Regardless of the size of the task, organizations set milestones and deadlines on projects for a reason. It’s as much to create an expected end-of-project as it is to have a roadmap that keeps the entire team working in the right direction.
You can minimize risk of delivery failure through scheduling and monitoring activities but odds are you’ll need to identify ways to speed up the delivery of your project and accelerate the timeline at some point. Here are seven choices that don’t require any sacrifice in quality or cutting corners.
Invest in project management software
You might be surprised to discover just how many project managers run task tracking and progress with spreadsheets. According to Pricewaterhouse Cooper, 44% of project managers use no software or mapping tools when managing projects. In fact, about 56% of companies use a combination of project management methodologies.
Project management software has been proven, time and again, to increase performance across the board and speed up delivery time. Around 90% of companies using software like Slope stated that it increased efficiency, interoperability, and innovation.
Run parallel tasks
A lot of projects run with tasks sequentially, completed one after another in a series of milestones leading up to the next iteration of testing and QA/QI. While this puts the full team on each task it stretches the timeline of a project.
Instead, adjust your planning to run tasks parallel to one another. While some tasks may require the completion of others before you can start there are still opportunities through the life of the project to handle tasks parallel to one another to accelerate the project’s timeline.
During segments of your projects where tasks can’t run perfectly parallel then find opportunities for tasks to overlap. The next task on your list may not have to wait for the completion of the current task. Instead, part of your team can begin working on the next task when the current task is partially completed – as long as they have enough information and/or infrastructure to guide the direction of their work.
Subcontract to free up resources
If the scope of your project can’t change, such as changing the order of tasks or running them parallel to one another, then consider expanding your resources. Rather than bringing on full-time employees or longer contracts, take the opportunity to subcontract specific tasks.
Not only will subcontracting free up internal resources, you can also link up with subcontractors leveraging more skill or better technology that allow them to complete the job much faster.
Establish a core team to minimize distraction
It’s not uncommon for employees to have other tasks and projects slotted in around their work on a major project. That can be a distraction and a drain on their focus, energy, and motivation. If you need to accelerate the timeline of a project, then develop a core team that has a sole focus.
Other company tasks and projects should be delegated and rerouted, so your core team can focus on one project without distraction or interruption.
Work in sprints
Agile project management can significantly accelerate the completion of a project. By working in short sprints your team is constantly testing and rejecting what doesn’t work then progressing forward with tight, focused feedback.
This approach minimizes lengthy backtracking since change is addressed quickly rather than in large blocks that halt forward progression.
Most projects are already broken into milestones. Rather than test and review after several milestones have passed, communication and collaborate through each task. It empowers the team with forward momentum and puts the emphasis on quality rather than driving to hit a deadline.
Agile project management requires constant collaborative communication among your entire team. Without a project management platform, too many companies get mired in endless email threads. Roughly 57% of projects fail due to breakdowns in communication. That breakdown starts when key messages get lost in inboxes.
Get a project management system with built in communication to streamline collaboration. Your team could also use a standalone communication platform like Slack to keep all relevant project discussions in buckets, archived appropriately, and easily searchable.
Organizations commonly turn to scheduling overtime, outsourcing, or adding resources in order to accelerate the timeline of a project. To meet strict deadlines employees may even take short cuts that can lead to quality issues. To avoid budget overruns and quality concerns, consider some of the methods listed above to help you shorten the project timeline without sacrificing quality.