Fix Your Project’s Scheduling Conflicts

Asset Management
by Guest Columnist

Every project comes with the risk of scheduling conflicts that will create troublesome, unforeseen complications. Read on to see what several project managers have to say about how they avoid these scheduling issues.

Moira Alexander writes, “The types of scheduling obstacles companies are likely to encounter can vary quite a bit, but there are some that may be more frequently encountered. For instance, Holly Hester-Reilly, founder of H2R Product Science says inaccurate expectations can often be at the root of scheduling difficulties and that ‘…leadership usually has an expectation of what the project will do and how long it will take. Often times, that expectation is wrong.’ She believes underestimating a project’s scale and complexity when trying to find a solution is of significant concern. Holly goes on to say ‘the biggest issue is when leaders think they have it all understood and aren’t ready to hear the ways in which the plan needs to change.’

“Sarah Meerschaert, a project manager at CenTrak, believes ‘it’s often difficult to estimate the duration of tasks and the amount of lead time required before a given task can start.’ She says sometimes team members may, in error kick-off their own tasks, even though there are conflicting scheduling dependencies. Sara also mentions, another factor that can impact schedules is personal optimism or pessimism: ‘An optimist may tell you a task will take three days, while a pessimist might tell you the same task will take three months.’

“At Rosh Metal Ltd, Alex Bar, HR and Operations Officer, says delays can be caused by anything, especially in the company’s welding work which is affected by weather. Based on his experience, the potential for risk increases when there are more people involved. Even sub-contractors being overcommitted on other projects can spill over into other projects and create scheduling conflicts and unpredictable results.

“When it comes to addressing expectations, Hester-Reilly says H2R Product Science focuses on regular communication with stakeholders about what’s known and unknown. She utilizes visuals to show the complexities in the problem and in the technology that her team builds. In the planning stage, Hester-Reilly walks her teams through a technique similar to agile planning poker, to improve work estimates. The goal is to help her teams identify various projects they’ve done and assign a value, then they look at the work planned and do a comparison.”

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