Schedule constraints

Yesterday I have been blogging about my recent scuba diving trip on a boat through the Northern part of the Red Sea.

Diving equipment on board of the Emperor Infinity
Diving equipment on board of the Emperor Infinity

One thing I became aware of during this trip was how difficult it must have been for our captain and the dive guides to come up and manage the daily schedule for all of us on the boat, to support timely meals, breaks and dives. There are so many constraints to consider and deal with day by day, like:

  • fixed time slots for the meals ( you don’t want to wait for breakfast until 01:00 pm ),
  • sufficient breaks between dives, also depending on the depth of the last dive
  • sufficient breaks after a meal,
  • selection of the next dive site, depending on weather, currents ( depending itself on low/high tide schedule ), utilization of dive site by other boats and available anchor place, this itself having an impact on the duration of a dive, whether for instance we have to use zodiacs  (inflatable boats) or not
  • driving times to the next dive site
  • time slot for getting to the next dive site, preferred not during times when meals are served or during the night, when people want to sleep,
  • time needed to refill all diving cylinders
Emperor Infinity reached its final parking position at Ras Mohammed National Park
Emperor Infinity reached its final parking position at Ras Mohammed National Park

This in fact required some solid planing day by day, consideration of all the wishes by group members, options, risks and safety considerations and constraints, and a good communication between captain and dive guides.

Having a check list of all the constraints available when coming up with a schedule for a project and ensuring all of those are considered before the schedule is finalized and communicated to all stakeholder, customer and team member, is an essential to-do for project manager ! How easy can it happen that you publish a schedule and then you realize for example: Damn ! I forgot to ask my team members about their vacation plans !

What are the typical constraints for a project schedule ? Here are those I can think of right away  – what would you add to this list ?

  • Working hours
  • Vacation plans
  • Limited availability of people and other resources ( like e.g. someone working only half a day, or never working on a Friday )
  • Holidays
  • Dilvery lags for ordered items
  • Time slots for software deploys  ( or freeze periods )
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