Twelve Tips for Realistic Scheduling

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Whether you're managing a software development project, or coordinating your children's soccer and dance lessons, schedules are helpful tools for orchestrating a sequence of events. Most schedules involve a start and end-date, and include tasks, task duration, and dependencies between tasks. But no matter how well you plan for a series of events, unexpected events will compete for time and threaten deadlines. People you hadn't anticipated will step into your plans, and begin to influence, control, and often complicate things. When we do not handle unexpected events and the interpersonal elements well, our schedules fall apart. Good scheduling is very difficult, a combination of art and science. In this article, I will discuss realistic scheduling, which seeks to cover all the above types of events--the planned, the possible, and the unimagined. There are some techniques that can help you keep your sanity, which go beyond the notes, checklists, milestones dates, and appointment books.

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