Plot the schedule visually - Deepstash
Plot the schedule visually

Plot the schedule visually

You've created a project dependency and need to communicate the project timeline to the client visually.

To create a project timeline, plot all the tasks with their respective deadlines. It will convey an overview of the project, communicate clarity, highlight important milestones and track progress. Keep the descriptions short, use icons and colour code elements.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How to create a project timeline to manage client expectations

Managing client expectations

An essential skill in freelancing is expectation management. Clients want things done quickly.

Yet, you can't do everything at once and is obliged to manage client expectations from the start. You need to put them in writing and clearly communicate them to your client.

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It can be frustrating to find that you miss critical information midway through a project, leading to delays. This can be avoided by considering project dependencies in the planning stage. Dependencies are when you require specific tasks to be done in order to complete your task or project.

The five types of dependencies are:

  • Logical
  • External
  • Resource
  • Preferential
  • Cross-team

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When you win a huge freelance project, don't rush to commit to a deadline. Instead, pause and evaluate the project properly.

Break the project down into smaller tasks. It helps to see large tasks as more doable. It also creates a clear view of the workflow and project requirements.

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Once you've laid out all the tasks that need to be done to complete the project, consider each task as a project milestone, including the time required for each. If you've been given a hard deadline, work backwards and assign a specific timeline for every task.

Creating project milestones get everyone on the same page and simplify the tracking progress. It also helps you justify deadlines to the client.

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A project timeline is important for internal use. it is also vital to share with the client before you start work to get their input.

In a meeting, present your timeline, discuss priorities, manage expectations and ensure alignment.

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The planning fallacy

The planning fallacy is the likelihood to underestimate the time it will take to finish a future task despite knowing that similar projects have taken longer in the past. For example, writers underestimate how long it will take to complete a novel; product managers miscalculate how long a new feature will take to build.

Studies show that we underestimate how long it will take even when we know we're likely to underestimate timelines.

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The Planning Fallacy

The Planning Fallacy is a prediction error that one repeatedly makes, misestimating the time it takes to complete a certain task.

This usually happens when trying to complete an unpleasant or stressful task, leading to postponement, procrastination and eventually missed deadlines.

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The more time we are given to complete a task, the longer we will take to do it. 

This is similar to Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” 

We often procrastinate if we do not set deadlines, especially if the expectations of difficulty and importance are unclear.

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