Are you a project planner? Have you made it your New Year’s resolution to kick away the bad work habits this year? Well, let’s just say that you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for any solutions or answers.
We’re here to teach you which bad habits you’re going to need to kick away, and how you’re going to do it.
So if you’re steering the ship of a massive project, this is what you need to follow to meet deadlines, avoid miscommunications in the team and even make your life much easier. Any team that isn’t communicating well within itself, or doesn’t have a clear vision of how it’s supposed to function, will never work as a team.
It is important for everyone to be on the same page and understand the importance of meeting deadlines and due dates.
Lack of Use of MS Project or Related Software
We often see that most conventional project planners go through the hassle of immense amounts of paperwork to record all data related to the project, including fees, transactions, orders, due dates etc. What they don’t realise is that paperwork often leads to incorrect data since most people don’t tend to go through all data to seek for accurate information.
This can be a problem as a single platform for data can properly tell you what the progress of the project is and what deadlines are due. People often use software like PowerPoint or Visio for presentations and Excel to record work progress and data. While these tools may be adequate to some extent, it causes a problem when your project requires in-depth insight for other data like task dependencies and percentage of the work completed.
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Lack of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
One of the most common problems with project planners is that they often make a work schedule without giving thought to how much time a particular task will take. A Work Breakdown Structure helps you track the progress of your project, and the due tasks that should have been completed till a particular date.
However, if the WBS is poorly made, then it delays the work. What happens is that a particular part of the project takes more time than scheduled on the WBS, which in turn delays upcoming work. Eventually, this completely moves the project off-track from the planned and scheduled time. A good WBS helps you stay on track and meet deadlines for your customers, stakeholder or C-level executives.
Poorly Followed Timelines
For any project to succeed, a project planner must meet all the deadlines that are part of the progress of the project. Some people call them “milestones”.
If a project does not have clearly defined milestones that must be achieved on a particular set of dates, then it becomes very hard to achieve any progress at all. Breaking down your schedule and deliveries into several milestones helps you keep better track of your progress. Even more, it can also help you mitigate risks as soon as they appear.
Constraints and Restrictions
Sadly, it is common for a project to run out of materials or resources while the work is going on. Project planning is not an exact science and neither is management.
The reason for this is that oftentimes, your crews can run out of materials before the next shipment arrives. Poorly structured WBS is a major reason for this problem, since it is hard to keep track when a particular part of the project will finish and when the next shipment for materials should be ordered.
In the end, this brings the work to a halt if the shipment doesn’t arrive as soon as ordered. This delays the project timeline and exceeds the scheduled deadline.
Lacking Detailed Project Logs and Details
It’s impossible for anyone else to visualise anything as good as you do it yourself, or even similar to it. If you’ve visualised something about how a particular section of your project will look like, it’s always good to enter in the details about how you want the work done, and how you want it to look like.
This helps everyone in your team understand the details of the project clearly and the ship keeps steering in the right direction even without your presence. Also, it is advisable to enter valid and vivid project logs and progress reports, so your senior execs have a clear report about what you’ve been working on and how you’ve managed to meet all deadlines as the project has progressed.
At October Software we know exactly how hard it is to kick poor project planning habits. And we also know that these habits are rarely the fault of project planners themselves. This is why we have created Project Reader — to help you keep things on track with a minimal effort. Download it now and give it a try!