Task Schedule or Matrix

You will need to refer to your skills chart (discussed in Chapter 9), in which you will see the various skills of each team member, to establish a schedule for your personnel or team members. This task schedule, also known as a resource assignment matrix, will indicate who should be doing what and where they should be in the process. When setting up this matrix, defining the relationship between individuals is as important as the relationship of individuals to their tasks.

Review the task matrix with team members to make sure they know when they are expected to do their assigned tasks. Make sure everyone is available during the times they are needed. If there are limits to their availability (part-time employees, your children helping you after school, volunteers giving their time one day a week), make sure you schedule accordingly. Obviously, a task that takes six hours a day cannot be performed efficiently by one person who is only available for three hours a day. However, if you've budgeted for six hours daily on that task and it needs to be done in x amount of time, you can solve the problem easily by hiring two people to do the task.

Do you have a communications plan? If you don't, you should. The plan indicates how you will communicate important information to your team and others, including milestones, changes in the plan, and the overall progress of the project.

In business, community, and other projects, you will run up against team members' vacation schedules. Make sure you ask before the project if anyone will be away during any part of the project. Schedule their task(s) accordingly. If they need be around for the entire project, then they either have to reschedule their vacation or you need to find someone else as either a replacement or a fill-in while they are away. It's often difficult to fill in for a short time when someone is away from a project. It's best to have someone available for the duration. Remember, the project comes first.

One word of caution: It's tough enough managing a project; the last thing you need to do is create a task list or a schedule that is so complex it will occupy your day just checking off what is being done. If you're spending all of your time walking around checking off a lengthy list of tasks, you'll have no time to look at the overall progress being made on the project or address problems or conflicts that arise. Don't overload yourself with data-entry duties.

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