Projects can be hard to control and keep on track. Expectations need to be set, communicated and met by everyone involved to ensure that deadlines are kept to. With this in mind, here are ten quick tips to help keep your projects on track, on time and within budget.
1. Reality check.
From the outset it is vital to set realistic goals. If completion dates are not achievable, people won’t buy in or commit to the project fully. A project that team members feel is unachievable will rarely come to fruition.
2. Role play
Each team member needs to understand their role in the project. Make sure everyone involved knows what is expected of them as well as any potential benefits that will arise from successful completion.
3. Keep in touch
Communication between team members is crucial. Nothing kills a project like inaccurate assumptions about other people’s progress or understanding of the situation. It is good to talk.
4. Don’t be afraid to be the bearer of bad news
Sometimes things go wrong, but hiding problems only makes matters worse. In the event of anything arising that will affect the deadline of your project, let everyone involved know immediately. More often than not all parties will appreciate being kept up to speed and discussing problems is the fastest way to finding solutions.
5. Have a Plan B
Things rarely run completely smoothly, but having a backup plan, or plans, in place will help to minimise frustration and enable team members to speedily set things back on course.
6. Map out trouble spots and milestones
Flagging potential difficulties at the beginning of any project helps team members to prepare solutions, respond quickly, and keep things on track, whilst setting milestones enables team members to know if these issues are preventing the project from staying on target.
7. Know your limits
Setting a clear scope for the project helps to keep things focused and stops people trying to sneak things under the radar. When someone should be working on a project, it is important they are not actually just working to their own ends under the pretence of it being connected.
8. Let’s get engaged
Engage all team members regularly. People want to feel valued and empowered, so regular team meetings ensure people keep the project moving forward by not only reminding them of their priorities, but also keeping them aware of developments and making them feel involved with the project’s success.
9. Remember, remember
Setting calendar reminders can encourage team members to retain focus and also goes a long way to keeping things on schedule. By knowing where you should be by a certain point in time, you can work to achieving that goal and will be alerted earlier when things are not going well.
10. Success is its own reward, but rewards are also nice too!
Keeping team members motivated by rewarding them at key milestones engages not only them but also encourages other key players. This has the added advantage of helping you keep track with the project, which should keep you on target for a successful completion!
(Header image credit: Niki Odolphie https://www.flickr.com/people/99962592@N00)