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Project Management Templates Delivering on Time

October 25 2007

Project Management Templates – Delivering projects on Time

As a Project Manager, you are always pushed to deliver your projects on time, by using project management templates.  Not a day goes by that you don’t worry about whether you are on, behind or ahead of schedule.

To help you to boost your chances of success, we’ve described here…

How to Deliver Projects On Time

On a project, it is easy to get bogged down with the details, and forget about the “helicopter view”.  Other than completing Project Status Reports at the end of each reporting period, many Project Managers adopt the approach that their own knowledge and experience alone will ensure that the project delivers on time.

But the reality is that all project managers need to complete some basic steps throughout the project, to make sure that it is “on track”, otherwise it is easy for a project to go off the rails.

So what are the steps that a Project Manager needs to complete to make sure that the project is delivered on time?  We have listed them for you here…

Step 1: Plan not to fail

There is an old project saying: “Plan not to fail, don’t fail to plan”.  By creating a detailed Project Plan with fixed delivery milestones that your customer agree with, you will gain a firm basis for measuring the progress of the project.

Make sure that your plan includes delivery milestones every month where possible and that the Work Breakdown Structure is detailed enough to show all of the critical tasks that must be completed.  Non-critical tasks can be re-scheduled later, but tasks which are on the critical path must be completed by the due dates specified.

Step 2: Clock the time spent

Almost every Project Manager these days has implemented Timesheets for tracking time.  But how many actually record that time in a Timesheet Register and update the Project Plan with the time spent per project task?

By doing this, you can allocate a set amount of time and effort to complete every task on the Project Plan, and easily identify when you are late.  If staff spend more time than that allocated and the task is still not complete, then you will need to investigate why this has occurred and resolve the problems identified.  This process is called the Time Management Process and it ensures that staff complete tasks where possible, in the timeframe allocated to them.

Step 3: Create a helicopter view

It is harder than it looks.  To accurately monitor and report on the project at a helicopter level, you need a crystal clear picture of the project delivery against a schedule. A picture like this can be seen through a visible set of project management templates.

You need to know for every task in your project plan, whether it is under / on / over schedule and what the overall impact on the project is. You also need to have identified the critical path and determined whether the tasks on this path are on track.

Only with this detailed knowledge can you gain a sufficient “helicopter view” to be able to report accurately to your Project Board or Sponsor. Remember, by keeping your sponsor accurately informed of the project progress, you will ensure their full support.

Step 4: Going “Belly Up”

So you have done all this but your project is going “belly up” (i.e.. slipping).  What then?  Well the first step is to investigate the reasons why. It may be that the scope of the project has grown from that originally agreed, or you have encountered complexities that were not identified when you started, or that the plan was too aggressive in the first place.

Regardless, you need to 1) Stop 2) Investigate 3) Resolve 4) Report. This can be achieved by using a good set of Project Management Templates. To resolve the problem, you may need to formally redefine the scope of the project, hire additional resources to help out, or agree with the customer on a new delivery timeframe.  You will also need to update the Project Plan with any additional tasks required to fix the problems, and then you will need to report on the new status to your Sponsor.

Step 5: Getting the right mix

Almost every project team will encounter unforeseen changes, risks and issues.  Your level of success will depend on how you manage these when they arise.  By implementing these project processes below, you can ensure that your mix of changes, risks and issues are easily manageable:

  • Change Management Process
  • Risk Management Process
  • Issue Management Process

To help you deliver projects on time and keep your Project Sponsor happy, use these two great project management solutions now…

  • Method123
  • Project Manager .com