Change management timeline template, A project timeline is a fundamental element in any fantastic project management strategy. But as many control consultants have discovered the hard way, creating and sticking to a timeline is not quite as easy as it sounds. Depending on the type of consulting participation, many job elements – from individuals to technology to operational and market factors — can create unexpected complications and delays, quickly throwing a job off-track.
To start, speak to your customer to define the major project milestones that must be achieved throughout the course of the job. Use these milestones as the building blocks of your project timeline. After that, consider the steps that have to take place to get from point A to point C, B, D etc – and the logical order in which each step must be completed. Think of what task must be achieved in order to begin the following. If multiple tasks can be accomplished at the same time, chart them . If finishing one task entails multiple sub-tasks, it might need a small timeline of its own.
When estimating the essential time to accomplish each step, talk to the people who will be involved, and realistically consider the amount of time each person has the capacity to commit to the job. Clearly define any job elements for which the client’s team members are accountable, and set deadlines for accomplishing these tasks. Involve the stakeholders in placing these dates, and gain their commitment they can meet the deadlines. As you continue to use timelines to monitor your projects, it will become easier to create future project timelines. Continually monitoring your progress from the timelines gives you historic project management data that can allow you to estimate the time necessary for future management consulting jobs.
One way to help ensure that you stick to your timeline would be to construct in a little extra wiggle room. By way of example, you might decide to create two timelines: one for your own use, with more optimistic deadlines, and another, together with later deadlines which you discuss with your client. Then, when you hit your own internal deadlines, then you actually come out ahead of schedule in the client’s eyes. This project management method helps compensate for less-than-perfect quotes and unforeseen events.
However hard you try to keep a project on track, the simple fact isthere are situations when you’ll want to accommodate your project deadline. It usually happens when you or other group members run into something that you didn’t expect, such as an insurmountable technical glitch, budget cuts, operational restructuring or personnel turnover. It may also happen when client priorities shift mid-stream due to changing marketplace conditions, or when the customer realizes that what they’ve asked for represents just a small portion of a larger goal. By creating a realistic project deadline, and monitoring progress against it as part of a general project management strategy, you are more inclined to keep your management consulting job and on-budget. Even in the event that you fall behind, a deadline gives you a handy and impressive tool for maintaining your customer informed of progress as well as the causes of any delays. And an educated and informed customer is more likely to be a loyal client.