Easy Scheduling presents you with a complete set of "real world" scheduling tools that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of small to medium-sized construction businesses like yours. Step by step, it shows you how to use Microsoft Project to build a schedule that will synchronize everyone's efforts into an organized system that becomes the foundation of all planning and communication for all your jobs.
You'll see how to establish realistic project goals ... how to set checkpoints, activities, relationships and time estimates for each task ... how to establish priorities ... how to create a project flowchart ... and how best to communicate the schedule to keep everyone focused and on track. And that's just the beginning! You'll see how to use CSI (Construction Specification Institute) coding to organize and sort tasks, methods and materials across multiple projects as well as improving coordination with subcontractors and suppliers.
Easy Scheduling shows you how to enter all your project information into Microsoft Project, and generate detailed project plans that cover all of your time and materials requirements, as well as a critical path timeline and a full blown Gantt chart. The time and money-saving benefits of effective scheduling in construction are too compelling to ignore. You create greater accountability for individual responsibilities. You control your workload. You limit liability. You control deliveries. You manage time and resources. And most importantly, you control your profits. If you want an easy way to get started, Easy Scheduling is the answer for you. (Does not include Microsoft Project.)
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Table of Contents
Why you need this book, 7
Using scheduling tools, 7
What you can expect from this book, 8
About the authors, 9
Chapter One, Scheduling for profits, 11
Scheduling for profits, 12
Benefits of scheduling, 13
Thinking like a scheduler, 14
Managing projects, 16
Communicating project requirements, 17
Using scheduling tools, 18
Using CSI codes, 19
Using custom coding, 20
Using templates, 21
Understanding projects, 22
Understanding Microsoft-Project, 23
Putting this book to work, 24
Getting additional help, 25
Chapter Two, Microsoft-Project for Scheduling, 27
Microsoft Project for Scheduling, 28
Interfacing with a project, 29-41
Creating a project, 42
Setting project options, 44-54
Starting a project, 55-58
Entering tasks, 59-63
Identifying resources, 64-66
Customizing and formatting, 67
Tracking progress, 68
Reporting on projects, 70
Chapter Three, Other Scheduling Systems, 71
Using other scheduling systems, 72
Selecting scheduling software, 72
Virtual Boss, 72-76
Opting for integrated software, 79-85
Considering other scheduling options, 86
Chapter Four, Using Project Templates, 89
Using project templates, 90
Working with the project calendar, 90
Understanding tables and views, 91
Understanding task relationships, 93
Understanding lead time and lag time, 94
Understanding constraints, 95
Opening a project template, 97
Entering project information, 98
Entering file properties, 99
Saving a project, 100-101
Changing the project calendar, 102
Changing the default calendar, 103
Adjusting the timescale, 104
Master entry table, 105-106
Setting a milestone, 107
Marking a task as a milestone, 108
Customizing your task list, 109
Estimating task durations, 110
Creating task links, relationships, lag and lead time, 111
Setting task constraints, 112
Creating a resource pool, 112
Sharing resources, 114
Entering resources, 115
Assigning resources, 116
Establishing a schedule of values, 117
Updating a schedule of values, 117
Applying a filter, 119
Creating or modifying a filter, 120
Applying a sort, 122
Working with the critical path, 123
Entering Notes, 125
Saving the baseline, 126
Up-dating the schedule, 127
Inserting a project, 129
Using the organizer, 130
Chapter Five, Pre-Construction Scheduling, 133
Pre-construction scheduling, 134-139
Scheduling checklist, 140
Chapter Six, Organizing Schedules, 141
Opening a project template, 142
Entering project information, 143
Entering file properties, 144
Saving the project file, 146
Customize the task list, 147
Define master entry table, 148
Enter Resources, 149-153
Enter Costs, 153
Using a schedule of values, 154
Cash flow, 154
Using filters, 155
Using Notes, 156
Viewing the schedule, 157
Using the timescale, 158
Chapter Seven, Planning Schedules, 161
Estimate task durations, 162
Set milestones, 162
Create task links, 164
Enter task constraints, 165
Viewing and changing task constraints, 165
Use lead time and lag time, 166
Evaluate the schedule, 166
Adjust the project duration, 167
Work with the critical path, 167
Assign resources, 169
Communicating the plan, 170
Establishing a schedule of values, 171
Save the baseline, 172
