Common Project Scheduling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Project scheduling is a critical aspect of project management that ensures the timely completion of projects while staying within the allocated budget. However, project scheduling can be challenging and complex, and if not done correctly, it can have a significant impact on the success of a project. In this blog post, we will discuss common project scheduling mistakes and how to avoid them.

Importance of Avoiding Project Scheduling Mistakes

Avoiding common project scheduling mistakes is crucial in ensuring the success of a project. These mistakes can lead to delays, conflicts, and increased costs, and can even result in project failure. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Mistake #1: Poor Communication

Poor communication is a common mistake in project scheduling that can lead to delays and confusion. This mistake can occur when stakeholders are not aware of the project’s goals or timelines, or when they are not included in the scheduling process.

To avoid poor communication, it’s important to establish clear channels of communication among all stakeholders and involve them in the scheduling process. Regular meetings, updates, and progress reports can help in improving communication and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Mistake #2: Overlooking Resource Constraints

Resource constraints refer to the availability of personnel, equipment, and materials required for a project. Overlooking resource constraints can lead to overbooking or underbooking of resources, which can cause delays and increased costs.

To avoid overlooking resource constraints, you can use resource allocation software that allows you to track the availability of resources in real-time. Creating a detailed resource plan that outlines the required resources for each task can also help in ensuring that the right resources are available at the right time.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Risks

Ignoring risks is a common mistake in project scheduling that can impact project timelines. Risks can include unforeseen delays, weather conditions, or resource constraints, among others. Ignoring these risks can result in delays, increased costs, and even project failure.

To avoid ignoring risks, it’s important to conduct a risk assessment and create a contingency plan that outlines potential risks and how to mitigate their impact on the project schedule. This can help in identifying potential risks and preparing for them in advance.

Mistake #4: Inaccurate Time Estimates

Inaccurate time estimates refer to the estimation of the time required to complete a project or a task. This mistake can lead to delays and increased costs, as the project may take longer than expected.

To avoid inaccurate time estimates, you can involve subject matter experts in the scheduling process and create a detailed work breakdown structure that outlines the time required for each task. This can help in creating a more accurate project schedule and ensuring that the project is completed on time.

Mistake #5: Failure to Prioritize Tasks

Failure to prioritize tasks can lead to delays and conflicts in the project schedule. This mistake can occur when tasks are not identified or prioritized correctly, leading to conflicts in the project timeline.

To avoid failure to prioritize tasks, you can use the critical path method that helps in identifying the most critical tasks that need to be completed within the given timeline. Establishing a clear project hierarchy that outlines the order in which tasks need to be completed can also help in ensuring that the project is completed on time.


Project scheduling mistakes can have a significant impact on the success of a project. Poor communication, overlooking resource constraints, ignoring risks, inaccurate time estimates, and failure to prioritize tasks are some of the common mistakes that can be avoided. By following the best practices discussed in this blog post, you can create an effective project schedule.

Our Project Controls professionals are available for a free 30-minute consultation to discuss how project controls can benefit your business or projects, or to review and improve your existing processes. Don’t hesitate to book your call today.

About MicAyla Inc.

MicAyla Inc. offers customized project controls services for construction companies and projects in various sectors. With over 150 years of combined experience, we use the latest in technology and best practices to provide highquality solutions that prioritize safety, sustainability, and accuracy.

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Caroline Alabi

With over 27 years of experience, including 15 years as a Project Controls Professional, Caroline has a proven track record of developing and implementing cost controls in capital programs and projects, with a focus on the oil and gas industry. Her expertise is particularly extensive in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and the downstream sector. She is the creator of the Estimate to Complete/Estimate at Completion workbook, which enables the accurate forecasting of project performance upon completion. Caroline has been recognized for her exceptional performance, receiving both the Core Innovative Award and Outstanding Employee Performance award. Additionally, she provides valuable mentorship to the Cost Control team.

 Career Highlights:

  • Project Cost Controller at BASF, responsibilities included overseeing the cost control process for several major capital projects during both the detailed engineering and construction phases. She was responsible for preparing and maintaining accurate project cost forecasts and providing detailed variance explanations for root cause analysis. This involves preparing Work Breakdown Structures, Cashflow reports, and creating project cost reports.
  • Lead Cost Engineer at BP-Husky, responsible for overseeing project cost forecasts, Work Breakdown Structures, benchmarking, Cashflow reports, Management of Change tracking, finance, procurement and supply chain management interface, and project reporting for projects totaling over half a billion dollars. The projects she managed include the Crude Processing Metallurgical Upgrade, which safely enables increased capacity of Hi-TAN crude, feed optimization for the Desalters, and the installation of a new FCC Naphtha Post Treater at the BP-Husky Refining LLC (BPH) Toledo Refinery to meet US EPA Tier 3 gasoline regulations.
  • Lead Cost Engineer at BP GOM Thunderhorse Offshore Water Injection (Worley Parsons): A BP brown field project on water injection efficiencies on the Thunder horse platform. Where she was responsible for EPC cost reporting and forecasting, management of project change control, WIP /VOWD, internal financial reporting to Worley Parsons.
  • Project Controls Lead at BP Thunder Horse & BP Atlantis (FMC Technologies Inc) :FMC managed BP projects in the GOM for subsea production system; Scope included subsea trees, manifolds, pressure cap, and completions services to BP.

Tom O'brien

Thomas has over 34 years of experience in project management, project service, and controls across a range of sectors, including oil and gas, infrastructure, buildings, power, petrochemical, and commercial construction industries. He possesses hands-on expertise in all phases of EPC work, from FEED through execution and closeout, and has extensive experience in contract administration, scope development, and execution. His work includes both onshore and offshore projects, as well as upstream and downstream operations. His technical proficiency is complemented by field construction experience.

SME in Planning and Scheduling, Project Controls, Risk Analysis and Claim Mitigation. Experience writing and auditing Project Execution Plans (PEPs) and Procedures. Expert use of industry software including Primavera P6 and MS Project. PMI Cost Management REP.

Career Highlights:

Project Services/Controls /Manager on the following Oil & Gas major projects:

  • Jazan ASU Project – Largest (6) Train Air Separation Units in the world. Jazan, KSA
  • BP Plant Wide Modernization Project included (4) new units (Crude, Coker, Hydrotreater, SRU) ($10.2B). Whiting, IN
  • Pipeline Crude Oil “C” Sunoco Oil (4) Simultaneous New LSG Units ($2.1B). USA
  • (3) Simultaneous New Ultra-Low Diesel units ($900M). USA
  • Regen Head Replacement & New COB Boiler, Marcus Hook PA
  • Offshore Platform and Undersea pipelines replacement, Bahama Oil Co

Schedule Risk, Cost Risk, and Claims Management assignments include:

  • Defend claims for various clients in the Middle East.
  • Defended Claims and Deposed as Expert witness on FPL Co-gen, Marcus Hook PA ($750M).
  • Authored claim for a contractor for $3.6M, settled for $3.1M,
  • Successfully Defended $20M delay claim on behalf of the owner on New Gas Oil Hydro Treater Unit ($1.2B). (Negotiated $20M claim to $6.2M),
  • Successfully Defended schedule delay claim on behalf of the owner on Mining & Metal: Phase 2 & 3 New Tunnel and Aluminium Smelter ($14 B) Terms Confidential.