How to create a great workback schedule

A clear workback schedule is essential for a smooth running project. It will help map out all the tasks that are required to finish a project, as well as assign a person and due date to each task.

Why is this so important? Because it helps everyone involved know what they need to do and when they need to do it.

Don’t know what a workback schedule looks like? Here’s a sample we found after a quick search online.

Here are some tips for creating the best-possible workback schedule for your next project.

Organize by date

  • Review all deliverables and talk to (or email or phone) your team to estimate how long each deliverable will take to complete
  • Communicate with your client (internal or external) to find out their review process (e.g., compliance, sales, etc.)
  • Try to coordinate deliverables that can be delivered on the same date if they can be completed at the same time
  • Schedule delivery dates on the same days each week to maintain a regular work flow

Colour code

  • Colour code each deliverable due by a specific team/member
  • Choose a universal colour that will be used to highlight due dates so that they stand out
  • Create a legend with the colours used in the workback

Global statutory holidays and employee holidays

  • Review and take into account statutory holidays in the countries that will be involved with/impacted by the project
  • Factor in employee holidays to ensure deliverables won’t be impacted by these holidays
  • If employees are going to take holidays while the project is occurring, get a list of individuals who will be responsible for moving their part of the project forward during those dates

Key columns

The columns you choose to include in a workback schedule are at your own discretion, but remember to always include these three columns:

  • Milestones
  • Delivery dates
  • Responsibilities

Final signoff

  • After putting in the hard work to complete your workback schedule, it’s important that you have all relevant parties review it and modify as needed to ensure their buy-in
  • Once everyone has settled on deliverables and dates, it’s very important you receive final signoff on the workback schedule

There you have it – all the important factors to consider when creating a clear and effective workback schedule.

If you have project management questions, contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or