10 Project Scheduling Techniques for Project Managers

10 Project Scheduling Techniques for Project Managers

As most projects are intricate and include various moving parts, a project manager should always keep a tab of all the components. Having said that, juggling between various tasks isn’t easy. So, what can you do to juggle all responsibilities and components successfully? Project scheduling is the best way to align the schedule of the project and remain in the defined scope of the work considering the resources at hand. Your project schedule streamlines how these three, that is, project timelines, scope, and resource allocation, go hand in hand and lead to a successful outcome. To be able to do this, you can use any of the project scheduling techniques that help you with seamless execution and final project delivery. Additionally, leveraging a workforce scheduling software to do project scheduling and resource allocations works out as the best solution.

Project Scheduling: Definition

Project scheduling is typically the process of aligning various project tasks within a schedule. As many tasks may have dependencies between each other and may overlap, it's important to plan and schedule tasks in the most optimal sequence to complete them on time. By performing project scheduling, you can find the best way to complete and deliver a project that may enhance your efficiency while enabling you to adjust to changes that occur during the execution process.

Project Schedule: Components

Next, let’s look at the various components of a project schedule. Imagine if you get ready to cook a dish, but you don’t know about the ingredients that go into it. Isn’t it disastrous? Likewise, a project schedule must incorporate all the required components. Following are some of the vital elements:

1. List of all tasks: The detailed breakdown of tasks that need to be done.

2. Dependencies between tasks: The sequence in which tasks should be performed.

3. Time duration: The time needed to complete each task.

4. Resources: Determining who is assigned which task and what are they expected to do specifically.

5. Milestones: All the key phases or stages that mark substantial progress.

6. Timeline: When each task should be completed.

Importance of Project Scheduling Techniques

Importance of Project Scheduling Techniques

Project scheduling techniques are important to manage all of the problems and challenges that a project may face. Incorporating a project scheduling technique can offer transparency while keeping all the stakeholders on the same page.

Let’s understand some reasons you require project scheduling techniques:

  • Better time estimation: The right project scheduling technique provides you with a more precise start and end date for your project, which is critical as that leads into the next point.
  • Avoid missing the planned timelines: A precise time estimate greatly minimizes the chances of missing the scheduled timelines. Additionally, creating a project schedule offers proof to the team and stakeholders explaining why the project requires a certain amount of time to complete.
  • Optimal use of available resources: Using the best project scheduling technique also helps highlight the right way to deliver a final project on time, even if resources are lacking or with available resources. By scheduling everything properly, you can optimally utilize the resources at hand.
  • Incorporate probable roadblocks in the plan: A project schedule enables you to plan around any possible challenges and unknown variables you may have in your project. This helps in creating “if, then” scenarios and including them in the project schedule to help forecast the impact of various factors on your project’s completion.
  • Optimally utilize resources: Creating a project schedule can also help to find the resources that aren’t optimally utilized or are under-utilized. This further helps in planning to utilize them in the best possible manner.

Top Project Scheduling Techniques for Improved Efficiency in Project Management

Top Project Scheduling Techniques for Improved Efficiency in Project Management

Here are some project scheduling techniques for Improved efficiency in project management.

1. Critical Path Method (CPM)

The critical path method or CPM is mostly beneficial in the construction sector. It involves finding out the longest sequence of all the tasks that have dependencies within a project. Dependent tasks are the ones which should be completed so that the next task can be started. For instance, when you’re building a house, the roof cannot be started till the walls are made. But why do you need to find the longest sequence? That is because you should know the largest block of tasks that can be done only when another associated task has been completed. This is known as the critical path. Often, many other activities can be completed at different times, which are known as float tasks. To identify the critical path, you need to list all separate tasks to find the dependent tasks, and then create a project schedule with such tasks as your starting point.


  • A clear identification of task dependencies
  • The steps that should be completed first become obvious
  • Identification of floating tasks help provide some flexibility


  • Follows only a linear approach
  • Tough to determine the tasks that the team can start in parallel
  • Only little flexibility is incorporated for any delays

2. Gantt Chart

Another top project scheduling technique is creating a Gantt chart, a very useful tool that can be used along with tools such as PERT or CPM. This chart helps organize a project in a way that you receive real-time data on how the project is progressing. A Gantt chart consists of lines for particular tasks, blocks for various phases, and a resource plan. Additionally, a Gantt chart is quite accessible and can be easily created by leveraging a ready-to-use template in either an Excel format or Google Sheets. Project management tools such as eResource Scheduler also help to create Gantt charts for your projects ensuring seamless project and resource management.