Chapter Eight, Controlling Schedules, 175
Updating the schedule, 176
Review the baseline, 178
Communicating project information, 179
E-mail distribution, 180
Physical distribution, 180
Working with the team, 181
Up-dating the schedule, 182
Project reporting, 184
Monthly cash flow, 185
Weekly cash flow, 185
Chapter Nine, Consolidating Schedules, 187
Consolidating schedules, 188
Establish the consolidated project layout, 189
Inserting Projects, 190
Using shared resources, 194
Using the power of filters, 196
Using views, 198
Using fields, 198
Up-dating the consolidated project, 198
Reporting on multiple projects, 199
Chapter Ten, Advanced Scheduling, 201
Consolidated projects, 202
Text settings, 204
Customized fields, 206-211
Outline codes, 212-217
Text fields, 217
Task filters, 221
Resource filters, 222
Summary view, 225
Cascading view, 226
Project calendar, 231
Option settings, 231
Schedule update form, 232
CSI Master Format and Resource Templates, 233
Appendix A, CSI Master Format - Level 1, 233
Appendix B - Level 2,234-236
Appendix C - Level 3, 237-249
Appendix D - Level 4, 250-279
Appendix E, Residential Master, 280-288
Appendix F, Residential General, 289-293
Appendix G, Residential Summary, 294
Appendix H, Construction Scheduling Forms, 295-311
Why You Need This Book
You have enough to do, managing a small to medium sized construction or remodeling company. During a typical day you talk with clients and subs, meet with your leader or crew, discuss projects with lenders and inspectors, follow up on material orders, interview prospects, and keep checking the weather forecast to make sure Thursday's foundation pour will be on schedule. You may also be the lead framer or painter with projects to complete before the sun goes down. So why in the world would you ever want to spend your valuable time and money learning about scheduling?
Because you want to make your business more profitable and easier to run.
That's the bottom line.
And that's why you need this book. You probably already have some type of scheduling system in place: a calendar, project files, the back of a piece of scrap paper. But you know that things are falling through the cracks and that you would have more time and higher profits if you could just keep ahead of the scheduling. The problem is: How do you schedule time to learn about better scheduling?
Read this book!
Your business requires accurate scheduling to increase profits and avoid waste. By investing as little as half an hour per day in learning and applying proven project scheduling skills, you can expand your day's productivity by an hour or more. That's a 100% return on your investment!
To do so, you need a practical get-it-done system that's easy to learn. If you are comfortable using computers, consider the many options available to contractors for computerized scheduling. If you don't want to depend on computers, there are many proven choices for manual scheduling that will make your job easier and more profitable. If you're not into computers but want to consider them for your business tool belt, you'll discover your options in this book.
The problem, again, is that you may not have the time to even consider learning a new task. Fortunately, the fact that you bought this book means you realize the need to learn scheduling. (If not, Chapter I includes many specific bottom-line benefits.) So this book is written in a conversational style that will make the pill easier to swallow. You'll discover how real-world contractors just like yourself have used proven scheduling tools to make their efforts more profitable. You'll get easy-to-apply specifics that you can take to work with you tomorrow.
Using Scheduling Tools
Computers have dramatically changed the way that business is transacted today. By using a computer you can manage your banking, pay bills, correspond with lenders and suppliers, and even pay your taxes. Of course, you also can use computers to schedule your construction and remodeling projects more efficiently. You can even use integrated contractor software that handles bidding, estimating, contracts, ordering, and scheduling from a single program.
Do you need a computer to manage your business? No, not really. Many successful contracting firms over the years have made their profits without using computers. But they did use the best tools available to them.
The most popular scheduling software is Microsoft Project. This book focuses on this common business tool and how to put it to work for you. In addition, you'll learn about scheduling templates that you can put to work immediately to save many hours of input. You'll also learn about alternatives to MS Project that are more cost-effective and may be better suited to your contracting business. And you'll see how to schedule smaller jobs more efficiently using manual systems.
