When you feel that your project is straying from its planned trajectory, there will be some concern. Here are some important considerations for when you meet this important step in your ongoing business process.
To Recover or Not to Recover
The first question to ask is if correcting your course is a more advantageous proposition. It could be that the course has been adjusted to match the current needs of the project and is best allowed to evolve in this way. If there is a possibility that this is the case, the project manager should arrange a meeting with the project sponsors to discuss the current progress of the project, the need for course adjustment and the viability of the project moving forward.
Here are some key questions to discuss during this important meeting:
Have the needs of the project been altered? If so, how? Do these adjustments warrant scrapping the old project and starting anew?
Has the project’s priority changed? If so, should the project be put on hold for some amount of time?
Are there sufficient resources to continue with the project? If not, should more resources be invested in the project, or should the project be scrapped altogether? Team Augmentation can provide you with the talented staff you need to bring your project to completion.
This is never anyone’s first choice of option, but a seriously derailed project is going to take some time and energy to readjust. Project managers had probably seen this coming, but should be warned regardless. It is not uncommon for morale to hit an all-time low when overtime is prolonged indefinitely with no sign of respite in sight.
For this reason, it is important to apply overtime only in predetermined amounts. This way, the employees assigned to the project will see that their efforts are being applied to a definite purpose with a definite time frame and that things will resume their regular course of action soon.
Crash the Schedule
Another method of dealing with a runaway project is to apply greater resources to the key elements of your project to facilitate their completion. In an article published by Microsoft some effective methods of shortening the time frame to complete critical tasks includes shortening the time a specific project is allowed to remain on the critical path or by changing the time frames assigned to the critical bath. Other suitable changes that can help accomplish critical tasks include the Critical Chain management methodology as well as a suitable variation of Agile Project Management.
Fast Track Tasks
In this approach you will look at your array of tasks that are planned for sequential completion. Launch all these tasks so that they are completed or at least partially completed simultaneously. The magic behind this method is that you take full advantage of your time to accomplish as much as possible. With this process tasks can be started and many even completed before the precursor projects have been completed.
Avoid Scope Change Like the Plague
Scope creep is a serious hazard to any project in motion. As the project gains momentum, hitting goals can be like shooting moving targets from horseback. But, by deciding from the beginning to apply a No-Scope change policy, you ensure you will apply a clear set of objectives in which to apply full focus and thereby maximize the efficiency of your efforts and resources.
One of the best ways to keep scope creep at bay is by beginning your campaign with a Scope statement, which will be read and agreed upon by all stakeholders. The scope statement will then provide the benchmarks for whether any new goal lies within the scope statement or not.
Give your project manager some well-deserved time off and bring in a fresh perspective from the outside. Sometimes this exterior perspective can provide an objective perspective and open up new possibilities. You can also benefit from a breath of “fresh air” that realigns everyone’s perspectives and expectations. This can help to bring the project fully on track.
You may also like: Why General Contractors Should Aim to Keep Projects On Schedule
Image source: Pixabay.com