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Learning how to create a project timeline may require some time and energy upfront, but it will pay off in any career. Making a plan that yields the desired results gives you an advantage and saves you time in the end.
Write a brief description of the project at the top of the page. Label this section "Project Description." Ask your supervisor or colleagues for clarification if you do not have a clear understanding of the project.
List all key players. Who needs to be involved or made aware of the progress of the project? Include names, titles and brief descriptions of what you think their roles should be in the project. Label this section "Roles and Responsibilities."
Record the date you will start the project. Label this section "Start Date."
Determine the due date for the project. Write it at the bottom of the page and label the section "Due Date."
Determine the midpoint between the start date and the due date. Record this date in the middle of the page and label the section "Midway Point."
Record the actions required to get to the midpoint. Who should be involved? What resources will you need? How much time will each step take? Describe each step in one to two sentences. Be sure that the steps you define fit into the timeframe you have between the start and the midpoint of the project.
Record the remaining actions required to complete the project. Describe these steps in the remaining section of the timeline between the midpoint and the projected end of the project.
Review your timeline. Assess whether the time you have allotted for each step is reasonable and adjust where necessary.
Make the due date three to five days earlier than the project is actually due. Building in this extra time gives you some room for last-minute changes or potential setbacks.
Add an extra day to each step of the process if possible. This allows your timeline to be flexible if one step takes more time than anticipated.
Make the timeline detailed but simple. The more complex it is, the more difficult it will be to change if revisions are necessary later.
Share the timeline with the people defined under "Roles and Responsibilities." You need to know if a key player will be unavailable or unable to fulfill his or her assigned task.
Don't be disappointed if things don't flow exactly as you have laid them out in the timeline. Many factors can alter the implementation of a project. Adding the extra time to each step gives you some time to regroup when necessary.