One Bite at a Time: Creating a Phase-Based Schedule

There’s an age-old question that asks: How do you eat an elephant? The answer: one bite at a time. Granted, you might not plan on eating any elephants any time soon, but this same adage can be applied to your business. When facing a big task, you focus on one step at a time, until those many smaller steps or tasks turn into big outcomes.

This is a critical part of any type of project management. Projects can vary in terms of scale and complexity, but with every project, you start by taking it one step at a time.

However, this doesn’t negate the fact that large-scale projects with multiple phases can be difficult to track and plan. To streamline the process, phase-based scheduling can be invaluable to the experience. Here’s what this looks like in action:

Breaking Complex Projects into Bite-Sized Pieces

Complex projects are best modeled as a series of discreet tasks that all support the final completion of the project. For example, any capital project from building a house to developing an oil field will require multiple steps carried out by different specialties.

Because of the level of detail involved in multi-phase projects, successfully managing these projects require PMs to break the project down into multiple, manageable phases.

Each phase should have a single goal, such as building a drilling location or installing plumbing in a house. This serves a few purposes:

For starters, each phase typically requires special materials and skills in order to complete. Also, some phases need to be completed in a linear fashion. Once a phase’s objectives are met, it’s easier to see which phase needs to be completed next.

When broken down into logical phases, oversight of each phase can be assigned to a team member best suited to manage these tasks.

Each Phase Supports the Others

Keep in mind that each phase is not independent of the others, but rather supports and affects the others. Some phases of a project can stand alone and do not require any interaction with other phases. But more often, there is a specific sequence of events that determines when a phase can occur.

For example, you must have the location built before you can drill the well.

Likewise, some tasks are independent, but cannot occur at the same time, such as installing countertops and the kitchen floor.

Last but not least, some tasks can occur simultaneously, but need to finish at the same time before another phase can begin.

The end result is always the same: the phases are designed to work together toward a common goal.

How ForeSource Supports Phase-Based Scheduling

ForeSource was designed to handle complex projects. Our platform has a flexible hierarchy, allowing you to model your project as granular as needed.

Using a parent/child relationship between tasks, you can break your project into smaller phases, and those phases can be broken down into smaller phases, drilling down as many layers as needed for your project.

You can also create dependencies between phases of your project based on dates or the beginnings and endings of other phases.

See ForeSource in action and discover how we’re helping streamline project management!