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Project schedule, quality and risks – a brief guide 

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When managing any type of project, you must create and follow schedules, confirm that the quality of the final deliverable meets expectations and assess and plan for potential risks to ensure a good outcome. Here, we provide a brief guide to these three vital elements of a project for those starting out in project management. 

Setting out a project schedule 

The schedule for your project should take into account the estimated time you expect each task to take and key milestones that need to be met to keep the project on track. For simple projects, a Gantt chart – a clear visual representation of the schedule for your project – is a useful tool that can help you to create a sequence for the completion of the necessary work. You can also make use of project management software, such as Asana or, which provides online scheduling tools to enable further collaboration. These also include tools like Kanban boards and features that automatically notify team members via email whenever there is a comment on or update to a task, such as a change to the schedule.

Your initial project schedule should provide an overview of how long the whole project is going to take before you break down each individual task in detail.


The work breakdown structure 

The first stage in creating a project schedule is to create a work breakdown structure (WBS). This will allow you an overview of all of the necessary work for the project. Once you have this, you can assign timeframes to each piece of work and create the full schedule. 

The WBS allows you to display the work for the project as a hierarchy. When it comes to actually planning the project schedule, however, a precedence diagram can be more useful to the project manager. The precedence diagram takes the information from the WBS and presents it in a logical order that flows from the beginning of the project through to the end. This method gives a greater understanding of the dependencies that are involved and makes it easier to estimate the time that is needed to complete each task within the context of the overall timeline. 

Project quality 

The quality of your project is the cornerstone that governs the standards your project is measured against. There are several different elements that make up quality. A project manager needs to understand how quality is measured on each individual project and how to make sure the team that works on a project, together with the materials used, can be shown to be of a good quality that will meet stakeholder expectations. 

There are four key elements involved in project quality: 

Quality management: the overall approach to quality. This includes planning, assurance and control and the coordination of these to provide an effective quality management strategy. 

Quality planning: this is where you discuss how you will make sure the quality standards for products are set internally. 

Quality assurance: this focuses on those processes that are involved in assuring quality within a project. Quality assurance includes, for example, staff training at all levels. It demonstrates that a company is in a good position to create quality products.

Quality control: this focuses on ensuring that the deliverable created by the project is of the appropriate quality. This includes inspection, measurement and/or testing in order to confirm those quality standards. It demonstrates that everything has been done to make sure the deliverable meets the required specifications. 

Setting out these requirements for quality helps the project manager to understand the standards that they are aiming for with the final deliverable and ensures a robust quality management process.

What is project risk? 

Risks are events that might happen which will have an impact on your project objectives. They might never happen, but they have the potential to occur, and it’s important to think of this in terms of both the positive and negative impacts it can have on your team, your stakeholders and the project itself.

The risk management process 

In order to manage the risks to your project, you must have a risk management process in place. It’s also essential to understand the difference between risk management and issue management. While risks and issues are interconnected, they are distinct concepts. Risks refer to potential events that may arise in the future, whereas issues are problems or challenges that have already emerged and require immediate attention or action.

The risk management process includes the following steps: 

Identify: identify the risks by consulting with the members of your project team to brainstorm or list any potential threats to the project. 

Analyse: determine the probability and impact of the risks you have identified, giving them a value or a weight to determine their impact. You can use a probability/impact grid to plot this.

Plan a response: consider what approach you need to mitigate or prevent each risk you have identified. This will mean fewer delays in your project if the risk occurs, as you will already have a plan in place for how to respond. 

Closure: this is the point that you reach where a particular risk can no longer occur – it might be at a particular point in the project schedule or at the end of the project. Risks that cannot be closed must be flagged as such for the operations team. 

Managing your risks effectively will enable you to respond better to them should one occur and demonstrates good project management. Project managers need to be prepared to deal with things going wrong, and having a risk management plan in place will help that.


This information will help you to get simple projects off to a good start – more in-depth strategies and processes are required when dealing with complex projects. A well-planned schedule, quality plan and risk management process will provide a strong foundation for your project and ensure a level of planning and control that will feed into other areas of the project.   


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