How to Ensure a Project Stays on Schedule
May 16th, 2017 in Project Management
One of the main goals of project management is to ensure that the project stays and finishes on schedule. Time, money, and energy are all at stake if a project goes over its intended timeline. How, exactly, do you ensure that a project stays on schedule? It’s all about planning. Here are five steps to ensuring that the project stays on track.
1. Determine the Project’s Scope and Objectives
First and foremost, a well-planned project has to have a clearly outlined scope and well-defined objectives. What are the end goals and what are you expecting to achieve by the end of the project? Once the scope and objectives are determined, communicate them to the team. It’s important that every team member is on the same page before the start of the project.
2. Coordinate and Communicate
Once the project begins, figure out the communication channels that work for your team. Are you working remotely or in-person? Outline a communications management plan and organize how you will share important project documents, assets, and files. For easy team collaboration and file sharing, consider using an online, virtual workspace for both remote and in-office communications. Be available for meetings, whether through audio or video calls or in-person. Listen to the concerns and questions of your team members. Everyone should be clear on what is expected of them and when their part is due.
3. Reserve Time for Unexpected Issues
Unexpected issues are a reality for any project. Allocate a little extra time, such as an hour or two each week, for any unplanned problems. Make sure there are buffer zones between your deadlines and those of your team members. For example, if you have to present a video component of a project at 4pm, make sure that it is completely finished and approved an hour or two before the presentation. If something happens to the video file, you will have time to fix it before your presentation. This way, there is some room to maneuver and still be able to finish the project on time.
4. Break Down the Project into Smaller Tasks
After all the planning and brainstorming, a project, at the start, looks like a daunting task. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, break down the project into smaller tasks to be completed on a daily and/or weekly basis. Give each task a due date and assign them to team members. Every task that is completed is one step closer to reaching the final goal. Completing daily and weekly tasks will also help promote a sense of accomplishment within your team members and boost team morale.
5. Review the Project’s Progress Frequently
Review the project’s progress daily. It’s the best way to make necessary adjustments. If you have broken down the projects into daily tasks, then review the progress of those tasks. Make sure they are being completed before their individual deadlines. If the tasks are delayed, talk to the team member responsible for them and figure out why. Make the appropriate adjustments to ensure that the tasks are completed on time. The review process will help you stay on top of the project.