Advice on Project Schedule Issue

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Hello Everyone!  It’s been awhile since I’ve contributed to the community, but it’s on my list of New Years resolutions to be more involved.


Right now I’m on a project that’s in jeopardy, it’s “Do or Die” for my team of eLearning Rockstars. We’ve been on this contract since October 2010 and long story short - it’s been a nightmare.  However, I have hope that we can end this thing on a good note.


Problem: Right now we are on the hook for delivering roughly 14 lessons by the end of March.  Our team of 3 ISDs, 2 GDers, and 1 flash guru are fully capable of pulling this off (btw we are using Articulate and custom flash for everything).  Our schedule is set and we are sprinting.  However, right now our schedule is sliding right because our SMEs and client reviews are taking longer than what is on the schedule. 

The schedule slippage is not the team's fault; however we are taking heat from the leadership anyways.  Yes it’s not our fault, but that really doesn’t matter because in the end, the consultant is the one that is ultimately responsible. 

So our PM has all 14 of these lessons in an overwhelming MS project schedule.  As a result, the only schedule everyone sees is just a list of due dates that is constantly changing.  We need to show a project schedule for 14 lessons that indicates critical dependencies so we can CYA on the SME and client issues, however the only two options our PM knows is an overwhelming MS project schedule OR a list of due dates that doesn’t tell the whole story.


I’m just curious as to how all of you show schedules for your elearning projects.  We need to show critical dependencies, but MS Project is too much and a list of Excel due dates is not enough.  We need an alternative solution.  Does anyone have any advice regarding this issue?  Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.


2 Replies
Dave Neuweiler

I use what I call a "floating schedule" in my proposals.

The idea is to make a table with the first column being a list of project milestones. The second column lists the responsible party for each milestone (whether it be mne as the contractor, a stakeholder or an SME). The third column is to show the turnaround time for each meilestone. Two business days, 5 business days, whatever seems reasonable for the tasks involved in hitting a given milestone. It's at this point where it's importnat to be proactive with the client, and ASK whether the turnaround times for their deliverables are reasonable. If not, ASK what is reasonable, and put that in the table. The next column represents the due dates based upon all responsible parties hitting their turnaround times for each milestone.

You can add yet another column for actual dates when milestones are hit.

The thing that's useful to me about this method is that it easily illustrates where shedule slippage occurs. It also sets the expectation that meeting a project deadline is not the sole responsibility of the contractor (which is where you appear to be now).

I hope this helps, and if you'd like to see a sample, send me a PM with your e-mail address.

Best Regards,


Judith Norton


This isn't a reply but a request for how to avoid endless client edits. We are towards the end of a project that we estimated would take 100 hours to complete. We currently have 184 hours and 446 emails (they are counted in the hours listed) and now we have received more edits. How do you protect yourself with this type of activity?