Plans
A free plan is also available for up to 10 users. Pricing for Jira starts at $10/user/month with the Standard plan, which includes a 7-day free trial.
- Wide range of integrations with other tools
- Built-in tools for communication and collaboration
- Highly customizable for variety of projects and teams
- Limited functionality on free version
- Limited mobile app functionality
Forecast is a brilliantly simple combination of resource management and project management tool built on the foundation that successful projects require a combination of short and long term planning. It does not dictate how you work so you can mix Scrum, Kanban, and traditional Gantt scheduling.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) built into Forecast enables you to easily spot projects that are at risk of delay or veering off track. Build and share your own powerful dashboards, reports, and insights so you can put real-time information right at your team or clients’ fingertips. Effortless resource planning enables you to track utilization and capacity. In the upcoming work view, the connection between prioritization and scheduling easily lets team members focus on the most important tasks.
Forecast is currently used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agencies, consulting companies, and enterprises – has Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month (14-day free trial).
- Combines project management and resource scheduling
- Easy to add notes to specific tasks
- Schedule on high level as well as on task basis
- Allows both retainer and project based scheduling
- Intuitive design of scheduling tool
- Milestone data is lumped together rather than separated
- Designed for minimum of 10 employees
Microsoft Project is a project management software built over 35 years ago to help you keep track of all your work.
Why I picked Microsoft Project: It can be purchased with Office 365 (which many companies use) or as a stand-alone item. Microsoft Project has the honed functionality of an Excel file with scheduling-specific tools for project management pros. If you need project scheduling help, try their intuitive and robust Gantt chart generator to navigate product timelines.
Adapting to our current needs, MS Project is available in both cloud-based and on-premise flavors.
MS Project Standout Features & Integrations
Features include three types of views, coauthoring on project schedules, pre-built reports, interactive roadmaps, resource management, portfolio modelling, and communication using MS Teams.
Integrations include other Microsoft software, like Outlook, Excel, Skype, and more.
MS Project Plans & Pricing
There are three cloud-based plans and pricing starts at $10/user/month with a free 30-day trial.
- Easy integration with other Microsoft software
- Driver prioritization module for ranking strategies/objectives
- Helpful project template descriptions for guidance
- Can generate a Gantt chart from a spreadsheet
- Few customization options
- Steep learning curve
- Limitations on collaboration tools
Paymo is a project scheduling software for small and medium businesses to help creative and marketing teams own their entire project cycle. Besides planning and resource scheduling, Paymo is strong on task management, time tracking, and invoicing functionality.
Paymo allows you to define the critical path by taking lead and lag time into account for project planning. Resource scheduling-wise, you can view your entire team’s workload across several projects, thanks to the multiple views by user/project/ungrouped tasks. Instead of manually setting up bookings, Paymo creates them automatically (ghost bookings) based on your previously entered task details to cut the data entry process in half. The built-in leave planner can also be used to mark leave days directly from the scheduler and save your company precious time and money.
Paymo integrates natively with popular apps such as Slack, Google Suite, QuickBooks Online, Xero, JotForm, and Shift, to name a few. Other integrations are available through Zapier or by syncing with their fully-documented API.
Free for freelancers and teams of up to 10 users. Paid plans start at $9.95/user/month. Paymo comes with a 15-day free trial.
ProjectManager.com is a well-rounded, award-winning software used by some big names like including NASA, Volvo, Brookstone, and Ralph Lauren. This is a great solution, especially for managing multiple projects at once.
This tool delivers a ton of useful project planning and scheduling features: using this tool, you can create project plans (Gantt charts), manage tasks, create reports, and manage timesheets, expenses, and workloads. This project planning application also provides a useful feature that lets you easily switch between views—between gantt chart, task list, and Kanban board views. You can use the in-app communication features to comment on tasks and assign them to team members.
Their real-time reports are easy to use—get pre-set reports (project status, timesheets, expenses) in a single click, or set up your own custom reports. You can also use the real-time dashboard to get a glimpse of your current project stats. And you can use all of these features to schedule and report across multiple projects, as well.
ProjectManager.com integrations include native integrations with GoogleApps like Drive, Gmail, Calendar, etc. as well as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project. For 400 other integrations, you can use Zapier to connect with additional tools.
Pricing for ProjectManager.com starts at $15/user/month, with their basic “Personal” plan requiring a minimum of 5 users. They offer a 30 day free trial (a credit card is required to sign up for a free trial).
- Multilingual and very flexible
- Time and expense tracking
- Customizable schedule templates
- Excellent high level view of project
- Doesn’t output schedule files to .mpp
- No way to update partially complete tasks
- No mobile app
Hive is a project management and collaboration platform that powers companies like Starbucks, Uber, WeWork, and IBM. With AI-based analytics, thousands of integrations, flexible project views, and more, Hive streamlines your work in one centralized platform. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a diverse range of companies and work styles.
Hive’s time-tracking, analytics and flexible view capabilities allow for transparent understanding of other team-members work and upcoming projects, which can be tracked through action cards.
