In a perfect world, as soon as you planned your tech project, you’d be golden. There wouldn’t be other problems.
Unfortunately, we aren’t living in a perfect world. Things don’t go according to plan. That’s why, even if you’ve planned your tech project perfectly, it can still fail to meet deadlines. What a bummer.
If you’re trying to mitigate those pesky project derailers, and live in a perfect project management world (haha!), we’ve got some tips for you. Here are five additional reasons that, despite a perfect project plan, you’re still failing to meet your deadlines.
Why You’re Failing to Meet Deadlines
1. You’re letting stakeholders create deadlines
When the stakeholders brought you onto this project, did they tell you that they needed project iterations done by certain dates, and the project completed by “x”? If so, this is one reason that you’re failing to meet your project’s deadlines.
Stakeholders often set deadlines they think are perfectly reasonable. With your technical knowledge, however, you know that they aren’t. You realize that the programming will take longer, or that you need to factor in time for small scope changes and setbacks. Don’t ignore your technical intuition.
If you do, and plan the project around stakeholder deadlines, you’re likely to fail; it’s not possible to reach the technical scope of the project within that timeframe. Make sure that you’re setting a realistic schedule for you and your team so that you can be successful.
2. You’re letting stakeholders increase scope
Even if you’re setting your own deadlines, and you’ve planned the project perfectly, you won’t meet your due dates if your stakeholders increase the scope of the project. With the project’s changing course, how could you?
That’s why, when stakeholders try to change the scope of the project, you need to question the changes, and even veto them. They brought you on for your technical know-how, and are expecting you to manage the project. If you blindly accept their additions, you’re failing on both accounts.
Critically question the changes they want to make, and help them to determine whether the changes are even necessary. If they realize they’re not, problem solved. If they decide they still want to go forward with the additions, explain to them the realities of readjusting the project scope, and the project plan. Try to push the scope increase off to the next project iteration. If they’re still adamant, completely re-plan the project, and write up a new, realistic project plan.
3. You aren’t solving arising issues
No matter the project, problems are going to arise. You’ll have technical issues, program bugs, and developers who fail to meet deadlines. While it may be easier to let these problems slide, you need to address them immediately.
Sit down with your team, and figure out the issue. When they claim the only issue to be a lack of time, don’t accept it. There’s inevitably another cause; too much time spent on analysis, a programmer who isn’t pulling their weight, or an incompatibility of technical tools. Take the time to have a long conversation and get these kind of answers from your team. As soon as you get the information, figure out how to solve the problem – add resources and additional tools if need be.
If you don’t take the time to figure out the problem, you certainly won’t be able to find a good solution. You need to understand the issue from all sides before you can find a solution that will actually improve business practices and help you meet deadlines.
4. You’re not communicating often
Communication is key in more than just your romantic relationships; it’s also vital between project members. When upper-level managers are kept in the dark about deadlines that weren’t met, and the low-men-and-women on the totem pole aren’t sure what’s expected of them, a project will fail. It won’t be on time, and it will fail to meet stakeholders’ expectations.
That’s bad news for you.
This is why it’s important that people communicate. Make sure that there is clear and consistent communication about:
- Project deliverables
- Project requirements
- Management of requirements
- Roles and responsibilities
If communication between all project members is thorough and consistent, the project is much more likely to reach its goals, and deadlines. You’ll have a united front instead of competing factions.
5. Your team isn’t on board with the project
You’re more likely to fail to meet deadlines when your team doesn’t support the project. Manifesting itself through disinterest and disengagement, this lack of commitment keeps your team from giving everything they have to the project. Without a strong effort from your team, the project is going to slowly slip behind schedule.
In order to combat team disinterest, you need to make sure that everyone is on board with the direction of the project, as well as the long-term goals it supports. Sometimes, this can be cleared up by voicing the goals and priorities and their correlating strengths and weaknesses.
If your tech project is planned well, but you’re still having issues meeting deadlines, it could be because of one of these five things above. However, if you make sure that you’re not allowing your stakeholders to dictate arbitrary deadlines and additions, and that your team is both communicating and on-board with the project, you’re likely to get it back on track. Keep on top of these things and you’ll be as close as you can to living in your “perfect project manager world.”
Thanks to RLHyde for the use of their respective photographs.