Scheduling a project – what elements should you include?


The project plan is an essential first step that any project manager needs to take. They do so in order to set out everything that will need to be undertaken in order to reach all the goals of the project. It is important that when scheduling a project the plan is as detailed as possible in order to help the project run as smoothly as possible.

Knowing what you should include in your project plan will help you to make it as clear as possible.

Leads and lags

These are concepts that are used as part of the schedule development process. This includes the identification of all activities, sequencing of these activities based on the dependency, estimating the duration of each task and then finalising the schedule. Leads and lags are used as part of the sequencing process of the activities. Once they are sequenced, all activities will help to create a network diagram. What exactly are leads and lags?


A lead is the amount of time that any successor task can be accelerated by. A lead can only be applied to a finish-to-start relationship that is in the position of being between two different activities.


Lag is the specific amount of time for waiting between two different tasks. This is the amount of time that the next task will be delayed by. It is possible to use lag in all of the four relationships that occur within scheduling. These are Finish-to-start, start-to-start, finish-to-finish and start-to-finish.

Both of these are concepts that are important in terms of the information that they contain for the scheduling team. They are used for the best identification of the dependencies, and any other constraints that they are associated with. Lead is used at the start of a task for acceleration purposes (fast track) in order to reduce the timeline of a project. Lag, on the other hand, is used to ensure that the required wait time or idle following a task is given appropriate provision.

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Critical Path

Another thing that you should take into consideration when creating the schedule for your project is the critical path. This is a chain of tasks that are linked and directly affect the finish date of the project. If any task that has been placed on the critical path is running late, then this will have the effect of making the whole project late. Each critical path contains a number of tasks that control the start date or the finish date for the project.

The other element that you will need to consider for your project schedule is links. This refers to the ways in which you can look at linking a range of different tasks together. When you link a couple of tasks, or even projects, together, you can make the work that needs to be done a much easier task to undertake.

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