Your project schedule is one of the most critical pieces of a sound project and creating a standard template structure will provide a consistency through all your PMO projects. There are two main directions you can take when structuring a project schedule. The first is by functional role and the second by product deliverable. My preference is by deliverable as it keeps the focus on the end result. Below I'll explain the differences and why I choose one over the other. Schedule by Function
A schedule by function is grouped by functional roles. Examples of functional role would be Project Manager, Tester, Architect, Developer and so on. The advantage of this structure is that it keeps all the activities for each role together. To help you better understand the structure, I drew it in an organizational (WBS) format below:
Schedule by Deliverable
The second structure is by deliverable and my personal preference. This is where you group activities by your deliverables. The advantage of this is that you group all the activities needed to complete a deliverable. Another advantage is that you have more flexibility in the type of development life cycle you use (Iterative versus waterfall). And lastly, you keep everything focused on what it is you are delivering for the customer. To help you better understand the structure, I drew it in an organizational (WBS) format below:
In a deliverable structure, you have 3 key components critical to a sound schedule. The components are deliverable, activities, and milestone. Deliverable is the end product (or part of) that you deliver for the project. Activities are the actions taken to produce the deliverable. Milestone is the moment you achieve your deliverable and is normally a single date.
Example of a Deliverable Structure:
1.0 Deliverable: Car Suspension
1.1 Create requirements for suspension
1.2 Create suspension design to meet requirements
1.3 Build your design
1.4 Test your design
1.5. Milestone: Car Suspension Created
If you keep this simple structure, and repeat it for each deliverable, you will have a great project schedule in no time. The last thing would be to define your starting activities (before you deliverables) and closing activities (after your deliverables) and you are all set.