How to get any project out the door on time
Getting a project out the door on time such as a new software release/tweak, or a new ad campaign can run over and over way past the intended release date. There are many approaches to project management that go deep in to the whole strategy around managing this, and whilst they are surely superior to this brief plan if you’re new to tight deadlines then it might just help.
There are some rues to project management that you should try and enforce, they may seem counter intuitive but trust me they will save an awful lot of time.
2. Thrash out the project first – every detail!
3. Remove people from the project – never add
4. Get sign off before completion
5. Create a project plan
6. Detail dependencies
Understand why you are doing this project, what is it’s goal? If it’s to deliver a new hammer that is the most hard wearing in it’s class then that’s why you’re doing it. Not to be cheap or easy, to be the best hammer. This ‘why?’ should be entwined through your project plan, and every hurdle you hit you need to ask why are we doing this?
Thrash out the project first
Get everyone that will at some point be involved in the project in a room/Skype chat or whatever. Thrash out every detail of the project as a collective. Make a list prior to the thrash meeting on points that people are likely to make that you have already considered, the negative ones, assess them and if right to do so tick it off. When a negative point is made, simply say “thank you its on the list already”. This will save you a lot of time from meeting trolls and devils advocates.
Remove people from the project
As you get through the thrashing point remove as many people from the project as possible, within reason of course. If they don’t own any actions then get them out of there.
Get sign off
As they exit the project have them sign off what they have agreed to. The product should be signed off when it’s still sitting on the designers sketch pad. When people move in to the project later they will add to the costs, make changes that set you back and stall or even completely destroy the project. Get everyone involved to sign off the original project plan at the thrashing stage.
Create a project plan
Create a simple project plan that covers off the Why? as its intro. The actions should be listed and assigned to members that agreed to complete the actions at the thrashing stage, they are the owner of the action and as such should provide an agreed completion date for their action at the trashing stage.
In your project plan assigned to your individual actions you should list the dependencies, if action number 2 is dependant on action number 9 it needs to be highlighted. If the hammer handle is built in China and lead time is 6 weeks then that’s a dependency that needs to be listed.
Ask all action owners what their timelines are, make sure they are bought in to the plan. Do they need to create a mini project in order to ensure they meet their deadline. Ensure you understand each and every dependency and always ask for honesty.
Who’s the big cheese?
Who’s the one guy or gal that can say NO. That can step in and change the plan, this should not be a committee or group of people, it should be the CEO/President or whatever but it needs to be someone that has no vested interest other than the overall good of the company on a major scale. This big cheese needs to be someone special, someone that has no operational running of day to day issues and will definitely have no other interest in changing the project other than for the outright good of the company.