Businesses keep announcing new projects related to their products and services at regular intervals. While some ideas become instant hits and attract a hoard of investors and stakeholders, others seem doomed from the start only because the initial success criteria were not met adequately.
Project delays have a direct impact on the business’s turnover as it increases costs. It is, therefore, necessary for companies to decipher how to get high-quality products and services delivered without exceeding the budget as well as in a timely manner.
There’s no denying that businesses spend a considerable amount of money on their people, processes, technology, and outsourcing skills. And even though some of these efforts do bring about improvements and triumphs, more often than not it is difficult to determine whether the results achieved have been as great as expected.
The point I’m trying to get at is that businesses need to invest not just to improvise processes, but also to bring about meaningful changes in them. I’m talking about changes which will enable you to deliver projects as per customer expectations, i.e. high-quality, on-budget, on- time, flawlessly and repeatedly.
What Project Managers Need to Look For
As a project management professional, your efforts should ideally revolve around resolving important project delivery management issues to ensure successful and timely delivery.
These issues can be anything – procrastination, communication gaps, risk mitigation, unforeseen fluctuations, postponements, and so on.
It would help if you’re adept at planning delivery models and implementing management-style (best) practices.
Here are a few tips to ensure that you deliver your project on time and within budget.
1. Know the Deliverable In-depth
To begin with, you need to have complete clarity and understanding of what your deliverables are in order to chart a proper course of action for its delivery. You will have to define not only the factors that will be included in the project deliverable, but also the elements which will not be included (as found appropriate and necessary).
Once you’ve detailed the requirements, make sure that you get the necessary approvals for it. By doing so, you will lay a strong foundation for change control, and to estimate the resource requirements, the expenses, and the timeframe more accurately.
2. Create Change Control
Taking a cue from the above point, a lack of understanding of the original project, volatile market conditions, conflicts within a company, and/or poor change control can lead to the occurrence of scope creep. Scope creep is the most common reason for the failure of projects to be delivered on time and on budget.
If not checked in time, unrestrained scope creep can lead to the closure/cancellation of well-meaning projects, once the management realizes that their costs are only rising exorbitantly with no foreseeable conclusion.
To limit/negate scope creep, you need to set strict change control by involving executive-level stakeholders in the approval of proposed changes in the project scope.
3. Have a Dedicated Team
The kind of team you work with will have a direct impact on the outcome of the project. A driven and passionate team can achieve results in the most effective manner.
Make sure your members know what is expected of them by defining their duties and responsibilities. Have a team dedicated solely to accomplish the project.
If you find yourself working with part-time resources, ensure that they understand their priorities and areas of concern, and are not distracted by other things.
4. Split the Project Plan
While your project plan may seem like a huge rock of deliverables, it makes sense to break it up into smaller sub-projects for better handling and execution. Doing so will also help your team understand the nuances of the project better.
You will do well in grouping tasks under different headings as that will help you categorize and prioritize the deliverables. Delegate the tasks among your team. Additionally, it will also help you create the Gantt chart and the milestone chart.
Remember, project delays imply exceeding budgetary constraints. Plan your project methodically and be disciplined towards achieving the desired result.
5. Training Is Imperative
Another reason projects fail to take-off on time or fail downright is because the various teams involved in the project do not understand the new product. It goes without saying that if you do not understand what you’re dealing with you’ll err at the first step itself.
If you think you’ll have faultless deliverable requirements in place, then you need to get a reality check.
Ask the management of the company to provide you and your team with sufficient training to gain enough understanding of the product to know what you’re working with.
6. Frequent Testing
In order to identify and rectify initial hiccups and get them out of the way before they turn into monsters, it is crucial to test the product early and continue to test it frequently.
There’s no point in waiting till the end as that only means allowing small problems to snowball into bigger ones.
Let your team members know of the project’s success as well as the scope for improvements. This will boost their morale, making them more industrious.
7. Accommodate Changes
Confident project managers know that there are multiple roads that can eventually lead you to your destination. Accordingly, be accepting and accommodative of the changes necessary to deliver your project on time and on budget.
It is never easy to achieve great things without putting in hard work. Mistakes are bound to occur but that opens up scope for learning through trial and error. Forecasting and avoiding mistakes are the key to successful and timely delivery of projects. Apart from that, being aware of project management best practices is extremely helpful. The above points should aid you in understanding the factors that go into delivering projects on time and within budget, thereby leading to satisfied customers and business profit.