And much more than a project planner software, Hive’s AI and analytics component also leverages machine learning to provide interactive and customizable dashboards to gain insights on team productivity, and proactively spot risks or areas that need improvement.
Choose Hive if you’re in the market for a well-laid-out, comprehensive project scheduling and management tool that can be scaled up or down based on team needs.
- Scheduling with asset sharing (briefs, notes, comps)
- Flexible project scheduling layouts
- Forms feature for standard or weekly tasks
- Has infinite sub tasks
- Mobile app sometimes runs slow
- Inability to create dependent tasks within recurring project actions
- Lacking in tutorials and support
Need expert help selecting the right Project Scheduling Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Project Scheduling Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business's needs. Through our partnership, you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
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- Adobe Workfront
Best for robust feature set
Best for creative businesses and teams
Best project scheduling software for international enterprises
Best project scheduling software for beginners who want simple UI
Best project scheduling tool for organizations with large resource pools
- Auspicia AB
Best for automatic schedule generation based on your project data
Best project scheduling tool for small businesses
Best project scheduling tool for beginners
Best project scheduling software for usability and intuitive UX/UI
Best for DPMs looking for one tool to centralize their project scheduling.
7 Reasons Why You Should Use Project Scheduling Software
Especially if your organization is scaling. Here are a few key benefits of project scheduling software:
- Define the project workflow and keep the team focused on the right tasks.
- Identify and track your project’s critical path to leverage flex in the schedule.
- Waste less time rescheduling with priorities & dependencies that automatically adjust.
- Set project baselines to track your project plan against your execution.
- Free up time and energy by setting up the tool to provide automatic deadline reminders.
- Easily visualize, compare, spot holes, and adjust your resource availability.
- Generate reports on utilization, organizational demand, and capacity, and review trends to forecast future hiring needs.
There are many more benefits—and they will continue to grow in number as technology evolves, providing more opportunities for automating tasks and making smarter decisions.
Project Scheduling Software FAQ
What does project scheduling software do?
Scheduling software helps you plan not only your projects but also get a grip on what’s currently happening as the project unfolds. It also allows you to centralize all work-related activities such as planning, task allocation, resource management, and reporting.
In addition, project scheduling tools create transparency with stakeholders and team members who want to know what’s expected of them.
What is project scheduling in software project management?
Project scheduling in project management is part of project planning. It’s the process of defining a project’s phases, milestones, resources, and workflow. In addition, you plot these key components on a timeline that factors in the dependencies between the different parts.
Throughout the lifecycle of a software project, you refer to the project schedule to understand its critical path and track progress on deliverables and the project as a whole.
When there are changes, a well-made project schedule helps you to factor in the effects of any changes. This can be done through dependencies laid out initially, providing a visual tool to understand the relationship between different roles, tasks, and phases of a project.
Which tool is used for project scheduling?
The most common tool used for project scheduling is the Gantt chart. The reason is that this view gives a large amount of numerical and visual information in one glance.
A Gantt chart view is commonly arranged in 2 panels that live side-by-side. The left panel contains a table with detailed information on the tasks, due dates and dependency between tasks. The right panel contains bars along a timeline that visually represent task duration and show what happens when. Therefore, this right panel is useful to quickly understand the sequence of events that must happen for successful completion.
What features can I look for when selecting scheduling software?
Let’s review some of the features that we can find in project scheduling solutions.
- Budget planning: Fields or specific modules where you can keep track of the money and how it’s being spent.
- Task management: The software should offer various ways to manage project tasks. Likewise, it should have views that let you see these tasks in different ways, such as Gantt charts, calendar views, table views, and Kanban boards.
- Communication: A lot of PM software has some kind of communication tool built-in. These include team chat, messaging, integrations with email for automatic notifications, a live activity stream or notifications feed, and task comments.
- Resource management: When we schedule tasks, we also schedule resources. Therefore, the software should have a module where we can look at our team, allocation, workload, and some kind of project dashboard where we can track activity.
- Analytics & reporting: One of the main benefits of project scheduling software is its ability to easily provide loads of project data and compile it into reports. The best project planning software offers analytics and reporting features like configurable reports, real-time and interactive reporting features, automatic report generation, and advanced analytics that track time, resource utilization, costs, and other key project metrics.
What are some common project scheduling techniques?
Most project scheduling techniques make use of a Gantt chart or similar chart, and they include:
- The Critical Path Method (CPM): a mathematically-based technique where you create a schedule by using your scope to list tasks, their durations, and dependencies
- Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT or PERT Analysis): a technique similar to CPM. However, you calculate a weighted average duration for tasks based on your confidence level in their timing. These can be optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely duration.
- Fast tracking: a form of Duration Compression where you shorten a project schedule by overlapping tasks that can be done simultaneously
- Crashing: a form of Duration Compression where you get tasks done faster by adding more resources to the project timeline
- Simulation: modeling “what if” scenarios to forecast possible durations of a project
- Resource Leveling: adjusting a schedule so there’s as little over- or under-utilization of resources as possible
In reference to the last bullet point above, you can learn more about resource leveling, so you can get the most out of your project scheduling software.
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