  • Real-time status updates on project progress
  • One tool providing several free templates
  • Becomes your single source of truth for entire team to use as a reference


  • No alternative to alter the project timelines
  • Spreadsheet format becomes tough to use at times

3. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

If you want to assess the risks in a project, then PERT is the best project scheduling technique for you. PERT helps analyse the time duration that a project will take by considering the possible challenges and issues that may crop up as a risk to the project’s overall completion. This technique also keeps a tab on the time utilized on the project by calculating the optimistic time (O), the most likely time (M), and the pessimistic time (P).

O or optimistic time represents the quickest possible timeline for the project. M or the most likely time depicts an average time the project may actually take. Finally, P represents pessimistic time that keeps in mind all likely roadblocks or challenges and how the duration your project could take to complete in case all probable challenges actually do crop up. After calculating these metrics, use this formula: (O+4M+P)/6, to determine an approximate time that it will take for the project to complete while considering some buffers to manage the errors.


  • A mathematical strategy to plan for any project delays
  • These three outcomes can be shared with all the project shareholders for better transparency and manage expectations
  • P or pessimistic outcome helps create a revised timeline if there are delays


  • Not possible to identify all the delays to determine an accurate pessimistic timeline
  • May underestimate the impact of delays
  • Doesn’t offer a solution for averting the possible delays

4. Agile Scheduling

Imagine working on a project where dynamic changes happen, and your project schedule goes for a toss. This is where Agile Scheduling fits as the best project scheduling technique. Agile Scheduling includes breaking down all the key project tasks into smaller phases of work that incorporate regular reassessment and adjustment of plans. This technique welcomes any new changes and involves flexibility in meeting the ever-evolving requirements.


  • Provides adaptability and flexibility to altering project requirements
  • Fosters regular communication and feedback, encouraging collaboration


  • Requires high involvement and steadfastness from the entire project team
  • May not be the best technique for projects that need a clear, detailed plan to be established in advance.
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5. Simulation

Simulation scheduling is another top project scheduling technique that’s best to implement if there are unknown variables in the project that could affect the completion dates. In this technique, you need to make certain assumptions about the required resources, and determine a timeline depending on those assumptions. For instance, if you have a new business and you’re working on your first project, then you may not be aware of how many developers or programmers you would require for the project. In such a scenario, you can specify simulations for the project duration and completion time with maybe two, four, or six developers.


  • Offers the adaptability to create detailed timelines even if all the details are not available
  • Enables anticipating unknown variables
  • Provides explanation for adding or removing any resources from a specific project to adjust the timeline


  • Not possible to account for all the unknown variables
  • Doesn’t always explain how a variable may affect the project

6. Kanban

Another project scheduling technique associated with the Agile methodology is Kanban, which is a visual delight for project managers and other stakeholders. Kanban is a pictorial workflow management technique that allows teams to easily visualize work and optimally plan the flow of tasks. This technique typically uses a digital board with multiple columns depicting stages of work and different cards representing various tasks. Project teams can easily find the status of various tasks and projects and look for bottlenecks or possible challenges by transferring cards from one column to the other. Kanban helps to efficiently manage and enhance the workflow and is particularly beneficial for creating project schedules for distributed and remote teams.


  • Offers a visual depiction of the workflow, which makes tracking project progress and identifying the possible bottlenecks easy
  • Can be easily modified and updated in real-time as the project progresses


  • Needs rigour and commitment to maintain the board regularly
  • May not be the right choice for complex projects that has multiple tasks and milestones

7. Duration compression

This project scheduling technique is the best if you want to complete your projects faster. You can choose either of the two methods, that is, fast tracking or crashing. Fast tracking is a technique of finding overlapping tasks that can be performed simultaneously. For instance, if your critical path method recognised that the backend team has to provide the code first and only then the front-end development can start, then fast tracking is the best. This way, you can find that the interface design can begin without expecting the backend team to complete their tasks. Whereas Crashing in project management is yet another top project scheduling technique for duration compression that includes adding more resources to a specific project or task so that it can be done faster. One example of doing so is to hire more developers as freelancers or contractors in the short-term.


