Poorly organized time management, diseases, the change of project timeline. All these factors will definitely influence on the current plan of your company, and not in a good way. The time is the most evaluated thing nowadays. And such schedule delays can lead not only to the failure of meeting the project terms, but also to the loss of money. Not speaking about the tarnished reputation.
IT companies often deal with situations, when they need to meet the deadline. Doing everything in time increases the productivity of the staff, regulates project management and ensures high activity of the participants. DDI Development team always takes care of its customers and knows how important it is not to keep them waiting. That is why, check out top 10 tips about how to meet deadlines and targets used by our team for settling and reaching fixed terms when managing our projects.
#1: Details Matter
The first and the most important step is learning project requirements thoroughly. In the primary stage, you still can't say how long the project will take. That is why, you need to get a clear understanding of what is bargained from you in the end. Never hesitate to ask additional questions in order to get more details. That will help you get the customer's expectations better and manage the process of meeting deadlines.
Solution: Write down all the tasks step by step, aline the goals with the customer.
#2: Take Risks into Account
There are also project management deadlines, within which the final term should be announced. Identify all the possible and impossible conditions, which can take place during the working process. These are human factor, emergency state, unexpected illnesses and more. And even having estimated the project deadline, always have a backup plan.
Solution: Analyze the terms provided by the team and settle the final deadline, taking into account possible obstacles.
#3: Manage the Working Process
Divide the tasks among the team members and provide the terms for each one. The timing of the project is known only to the PM and the headship. The task of the team is to meet the deadline presented personally to them, without basing on the existing and mortgaged risks. The manager in his/her turn, sets the tasks and controls the procedure of each specialist, from accuracy up to the terms. That also helps to keep track of the current situation and regulate the procedure if needed.
Solution: Distribute the tasks among the team members and control the working process.
#4: Task Tracking
Each project should have a system of controlling the tasks. Some projects are big and the customer wants to track the process personally, adding feedback and wishes to each task. In such a situation, there are used special applications, and all the negotiations pass online. Some customers only want to be sure that the process is going on and well. That time, simple communication methods are involved, or you can use documents with scheduled (daily/weekly) reports for the client.
Solution: Include a tracking system for each team member with everyday reports of executed work and time spent for each task.
#5: Communication with the client
Regular interaction with the customer from the very beginning gives you an understanding of his/her attitude to the project. Set certain timetable of the meetings in order to discuss the working process. Those can be talks once or twice a week, every day reports, results of a week in the form of presentations. Everything depends on the project itself and the wishes of the client.
Solution: Keep alive regular converse with the client both in written and oral forms.
#6: Time Management
In order the process of meeting deadlines passes smoothly, the project manager should organize everything, including the working activity. Speaking about the talks with the customer, there should be settled strict limits – a fixed day and the time period. The manager takes care of the effective time.
In case there occur discussed questions, the PM can duplicate the solution per e-mail, for instance. She or he also creates a list of items, which they didn't manage to consider, asking for the replies in the written form. Another way to save the time is determining the frames with the team members. Everyone has calls and meeting at the same time and the efficiency of the process grows up accordingly.
Solution: Settle certain days and hours for interaction with the customer and team members meetings.
#7: Step by Step Process
As the project manager distributes all the resources among the team members and divides targets into sub-groups, she or he should keep track of certain task deadline. Moving one step at a time, the working process passes more evenly and the followup control becomes easier. That is how, it is possible to estimate the chances of meeting deadlines and include corrections when needed.
Solution: The working process should be consistent, follow each task to its logical end before starting another one.
#8: Project Team Meetings & Trainings
In case the project is big and requires indepth knowledge and team work of various fields, the members should always be aware of each other's part of work. For this very reason, include trainings and knowledge transfer as a part of the process. Estimate the project timeline and settle certain days and timeframes for the team to exchange their results and plans.
Solution: Organize meetings for team members once a week, everyday stand-ups with brief reports of the working process.
#9: Second Deadline
As some clients are willing to take part in the project working process and keep track of the team members' reports, they usually leave feedback and comments. This helps the PM understand whether the team is headed in the right direction, whether all the tasks are divided correctly, and whether there occur new points or disappear several existing items.
In consequence of such a common project management, the task deadline can be reconsidered and brought together again. That is how, the timeline and the responsibilities can be changes. The PM should now evaluate new frames and revise the whole working procedure.
Solution: Communicate with the customer, present a list of new tasks and agree upon a new deadline.
#10: Working Overtime?
The worst thing for the PM is when the project misses. That is when, there are only two ways out – either changing the deadline or working overtime. The second option can lead to additional costs, burnout of the team members, and, as a result, mistakes in the project development.
Consequently, the PM should expect the unexpected. Having 'Plan B', you get the cushion time to help your team out. While planning the project phases, keep some time in mind in case an emergency situation occurs. This protects the project from the failure and keeps the reputation of the team clear.
Solution: Create a project plan as derailed as possible, confer with more experienced specialists and ask questions to the customer at every stage of the project.