Meeting deadlines and sticking to budgets: from theory to practice

One of the main issues of planning for project management in Innovation and Development – be it for a new product, plant, event, business or service – is sticking to budgets and deadlines. It is even more crucial when a project reaches the point when skidding off budget and blowing deadlines are an almost certain outcomes. Unfortunately, this is a very common reality that affects public as well as private entities, almost without exception.

 

Exceeding budget in public works is essentially a tradition, which leads to a number of risks and extra charges for the state. Situations like this stem from a lack of solid planning, as well as with following through with projects that are flawed from the beginning or rushed in their creation.

 

Non-productive meetings, an unconsolidated knowledge of market and target or time wasted redoing tasks related to the project (reworking) are just some of the causes of these kinds of issues. It is also frequent to have to face excessive requirements and bureaucratic processes in project management – which heavily contribute to delaying projects’ closing dates. Plenty of times, resources are overloaded and suppliers don’t deliver on schedule.

 

The good news is that, after analysing and changing what is at the root of the problem, the issues listed above can be eradicated, setting sights on implementing and respecting a project with quality outputs, which sticks to a budget and meets its deadlines.

 

It is crucial to define the goals of any project, its scope, the available resources and the marks agreed upon with the client. The next step is to plan the work in phases, with defined quality control points and the optimisation of tasks in between the different steps. Creating a weekly work plan which integrates the evaluation of the week before as well as the plan for the following week, with analysis of every aspect of the project is equally important. Following these steps, it will be easy to clarify requests and features, as well as analyse and eliminate detected constrains.

 

Visual management of the projects is another recommended technique, which implies creating a visual space – a project control site that follows the concept of a mission control or war room (this is called an Obeya space) -, where the daily meetings for management and continuous analysis of the project should take place.

 

A few benefits of implementing these steps will inevitably be greater clarity of the project, increase in motivation and team involvement, easier problem solving, improvement of results and productivity increases in development.

 

Problem:

-       Project rework cycles

-       Non-productive meetings

-       Lack of knowledge of clients/target audience

-       Excessive requirements or specifics

-       Excessive bureaucracy in project management

-       Overloaded resources

-       Delayed suppliers

 

Solution:

-       Define goals, scope, resources and milestones agreed upon with the client (start of the project)

-       Plan in phases with defined quality control points

-       Optimisation of tasks in between phases

-       Weekly work plan: evaluation of previous week and planning for following week

-       Analysis and elimination of constraints

-       Clarification of requirements and features

-       Visual management: Obeya Space for project control

-       Daily meeting in the Obeya space

 

Benefits:

-       Project deadlines are met

-       Budget is respected

-       Satisfied clients

-       Project teams are motivated and involved

-       Creation of useful knowledge

-       Increase in team productivity

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