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Deliver Faster using Project Management Templates

September 30 2009

As a Project Manager, you will always be under pressure to deliver your project faster than people expect. It’s a tough challenge, but by using the tips and tricks listed below you can deliver your project before the deadline and reduce your stress along the way…

Deliver your Projects Faster

Here are 5 tips for delivering projects faster…

Tip 1: Find Shortcuts in your Plan

Project Managers usually spend 80% of their time executing and 20% planning. The reason is that the Execution phase is where the excitement is, so they roll their sleeves up and get started executing as quickly as possible.

But if you spend extra time in the Planning phase, then you can usually identify shortcuts which enable you to produce the same project outcome in less time.

So when you think your project plan (project management template) is complete, take extra time to re-look at your plan from the point of view of delivering it faster. By doing this, you’ll find that you can schedule things to be done in a way that takes less time, with less effort.

Tip 2: Automate Manual Tasks

You need to automate your manual daily tasks to help you do things faster. Here are some of the manual tasks that many Project Managers do each week that could be automated using project software.

  • Summarizing data for your Weekly Status Reports
  • Collating Timesheets and Expense Forms
  • Updating your Project Plan with timesheet data
  • Working out whether the project is on track
  • Reporting on risks, changes and issues.

You don’t need to perform these tasks manually. You can invest in Microsoft Project compatible software to do all this for you. Your team will enter the data you need and the software will group and summarize it all for you. All you need to do is run reports and view the current status of your plan to ensure it remains on track.

Tips 3: Manage Execution Carefully

When your project gets underway, manage your project against the project plan (project management template) vigilantly. It’s easy for the plan to sit on the shelf, and for the team to go in their own direction. Instead, you need to lead the team by making sure they complete only those tasks which have been planned, and not other tasks which have cropped up along the way. So manage the project execution carefully. You can also save time in the Execution phase by:

√ Working your suppliers and contractors hard

√ Mitigating risks and issues before they affect the timeframe

√ Saving all non-critical tasks until after the project is complete

√ Not allowing unplanned tasks to be completed, unless critical

√ Not implementing change requests, unless they are critical.

Tip 4: Double up on Resources

Usually, the easiest way to shorten the length of the project is to assign more resources to it. However, this isn’t possible for many projects because they have a limited budget and a limited pool of resource.

But that’s not to say that you can’t double up on resources for the right tasks. It just means that if you do this, then other tasks will be under-resourced. So why would you do this?

In most projects there are tasks on the “critical path” that must be completed to deliver the project. If you assign more resources to these tasks than are necessary, you can usually complete them earlier than expected. And it makes sense that if every critical path task is completed faster, then the entire project will be delivered quicker than expected.

Tips 5: Get the Critical Tasks done first

In many projects the last 20% of tasks, take 50% of the length of the project. This is because the team have left the difficult tasks until the end, which happens to be when they are tired and need a holiday!

Instead, identify the tasks in your plan which are the most complex and challenging to complete. And if possible, tackle those tasks at the start of the project, when people are fresh and enthusiastic. You’ll find that they can complete those tasks in less time and to a higher standard of quality than if they were left until the end of the project. And with those difficult tasks completed, the rest of the project should be easier to deliver.

So there you are, 5 top tips for delivering projects faster. If you truly want to speed up your project delivery, then use Project Tools and the Project Management Template kit from Method123.com. They are pre-formatted and come with all of the charts, tables and examples you need to do things quickly.