QicGuide Series: Job Scheduling
Workforce scheduling is an integral component of job management. It is a great way to visually communicate to the team what works are to be carried out and when.
The job schedule is also the first thing managers grab when things start to go pear shaped, as it helps them to make informed decisions about project time, cost and performance.
So how do I make an awesome schedule? Well lets first dive deeper into what schedules are and why they are so important.
Schedules allow users to methodologically work through what Tasks and Milestones are required to complete the job, the order of precedents and which tasks are dependent upon others. This path is then shown visually as a Network. (A network consists of nodes (boxes) for tasks and arrows (lines) that show dependency and the general project flow.)
Planning your job this way is an efficient way to highlight what resource are required, their load capacity and availability. It also allows the team to fully understand task time frames and sequences and in turn determine their Job costs, budgets and cashflows.
Schedules provide Task start and finish times, as well as highlight which tasks can be delayed or compressed to make up time. It identifies which Tasks are critical path and therefore priority. And instead of picking a project finish date out of a hat, or working towards someone’s preferred end date, schedules provide a calculated estimate of project duration.
Most importantly having a schedule minimalises project surprises.
Let’s face it - we all know that plans seldom materialise as expected, so schedules must be designed to handle constant shifting. Using scheduling software is a time efficient way to implement and measure these changes.
Once the network has been configured and linked, scheduling software makes it is easy to amend Task durations on the fly, recalculate project needs and have the output communicated and understood by the whole team immediately. For many industries it is imperative that they have a dynamic scheduling tool that can effortlessly handle frequent changes in workloads and job durations.
Directly linking your Job management and Job Planner interfaces to your schedule is another great time saving feature of QicWorks. Any changes within one of these key areas, automatically updates the other two. This is great if you add or edit tasks, or update task percentage completion within the schedules, as these changes will automatically appear within your Job, as well as the Job Planner.
QicWorks also has inbuilt functionality to auto schedule, allowing it to quickly adapt to constant change and automatically recalculate Task and Job durations and critical path.
We utilise Gantt chart formatting to offer a simple visual representation of the Job. This scheduling tool allows users to easily take a big problem (the job) and break it down into bite size pieces (the Tasks.) Electronic Gantt charts can then roll tasks and Jobs up or expand as required, filter, sort and order events.
QicWorks Scheduling tool utilised the latest in drag and drop technologies, has inbuilt smarts to determine critical paths, as well as offering the full flexibility of automated SMS, email and push notifications to send based on the specific highlighted events identified within the schedule. Check out our sample video here.
QicWorks also offer full integration with MS Projects so your external stakeholders can be kept up to date.
Now that we know why schedules are so important, lets look at some basic rules that will help you to create your very own awesome schedule.
1. Networks typically flow from left to right
2. An activity cannot begin until a connected predecessor has been completed
3. Arrows indicate predecessors and flow, but they can cross over each other
4. Each activity has a unique identification number.
5. An activity identification must be larger than the number of the activity(s) that it precedes
6. Looping is not allowed (in other words, recycling through a set of activities is a no no)
7. Conditional statements are not allowed (ie you cannot say if this happens, then do this)
8. Each project or job must have a defined start and end date
9. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Have a look at your existing WBS structure. You never know, perhaps your WBS already defines your schedule tasks.
Just remember, schedules are used to help sequence, schedule and monitor job progress. They are a graphical representation that shows the flow and sequence of tasks to be completed before a project can end. They can also be used to predict workload and in turn manage resource requirements, as needed, to complete the job.
If you would like to know more about the importance of schedules or how to create your very own, please feel free to reach out to the QicWorks team at firstname.lastname@example.org
QicWorks is a business management solution that has been designed to manage complex rate structures, across multiple entities and worksites, all from the one account. QicWorks provides accurate real time field data giving you the confidence to make the right decisions. Contact us today to see how QicWorks can transform how you do business.
The information contained within this blog is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own situation and legislative requirements before making any decisions