Planning + Design

Why You Need a Timeline and How to Use It

What’s the point of having a timeline, it’s going to take as long as it takes, right? While it’s true that timelines don’t guarantee that a project will go as planned they are still very useful. There are two basic functions of a timeline: planning and tracking.

What’s the point of having a timeline, it’s going to take as long as it takes, right?  While it’s true that timelines don’t guarantee that a project will go as planned they are still very useful.  There are two basic functions of a timeline: planning and tracking.


Planning

Knowing when things are expected to happen on your project allows you to plan accordingly.  From simple things like knowing when the power or water will be turned off for a period of time, to scheduling particularly disruptive project phases to coincide with getting out of town, having a roadmap for your project in the form of a timeline eliminates some of the surprises and gives you some control over the project.


Tracking

When a project takes longer than expected, that total time overrun is the accumulation of all the small delays that happen along the way.  If you aren’t aware of these delays as they happen you can be surprised, and you might miss opportunities to get things back on track.  The timeline also tells you critical dates, such as when you have to make Finishes selections, delivery dates for materials, etc.  Keeping track of these things is easy with the Timeline feature, and will shave precious time off of your project.


Visiting your Beam proposal regularly throughout your project is the best way to stay on top of things, as your dashboard will tell you all of the upcoming deadlines, and give you advice on how to stay on track.  Setting calendar alerts that coincide with critical dates and milestone targets on your Beam calendar is also a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Two key features of the timeline are allowance deadlines and milestones.


Allowance Deadlines

Allowance deadlines tell you when you need to make decisions by, and when you need to have items you are responsible for providing to the contractor.  In some cases this means providing decisions to the contractor, in other cases it means ordering things in time for them to be delivered when they are needed.


Milestones

Milestones are checkpoints that you set that tell you when you have reached a critical point in the project.  They can be things like inspections, (either scheduling or passing), completion of a phase (framing, rough plumbing, demolition, etc.), or a certain period of time (i.e. monthly or weekly).  It can be hard to tell on a day to day basis if you are staying on schedule, milestones give you a big picture view of what it’s going to take to finish your project on time.