“We’re about to miss the deadline again.”
Sounds like the shortest horror story, right?
Not delivering projects within the expected timeframe is a nightmare most project managers go through. It leads to successive failures, uncontrolled by multiple factors. And repetitive project failures may break the client’s trust completely, jeopardizing the reputation of the organization.
A project may fail to reach its due date on time due to several factors. These factors may include the incompetency of team members, unclear project goals, or inadequate project planning.
Meeting a project’s deadline can be a cakewalk with the right workflow implementation.
In this blog, we look at the top reasons for missing deadlines, along with some winning tips that will help you glide through your projects successfully.
Why Do Project Deadlines Matter?
Asking why project deadlines matter is pretty much asking the same thing as to why does a car’s headlights matter. A project deadline is one of the most important aspects of accomplishing a project. It helps us steer towards the right path.
Did you know that close to 46% of team leaders say hitting project deadlines is their biggest challenge?
But, what really makes a deadline the topmost consideration before commencing a project?
A deadline defines the direction of your efforts. It helps team members from across the organization to achieve a common business goal. Setting a clear due date, it focuses on delivering the overall objectives on time.
This deadline acts as a guiding light that helps team members adhere to the predetermined timeline of completing a project with the expected quality standards.
Top Reasons for Project Deadline Management Failure
Failure to meet deadlines can be due to many factors, all of which are controllable. Here are the top 4 reasons for deadline management failure.
1. Unrealistic Project Objectives
Setting unreal project expectations is the first move towards a guaranteed project failure. Haphazardly set objectives are bound to result in delayed deadlines and poorly executed project deliverables.
2. Bad Project Processes
A project process may struggle with inadequate planning, insufficient resource allocation, or incorrectly set task dependencies. This may result in prolonged delays leading to definite project failure.
3. Time Management Mistakes
Do you often find yourself dealing with last-minute changes? Then there’s time for a new deadline management strategy. Improper estimation of projects and resource allocation only burdens your team members that will result in a work overload and poor quality deliverables.
4. Difficult Team Members and Stakeholders
This factor is one of the most challenging factors to handle. Do your team members refuse to put in their 100%? Do key stakeholders refuse to be involved in the day-to-day operations? Lack of accountability of team members coupled with a relaxed attitude of stakeholders is a concoction for undesirable project results.
How to Meet Your Project Deadlines
A lot is at stake if an organization fails to complete a project within a deadline. Obviously, you can’t keep the quality at stake while meeting the set due dates for the project. But adhering to quality standards while completing a project in time is quite a challenge, yet not a difficult one to achieve. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to help meet project deadlines:
1. Set Clear Deliverables
First, ascertain your project’s objectives and determine the process deliverables. Now, compile a list of project tasks and activities. A well-established project deliverable framework ensures that everybody is on the same page with expected project tasks and activities.
2. Set a Realistic Deadline
Here comes the most important task for you as a project manager. Set a realistic deadline for the project tasks and activities due. Establish the resources for each task and set the deadline in line with each team member’s capacity. Also, make sure to add contingency time to each project.
3. Involve Team Members and Stakeholders
During project execution, keep everyone in the loop always. Talk to your team about how you can help them manage the tasks and the deadlines better. Listen to their concerns and address them. Ensure that the team is on the same page with project status and deadlines.
4. Leverage a Time Management Tool
Utilize the power of good time management software. An ideal tool eases project deadline management, ensuring that a project meets its deadline without compromising expected quality. Whether creating tasks, setting dependencies, or establishing deadlines – do it all with an all-in-one time management tool. Track the real-time progress of each task and activity with the help of interactive Gantt charts and Kanban boards that enable an overview of your project’s status at a glance. Moreover, you can set reminders for approaching deadlines so that you never miss a deadline again.
How to Prioritize Which Project to Work on When Multiple Projects Exist
Prioritizing projects is essential for a smooth-flowing workflow strategy. It sets the tone for accomplishing multiple projects on time without compromising on the quality of projects.
Here’s what project experts have to say about prioritizing projects. Let’s dive in!
- Deadlines and priorities can be the difference between meeting your goals or failing completely. So prioritize projects and tasks as much as you can.
- You must read the following blog posts:
- Drop Dead Goal Setting
- Obsession – The Fuel of Success
Do give these a read. Both are focused on setting goals and getting them done efficiently and effectively!
- Know what to focus on when that inevitable unexpected task comes up. Your priorities will make it easy to make the game-time call.
- Begin the day with your highest priority task.
- When your team sees you crushing tasks, they’ll adopt your strategy. This also means less supervision and guidance, which saves you even more time.
- Make sure that you set realistic deadlines in the first place. Do this by reference to sound estimates of the work involved and the resources available. A solid Work Breakdown Structure and a robust Responsibility Matrix are your friends here.
- Communicate the value and importance of your deadlines. Each one must be set in a broader context, so people understand their meaning and can feel a real reason to prioritize them.
- Provide support and guidance to your team members that will allow them to work on the tasks effectively and without distraction. Meeting deadlines means commitment and diligence, so your role as a project leader is to make it as easy as possible for your people to focus.
Meet Project Deadlines With a Robust Time Management Strategy
“Time is the scarcest resource; and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”
Suppose you are facing project failures due to unmanageable deadlines. In that case, it’s time to go in for a management reboot by setting clear project expectations, defining realistic deadlines, and utilizing the power of a good time management tool.
Juggling multiple projects with multiple team members across departments is no easy feat. Down the line, you are bound to encounter the pitfalls of a poorly managed project.
A solid project management tool is a sure-shot way to ensure that your team is on the right track and consistently meets deadlines even when handling multiple projects simultaneously.
How do I help my team meet project deadlines?
To help your team meet project deadlines, prioritize tasks, and set clear task . Use a good project management tool to keep team members on the same page with project due dates.
How do you encourage people to meet deadlines?
Find your employees’ personal goals and align project tasks as per their pace and quality of work. This can help deliver projects within the expected timeline. Also, appreciating their efforts to achieve set targets within defined deadlines keeps them motivated to perform better.
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