  • A practical approach to reach the project timeline faster
  • Easy to implement for Agile teams


  • Crashing may include adding extra project cost
  • Using a lot of fast tracking can result in double work

8. Resource Leveling

This project scheduling technique is the best for managing resources. Resource leveling involves efficiently utilizing resources in a way that avoids over- or under-utilizing them. In other words, this technique ensures that the right resources are available for all the tasks and at the right time. Even or balanced distribution of work in the team ensures avoiding burn-out or frustration in team members where they may be overloaded with assignments one week and have no work to do in the next.



  • May lead to a stretched project timeline
  • Requires a thorough understanding of resource capabilities, competencies, and task requirements

9. Scrum

One of the most popular and used Agile project scheduling techniques, Scrum makes use of fixed-length iterations that are termed as “Sprints.” By the end of an individual sprint, you need to reevaluate and plan properly for the next one, while accommodating any changes or updates. This approach relies on meetings at a regular basis known as Scrums. Feedback is given at each stage to adjust the project’s path, as needed. This is a highly collaborative approach that fosters team ownership and open communication.


  • Improves team collaboration and encourages open communication
  • Enables quick adjustments and updates to the project’s direction depending on feedback and amendments


  • Requires a very devoted and self-managed team
  • Not best suited for projects that need a detailed, long-term plan

10. Time Blocking/Boxing

Time blocking is also known as time boxing and is one of the simplest and highly effective project scheduling techniques. It includes scheduling particular time slots for various tasks or project activities in advance. It can be compared with setting an appointment and keeping aside some specific time to focus and complete a particular task without having any distractions.
A powerful tool to enhance productivity, time blocking makes sure that all the key tasks are assigned the required time so that they can be performed effectively.


  • Fosters focus and reduces interruptions and distractions
  • Enables better control over tasks and your time


  • May be challenging to precise calculate the time required to complete each task
  • Unforeseen challenges or events may disrupt the schedule or plan


Though no one approach can be called a perfect project scheduling technique, you can determine the pros and cons of each come and analyse what suits your current project and situation. If you’re seeking to align schedules and resources, it’s best to develop expertise in all of these techniques. That way, you can adopt any that is suitable for your specific requirements of various projects. There are also ways to leverage some of these techniques together, but some cannot be clubbed together.

Implementing workforce scheduling software is important to ensure using the most effective project scheduling techniques successfully. Such a tool helps you to:

  • Create a project schedule quickly as per the data you input
  • Easily identify the best resources and assign them with just a drag-and-drop
  • Find how your resource plan impacts utilization using heat maps and charts
  • Quickly think of and analyse various scenarios to derive the best outcomes

Leverage the Right Project Scheduling Technique with eResource Scheduler – a Top-Rated Workflow Scheduling Software

If you’re seeking a strategy to take your workflow scheduling and management to the next level, look no further. Implementing the award-winning workflow scheduling software, eResource Scheduler is the best choice. It acts as your online, centralized repository maintaining all organization’s project and employee data while consolidating important business-related information on a single platform. This makes it easy for anyone working in a remote or distributed team to access any data at any time and from any device or location. The tool offers clear visibility on all ongoing projects and employees at a business level and highlights any possible roadblocks or conflicting priorities. Use this resource management software to gain insight on resource planning, scheduling, capacity and workload management, time-tracking, productivity management, and a lot more. Try this multi-user tool with a free trial and find out the benefits yourself.

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CEO & Founder
Rudraksh Vyas
Rudraksh Vyas, an accomplished CEO at ENBRAUN since 2011, has a proven track record in leading and growing technology-driven businesses. His expertise lies in product development, client management, and implementing effective business strategies, ensuring robust financial and resource management. Prior to his current role, Rudraksh honed his skills in business development, where he excelled in account management and export marketing. He holds a PMP certification from the Project Management Institute and an MBA in International Business from the University of Technology Sydney. Rudraksh's journey reflects a deep commitment to excellence and innovation in the tech industry, making him a respected leader and visionary in his field.

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