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1. It helps to establish and maintain expectations between team members, stakeholders and customers. This should help to reduce the volume of the “Are we there yet?” requests from those outside of the project team.
2. It helps functional managers achieve some measure of predictability around resource allocation. In organizations where staff work concurrently on projects and operations, it can be very challenging for functional managers to plan for the peaks and troughs of day-to-day activities. Improved visibility into the demand from projects can at least remove one variable from this complex equation. It can also help functional managers keep project managers honest by confirming when team members are expected to be released from projects.
3. It should help the customer and project sponsor sleep better at night! If the customer or sponsor are relying on the project manager telling them everything is on track without a method of objectively assessing that, they are likely in for an unpleasant surprise.
4. It can provide protection to the project team if the sponsor or customer requests a change that cannot be accommodated without unnatural behaviors.
5. It helps to pull everyone’s (that includes the project manager!) head up from getting too focused on the most immediate critical milestone, and helps to remind them that the current battle is just one campaign of a much bigger war.
Project schedules are detailed directions for traveling to a faraway land. In their absence, if the extent of one’s geographic knowledge is limited to what you can see or the places one has visited (and remembers!), it can become challenging to visit new destinations in a predictable fashion.
Running a project of even moderate complexity without a schedule is similar to navigating with those maps of old that indicated “Here be dragons”!
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