Gear Up Your Team to Manage Project Deadline

Gear Up Your Project Team to Manage Project Deadline

Managing deadline is not easy, especially when you have to drive diversely skilled, experienced, differently able'd project team members to meet milestones in stipulated timeframe

One thing that always keeps project managers on their toes and that is "Project delivery on time i.e. meeting deadline". It is project manager who is ultimately responsible for project delivery on time, it cannot be done without his/her project team’s collective efforts.

Project team and Project Deadline There are couple of challenges project team face in in meeting the project deadline

  1. Not everyone in project team might have experience of working to meet deadline
  2. Team members have different pace of working, different skills and experience

Since it is the project manager who is ultimately held responsible for fate of the project, s/he needs to teach, prepare and drive his/her team to meet the project deadline. Let’s see how project manager can take methodical approach in driving his/her team to successfully deliver project on time.

Breakdown individual tasks, milestones with deadline

There is no magic to help you to deliver projects one fine day i.e. deadline. You will have to breakdown the final project outcome into smaller deliverable i.e. actionable tasks, milestones, such that

  1. Each project task, milestone one of them have specific duration, due date and
  2. Each project task, milestone is actionable, can be done by rightly skilled resource in your team

Unless you clearly define such work breakdown structure, you can only pray some magic will happen and your project will be delivered in one piece. Breaking down the project delivery timeline also helps you to get clear understanding of possible delays, dependencies, etc.

While breaking down the project deliverable, project manager needs to keep in mind

  1. Task duration with buffer
  2. Task dependency
  3. Lead or lag time between tasks

Identify right resources with right capabilities, inspire them and motivate them

Project TeamOnce project planner is able to breakdown project deliverable, the next quest is to identify right resources with right skill-set with appropriate availability to form the project team. Remember, project team is not any monotonous machine, you will have a diverse group to manage. Approach such diversity with a positive spirit, take it to your advantage. You will have to inspire some project members, for some team members you need to advise/guide, for some you need to hear and encourage.

As a central driving force of the project, you will have to play the role of aggregator, motivator, adviser, listener, mantor and so on.

Clear and bi-directional communication, right from the beginning

If you would like things to get delivered on time, you need to inform your project team well before expected delivery timeline to help them plan their work, get organized, pick up activities to suit their pace. Clear communication from both direction will only help the project delivery move forward.

Just the way you will be communicating project delivery timeline, expectations, communication from project team is equally important. If they encounter some issues, problems, you can’t wait to realize by yourself rather you would like your team members to highlight their concerns, update, progress at earliest.

Any project comes across problems, issues, surprises and set-backs, it is the communication among stakeholders that can make project management transparent, less surprising/shocking.

You can read more about project communication.

We will conclude this article in next post Gear Up Your Team to Manage Project Deadline Part II.

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