Chapter 1 offers an introduction to the benefits and requirements of scheduling systems including, how to schedule for profits. Chapter 2 introduces you to the most popular scheduling program, Microsoft Project, and Chapter 3 offers other computer scheduling options. Chapter 4 shows you how to set up your own Project templates and how to use the ConstructionScheduling.com templates.
Chapters 5-9 take you step-by-step through pre-construction scheduling, organizing, planning, controlling, and consolidating schedules using Microsoft Project. Chapter 10 puts you ahead of your competition with advanced scheduling techniques.
There are eight information-filled appendices that you can reference as you develop your scheduling system. Four of them offer the four levels of the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) coding, the standard for construction planning, specifications, and scheduling. The next three appendices cover three levels of residential scheduling templates: master, general, and summary. For those who prefer manual scheduling, reprintable scheduling and related forms are provided in Appendix H. Finally, Appendix I documents the programs, templates, demos, and forms.
What You Can Expect From This Book
This book doesn't promote one type of scheduling over another. It gives you the basic information you need to decide for yourself which tools work best for your small to medium-sized construction or remodeling business, then shows you how to use them effectively.
In addition, this book offers real-world models that are specific to the small contractor trade. You'll get examples that you can use, whether you are a small builder, a remodeler, a trade sub, or all of the above.
Flip through the pages of this book and you will see that it is filled with illustrations. There are numerous clear examples of forms and schedules used by small contractors every day. In fact, there are numerous appendices with scheduling forms that you can use right now.
The purpose of this book is to make your life easier, by helping you develop new skills that can give you an advantage over your competition, add more profit to your bottom line, and even give you some extra time to enjoy . Your investment will be well rewarded.
About the Authors
Dan Ramsey is a licensed general building and home improvement contractor as well as the author of 20 books for contractors and consumers. Dan's titles include Builder's Guide to Foundations and Floor Framing and Builder's Guide to Barriers (McGraw-Hill) as well as The Complete Idiot's Guide to Building Your Own Home (Alpha Books, two editions) and Electrical Contractor: Start and Run a Money-Making Business (McGraw-Hill). Dan is also a former president of the National Association of Home and Workshop Writers.
The Microsoft Project scheduling methods and templates in this book were developed by Stephen Matzen, co-author of this book. All procedures, formatting and scheduling techniques will work with the scheduling templates offered on Stephen's website www.ConstructionScheduling.com. Portions of this book were first published in Quick Schedule Guide by Stephen C. Matzen.
A Construction Scheduling Resource Handbook
By Dan Ramsey and Stephen Matzen
TIME IS MONEY!
Increase profits and avoid waste by investing as little as half an hour per day in learning and applying proven project scheduling skills as shown in this edition of Easy Scheduling. Expand your day's productivity by an hour or more -That's a 100% return on your investment!
This book focuses on the Microsoft Project business scheduling tool and how to put it to work for you. In addition, you'll learn about scheduling templates that you can put to work immediately to save many hours of input. You'll also learn about cost-effective alternatives to MS Project that may be better suited to your contracting business. Inside you will find trade shortcuts and tools such as:
Easy Scheduling provides you with the information you need to decide which tools work best for your small to medium-sized construction or remodeling business -then shows you how to use them effectively by putting you ahead of your competition with advanced scheduling techniques.
About the Authors
Dan Ramsey is a licensed general building and home improvement contractor as well as the author of 20 books for contractors and consumers. His titles include Builder's Guide to Foundations and Floor Framing and Builder's Guide to Barriers (McGraw-Hill) as well as The Complete Idiot's Guide to Building Your Own Home (Alpha Books, two editions) and Electrical Contractor: Start and Run a Money-Making Business (MccGraw-Hill). He is also a former president of the National Association of Home and Workshop Writers.
The Microsoft Project scheduling methods and templates in this book were developed by Stephen Matzen, co-author. All procedures, formatting and scheduling techniques will work with the scheduling templates offered on Stephen's website www.ConstructionScheduling.com. Portions of this book were first published in Quick Schedule Guide by Stephen C. Matzen.