In business, the phrase time is money is extremely accurate. Project Managers (PMs) want projects to be of high quality and completed as quickly as possible. Oftentimes, project deadlines are extended and over budget. If time is so valuable in the world of business, why do projects continue to come in late and over budget? The brightest project managers would have trouble answering this question. To counteract this phenomenon, project managers can reduce the amount of time allocated to a project by efficiently utilizing their time.
The text and slides from our course says that project deadlines or critical dates are put into place for several reasons, including but not limited to time-to-market pressures, unforeseen delays, overhead costs, and incentive contracts. Unfortunately, these dates often lead to rushed, low-quality deliverables, produced to obtain bonuses. Every project manager wants to be able to complete a project with high-quality deliverables and move on to the next opportunity. The difficulty arises when project managers are required to present high-quality work with less time. Although the aforementioned concept can come across as unfathomable, it is not. There are techniques that project managers can utilize to reduce a project’s duration. First, a PMs can implement a process known as fast-tracking. Fast tracking is simply working on aspects that are along the critical path as opposed to working on overlapping activities in sequential steps. However, this process can increase cost and is quite risky. Another technique PMs can use is project crashing. This is pouring more resources into the tasks along the critical path. Once again, this process is costly and risky. Lastly, PMs can look for alternative methods such as reducing the scope or increasing staffing to finalize deliverables.
While the aforementioned techniques are effective, they are also costly. Risk averse organizations may want to consider implementing these steps:
- Monitoring how people are utilizing their time and removing waste.
- PMS should monitor how teams are progressing compared to the developed schedule and determine how staffing is utilizing non-project hours.
- Develop a schedule and timeline with purposeful meetings built-in.
- Often project teams have meetings that are not useful. Meetings should take place when needed. PMs should also make sure all parties are mentally engaged and actively participating in meeting,
- PMs should understand how their staff achieves at their highest level.
- Some teams need constant support and contact. While others simply need to be told what to do and they can fulfill the obligation
- Focus on the project
- Projects are drawn out because teams are gathering and not discussing, focusing or even working on the actual project this is a huge waste of company resources. When teams are together the phones, emails and IMs are set aside. Everyone’s focus should be completing the product
Project time reduction is difficult, but with a plan and exceptional time management skills, it can be done. What experiences have you had with attempting to beat a project deadline or simply trying to meet one?