All projects should get completed on-time, but it’s very easy for time to get away from you. Anything other than on-time completion reflects poorly on everyone involved with the project. Getting a big project finished on-time might mean a promotion. The weight of the project rests on shoulders of you and the other workers’ tasked with the project. Even if you are the owner of a large business, the start of an important project causes feelings of dread, hope and wonder. It’s like the moments before a fight and time is your adversary. Keeping projects on track from beginning to end starts with excellent planning.
1. Create a realistic project plan
Every project finished on-time had a realistic project plan behind it. It’s the base for everything that goes right and wrong with a project. Managers can see if the project is behind or ahead of schedule just by looking at it. It should clearly lay out who is doing what and when. It’s very easily to underestimate the time needed to complete a project. Every minute spent preparing pays in on-time completion. Nearly every strategy to a complete a project relies on a realistic plan.
2. Delegate work
Delegate the work. Keep the number of people apart of the project reasonable. Every additional person tasked with part of the project makes it harder to keep the project on track. Choose the best employee for each task, but be careful not to overload one employee. An overloaded employee will struggle to complete the tasks assigned him and burn out. The employee may start to resent other employees and the task master.
3. Sit down with each person
Before the project begins, sit down with each person involved in the project and discuss their responsibilities. Encourage them to ask questions and answer them before the project begins. Let them know their task master has an open door policy. This prevents them from stewing with a question or problem that their manager can solve faster.
4. Use the right tools
This might mean using technology, like Excel or Access to compile information instead of the old fashioned method. It might mean that employing technology the project leader isn’t quite comfortable about using. That’s why delegation is necessary and each task given to the right person.
5. Track progress
Monitor the progress of the project closely. Weekly or even daily meetings, lasting just long enough to get an update on the project, is just one way to keep a close eye on the parts of the project in the hands of your underlings.
6. Schedule time for interruptions
Incorporate time for things to haywire. When a contractor renovates a house, he leaves a percentage of his budget as a just-in-case contingency. In time management, time is money, so leave extra room for delays in your planning. This will allow time for you to handle any major issue that arise. It will also give time for a little stress relieving hijinks’s about your jokester employees.
The completion of a project is rejuvenating rush, draining feeling of relief and dizzying sense of accomplishment. You finished. That deserves a pat on the back. What strategies do you use to ensure that every project finished on time?