Thursday, 3 February 2022

Prevent loss of control over the project

Delays and changes are part of any project. But do we like them? Of course not. Do we need to deal with them? Of course it is necessary. Setting deadlines and scheduling are good ways to keep a project on track.

When setting a deadline, you should always rely on analysis, not blind predictions. You also need to take into account a certain amount of time for unforeseen circumstances. It must follow a logical sequence. For example, you cannot complete step C to steps A and B. Your deadlines should also be realistic. As you determine your deadlines, there are various methods that can help you reduce the time it takes to deliver results. Supporting experienced team members, creative ideas from front line employees, researching projects that have failed, gathering ideas from trade associations, and discussing options with market experts are all ways to shorten deadlines.

When determining the timing, you should also determine the critical path. The critical path is the direction in which the dates of those checkpoints that cannot be changed pass, that is, these are stable dates. If you do not meet these deadlines, then the whole project will inevitably be late. Critical path dates use a large number of resources. Given the critical path, ask yourself the following questions:

What deadlines can't be missed?

What terms threaten with a "fine" if they are not met?
What timelines are sustainable and must be achieved in order for the project to move forward?
Often your time estimate will be incorrect. This happens for the following reasons:

No one did any calculations. No one was studying how long it would take to complete the project.

Time was calculated, dreaming on one project, not several. Often, work is carried out on more than one project. Without taking into account the number of projects, you can allocate resources while they are not available.

The time was shortened due to the manager's desire to create a stressful situation. In many cases, there is an unscrupulous leader in the projects. These people don't care about the team members, and they will do everything the way they want, even though others suffer from it and others suffer.

You should also set checkpoints along your critical path. Checkpoints are a group of tasks whose completion means significant progress in the project. There are audit dates to monitor major achievements. Date data is some kind of guide, so you can make sure that the project is on the right track.

When a project undergoes changes, you should have a plan of action to work with them. You need to create a process to allow the changes to be implemented and notify the entire team about it. Write down these changes, their new standard, and those who initiated them. Fill in the appropriate forms to justify your new changes.

If you do not follow the appropriate procedures for working with changes, then you will encounter a scale change on the way. Changing the scope of the project consists of changes that have not been approved by the project sponsor. These changes are not disclosed or motivated by the project team. They are about achieving the goals of the project team member, not the goals specified by the people in charge. Often, the reason for the zoom change is that the team member thinks they are aware of the needs of the project sponsor.

It may happen that you will have delays that you cannot avoid. In this case, there are ways to get the project back on track.

Organization of an urgent meeting.

During this meeting, you need to determine how to initiate your project as quickly as possible. Determine whether there is a need to increase the number of team members, whether it is worth getting rid of unnecessary employees, or whether it is better to start a project before all the necessary employees and resources are collected. Since you need to complete a project that satisfies the sponsor, you should be mindful of their expectations and needs.

Identify the minimum part of the project that can be achieved.

If you know that you will not be able to complete the project completely, then you should establish its critical aspects. Prioritize the key elements and start with them - complete these elements and, if time allows you, return to those areas that you wanted to reduce. Remember that you need to get the approval of the project sponsor before you can continue.

Communicate the need to speed up the project.

Sometimes a simple message about the need to urgently speed up the project will be enough for the team. If everyone tightens the belts and works harder, more results will be achieved. At the same time, by learning from you about the importance of speeding up a project, your team members can suggest various ways to get things done faster and more efficiently.

If your project was started too late, then the team will be under a lot of stress. All extra time will be wasted instantly. The complexity of decision-making will increase, but all decisions must be 100% correct. You won't have the right to make a mistake, and in the meantime, the need for team members to make urgent decisions will only increase the chance of such errors occurring.

You understand that meeting deadlines is very important. If you find a change of scale and addition to the project of sections that were not in the original plan and were not approved by the sponsor, then this means that you will spend extra money, time and effort.

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