How to Deliver Challenging Projects

Every project is a challenge, but if you have tight deadlines, limited funding and are short of resource then you may have a tougher challenge than you think! To help you succeed, read these tips on…

There are 5 classic signs of a “challenging” project. We’ve described them below and offer you advice for managing them:

Tight Deadlines
If your project deadline is practically unachievable, then here’s what to do. First, try and get it delayed. If you can’t, then immediately replan your project so you know by how much you will be late. If it’s more than 10% then try and find more resource to help you deliver it more quickly. And if you can’t get the resource, then reduce your scope. Identify non-critical deliverables and get your sponsor to agree that you can complete those deliverables after the deadline has passed.
Otherwise, you need to revisit the tasks in your plan to see if you can produce the same deliverables, with less tasks and effort than before.

Limited Budget
If your budget has been cut back, then try and find another sponsor in your business to provide the additional funding required. If cashflow is the problem, then negotiate with suppliers to take delayed payments. Use internal resource rather than external contractors, as they are usually cheaper. Rent equipment rather than buy. Re-negotiate with your suppliers to reduce their deliverables and therefore, their costs. And lastly, reduce staff overtime and offer them unpaid leave when they have down time.

Resource Shortage
If you don’t have sufficient resource to complete the project, then take these steps. Review your deliverables and ensure you focus on the critical ones first. Try and find people in your business who can be succonded to your project, without you being charged. If you can’t, then you need to work incredibly smart. So take time out each day to prioritize your tasks and ensure everyone is spending their time wisely. Work extra hours if necessary, but don’t burn out. You can only work smart if you’re “as fresh as a daisy”.

Scope Changes
If your scope is constantly changing, then you need to nail it down. Start by identifying the tasks on the “critical path” and sticking to them, regardless of the change requests that arise. Identify your project priorities and get them approved by your sponsor. Make sure each priority is linked to a business objective, so that they are harder to change.

Being a Super-Hero
Does everyone expect you to be a super-hero by delivering your project with less time, budget and resource than you need? If so, don’t worry – it’s normal. The trick is to manage people’s expectations, by under promising and over delivering. Keep people well informed, so they know what you’ll deliver, how and by when.

By taking these tips, you can deliver challenging projects with a smile, and gain a reputation for super-hero like qualities!

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