continue reading hover preload topbar hover preload widget hover preload

Getting on Track with Project Management Templates

June 18 2007

Project Management Templates

Have you ever had a project go over budget or schedule, as part of project management?

Most Project Managers encounter budget overruns or project delays at some point in their career. What can you do when you’ve stretched your schedule, exceeded your budget and you have your Project Director breathing down your back to finish your project, like, yesterday?

To help you out, we’ve described in this newsletter…

How to get Projects back-on-track.

Whether you project’s suffering from cost overruns or delays, it’s likely that it’s because:

  1. The initial schedule was a little too optimistic
  2. The project was under-resourced from the outset
  3. There was insufficient funding allocated to the project
  4. The customer has changed the scope during the project
  5. New risks and issues are impacted on the project.

So what do you do if your project has experienced these problems and it’s starting to “veer off the track” ? We suggest that you take one or more of the following steps:

Option 1: Re-schedule

At the start of the project you will have agreed to deliver the project within a fixed schedule. If this schedule is no longer achievable, then you’re best to raise it with your customer as soon as possible and get them to agree to a new delivery schedule which is more achievable.

Do this by creating a new forecast in your Project Management Templates Project Plan and then once you gain approval, “baseline” your plan so that the new delivery schedule is fixed. You will only want to reschedule once during the project life cycle, otherwise you’ll be sending an implicit message to your team that late delivery is acceptable.

Option 2: Gear up

If you have sufficient budget in your financial plan but insufficient resources, then you need to apply more people, equipment or materials to complete the tasks laid out in your Project Plan. You can seek additional resource from; within your business, external recruitment, hiring contractors or appointing suppliers as required.

But what if you’re under-resourced and you don’t have the funding available to appoint more resource? Then, you only have 2 options: a) Find the money, or b) Improve the efficiency of your staff. In most cases, you’ll need to improve the efficiency of your staff, so that they can complete more tasks with the timeframe and budget available.

Option 3: Find the money

“Anything can be done with money”. So the first step is to present a project management templates Business Case to your Sponsor for additional funds for the completion of the project. But in most cases, the funds aren’t available and the original budget that was set is fixed in concrete. So in this case, you need to find money from the existing budget. You will need to carefully analyze your existing budget and your expenditure to date and identify efficiencies.

As with most projects, a large percentage of the cost is spent on people. You may need to reduce your administration staff, negotiate new rates for the supply of services or impose penalties in suppliers for overspending or late delivery. In most projects, you can save 10-15% of the cost of the project (especially is a little contingency was added at the start) by cutting back on staff costs, giving you the cashflow you need to deliver within budget.

Option 4: Reset the scope

During the life of a project, it’s easy to forget what the exact scope of the project was originally, as defined in the Terms of Reference. So inevitably the customers wants and needs change and the scope of the project widens, until affect the budget and schedule are affected.

If this happens, you have two choices—revert back to the original scope or agree to a new scope. The best option is usually to revert back to the original scope, as by doing that you will immediately relieve any pressure on your schedule and budget. But if you choose to set a new scope, then make sure it’s properly documented and formally approved with your customer.

One quick tip is that if your scope widens from that originally set—it’s the perfect opportunity to ask your customer for more time, funding or resources to complete it. If you don’t do this, then delivering a wider scope based on the original budget and schedule will put pressure on your project team to deliver more, inevitably causing a reduction in the quality of their deliverables and a greater staff turnover.

Every time your customer requests a change in scope, renegotiate a new schedule, budget and resource allocation. Or you can just say “no” of course!

Option 5: Carefully manage risks

Your project may be operating within the original scope, budget and schedule set—but new risks and items may prevent your successful delivery. Could these problems have been foreseen and were they managed quickly as soon as they were identified?

You really need to implement a formal risk management process and issue management process in your project management templates. These processes will help you identify risks early on, and take the steps needed to mitigate them. They will also give you procedures for identifying and resolving project issues, before they impact on the project delivery.

By taking these steps to manage your schedule, budget, resources, scope, risks and issues, you will be able to put your project back on track and ensure you deliver within the budget and schedule agreed with your customer—achieving true project management success.

If you want all of the processes, templates and tools for delivering successful projects, then sign up for a free trial of this Project Management Software now…