The crime of management is not being late or overrun; it is not knowing. According to Merriam-Webster, to manage is “to handle or direct with a degree of skill: as a: to make and keep compliant”. Thus, to manage, one has to have a plan, i.e., something to which one can attempt to keep things compliant.
Most projects of any substance warrant a legitimate schedule that is appropriately resourced. Nowadays, most teams use Microsoft Project® as their planning tool. There are other tools around; Primavera® is notable for its more thorough tools for dealing with shared resources in a multi-project environment, but, as with other areas, Microsoft has evolved sufficient functionality into Project® that it drove most historical but higher-price providers out of the market.
This chapter assumes some familiarity with the terminology of formal planning tools. However, we will digress for a while to establish some of the basic concepts for those that have so far avoided this practice. The most useful view of a schedule is called a tracking Gantt.