I'm new to any kind of formal PM and structure, but have been tasked with coming up with schedules task lists for a 'mom and pop' construction business that mainly operates by contract (small project, < 30 days completion time). We are a small business with < 30 employees.
My issue is that priorities and project focuses are either ambiguous, uncertain, or shift from day to day. Nailing down anything with management/ownership is very difficult; project and task juggling is the norm, and nothing is on a schedule until the day of (which may change by 10AM, who knows?). We also have a lot of ambiguity coming from a construction methodology standpoint, new technology, and vendor uncertainty. The norm is "fly by the seat of your pants" and "this is what we are going to do until we're not". Like it or not, this is what I am dealing with.
My question is this: how best can I handle trying to schedule out projects (using a Gantt chart, I guess?) or any kind of project or resource management (I've got the PMBOK and some other books) when management/ownership shifts tasks from day to day or morning to afternoon, new priorities or focuses arise overnight, and projects can be killed or put on hold instantly? I know my situation can't be unique.
(My second question is more pointed: does MS project have anything in place for such a situation, besides manually refiguring tasks?)