The question is very general-based. What is meant by a Timeline? I suppose its the Project Schedule we are talking about here. Based on this assumption a project can have a meaningful development Schedule(as part of the Master Plan), a Monthly Schedule for the whole project or for 1 to 3 months, or a Weekly Plan with micro planned activities for daily execution. What is the Timeline or Schedule thats going to help us complete the project? I suppose this is what is important here & we should keep asking ourselves that.
To execute a project we need to have an overall meaningful development chart that tells you which are the major milestones to be achieved in the project or phase of the project. From here each meaningful development event can be worked backward to arrive at the no. of months needed to reach there(either from project start to 1st meaningful development or between 2 milestones). This can be the monthly plan of x months duration to reach the first/next meaningful development. Can you execute the project with this?
Well yes we can. But to execute & monitor a project closely, a monthly schedule may be at a bigger extent or extent & there is every possibility of the project team losing track. A Monthly Schedule broken down to Weekly schedules or plans with micro activities which are planned for 6 days, offers visibility & can be controlled. It could be a two-week plan too depending on the project.
This way the project can be closely observed as we have now reduced it to daily activities, anticipating impediments & preparing for them, learning daily lessons, implementing corrective/preventive action daily(wherever possible) and so on. By using a Daily To-Do list(the last broken down Project Schedule) where activities for the day are listed out by each Trade(for eg. in construction they could be MEP, HVAC, Superstructure, Substructure, or whoever is currently on the job), we can get commitments from them for their work for the day. Any activity not completed is qualified with the remarks on why it was not completed and lessons learned from that. That activity is included in the next day’s List.
The To-Do lists are the units of project monitoring and control and they are also used as communication tools for disseminating information to stakeholders, especially to Management, for quick decisions to take the project forward. Management also gets to know the weekly planned vs. achieved output in addition as the various reasons for non-completion of activities as a preventive measure going forward.