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How to get your project back on track

Julie Lord

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If your project is running behind schedule, it is important to get things back on track. This is something most project managers are likely to experience at some point, especially at the beginning of their career or if they have not had any formal project management training. Of course, there are situations that you simply cannot control that can lead to late delivery. It can be stressful, but we have some top tips to help you get your project back on track.

Extend working hours or bring on additional resources – This is an effective way to get back on track, but it does involve spending more money. This solution tends to be best suited to bigger projects whereby deliverables are clear. If you are in charge of a smaller project, this may not be ideal. After all, the project knowledge may only be with one or two people, and you could end up slowing the project down further if you disseminate this knowledge.

Improve processes – Now would be a good time to take a look at your processes and see if there is anything inherently wrong that is putting your project behind. This is not the type of task that you should take on by yourself. You need to consult with your team. This will enable you to look for different ways to streamline processes to increase efficiency.

Agree on staged delivery, reduce project scope, or prioritise project elements – If it is imperative that the project comes in on a specific date, you may need to re-examine the scope of the project, with the view of refining some elements. This is a lot easier said than done, however, it is likely that your project has some elements that are not critical, rather, they are simply nice to have. You could deliver these after the project is due.

Agree on an extension – Of course, this would be the best solution of them all. Talk to your stakeholders to see if they will agree on a project extension. When it comes to successful project delivery, strong stakeholder communication is extremely important. If you maintain strong communication, your stakeholders won’t be so shocked or annoyed when a project runs late. So, talk to your stakeholders and see if it is possible to extend the deadline. One thing you should never do is tell the client that the job is going to be late once the deadline has passed. This does not help anyone.

If your project is falling behind, you need to take the necessary steps to rectify this as soon as possible. It is important to be honest with yourself and everyone else at this point. If you agree on another deadline with your stakeholders that is unrealistic, and you don’t meet that, you are only going to end up causing more disappointment. However, if you follow the tips that have been mentioned above, you should be able to steer your project in the right direction. If delays keep happening, project management training is a wise idea.


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