Generic Project Schedule

I was recently asked by a project manager if I could provide a generic project schedule that included deliverable milestones, which could be contracted against. Those stages would also be used to measure completion and denote the likely invoicing stages. A project schedule is a fundamental document in a production cycle for any kind of development procedure.

The Breakdown

In my career as a PHP developer, I have been fortunate to have contracted for a number of clients who have extremely efficient Project Management teams. Efficiency within Project Management boils down to having a clearly defined project structure and sticking to set milestones.

From experience, the general outline for the successful delivery of a Technical project takes the form of the below steps:

  1. Intial Client Contact Meeting - Attended by the Sales Director and Technical Director to assess the requirements of the client.
  2. Create Specification - A specification document is created following internal consultation with senior members of key departments. This document includes timelines and estimates for the work involved.
  3. Specification Feedback - The specification document is delivered to the client for amends / approval. The client will then return the amended / approved document.
  4. Specification Sign Off - If changes to the specification document are required, these will be made and the document will be delivered back to the client (step 3). If no changes are required, and the project is approved to go ahead, the project specification is "signed off".

It is at this stage that a deposit is usually required. A deposit of 25% of the total build cost is commonly requested.

  1. Creative Production - If creative is required, then this is scheduled in (if not, skip to step 8).
  2. Creative Feedback - All creative is be delivered to the client for amends / approval. The client will then return the amended / approved creative.
  3. Creative Sign Off - If changes to the creative are required, these will be made and the creative will be delivered back to the client (step 5). If no changes are required, the creative is "signed off".

Sometimes the signing off of the creative marks another payment step, and is certainly the second distinct deliverable milestone for a project.

  1. Development - All development work can now begin.
  2. Staging Environment - The project is now completed and hosted on a staging server so that the client can access it. If required, amends are made based on client feedback.

The outstanding build cost is now due.

  1. Go Live - The project goes live (if hosted on own server) or all build files are released (if hosted on external server).
  2. Support - There is usually a grace period following Go Live whereby any immediate issues regarding deployment are dealt with. This period rarely covers anything beyond a week post-launch.

An acceptance and sign-off form is presented at the end of a project, prior to launch or final payment / invoice that states that once the project is completed and approved, any further additions, modifications, or training will be billed hourly.