Multiple project timeline template, A project timeline is a central component in any fantastic project management strategy. But as many control consultants have learned the hard way, creating and sticking to a timeline isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Based on the form of consulting engagement, many project elements – from people to engineering to operational and market variables — may generate unexpected complications and delays, quickly throwing a project off-track.
To start, talk to your customer to define the major project milestones that must be achieved throughout the course of this project. Use these landmarks as the building blocks of your project deadline. Then, think about the measures that must 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 about what task must be achieved in order to begin the next. If multiple tasks can be achieved in the exact same time, chart them . If finishing one task involves 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’ll be involved, and realistically think about the quantity of time each individual can commit to the project. Clearly define any project components for which the customer’s team members are accountable, and set deadlines for accomplishing these tasks. Involve the stakeholders in setting these dates, and gain their commitment that they can meet the deadlines. Since you continue to use timelines to monitor your projects, it will become easier to create potential project timelines. Continually monitoring your progress against your timelines gives you historic project management data that will help you estimate the time necessary for future management consulting jobs.
Using a timeline in hand, you’re almost ready to start work. Then, the significant challenge becomes staying on course with the deadline you’ve created. Before you present your timeline to the project team, here are a couple of project management techniques to bear in mind which can help compensate for unexpected delays as well as the guesswork involved in estimating. The more experience you gain from dealing with timelines, the easier it will become to develop them. Be sure to continually monitor your progress against your timelines, and note the reason behind any job delays. You may examine the consequent historical project management data when estimating time for future marketing and advertising consulting jobs, producing your project management system more accurate and efficient with every undertaking.
However hard you try to keep a project on track, the simple fact is, there are situations when you’ll want to accommodate your project timeline. It usually occurs when you or other team members run into something you did not expect, including an insurmountable technical glitch, funding cuts, operational restructuring or personnel turnover. It may also happen when client priorities change mid-stream because of changing market conditions, or when the client realizes that what they have requested for represents only a small portion of a larger goal. By producing a realistic project deadline, and tracking progress against it within a general project management strategy, you are more likely to keep your management consulting job and on-budget. Even in the event that you fall behind, a timeline provides you a convenient and impressive tool for maintaining your client informed of progress and the causes of any delays. And an educated and informed customer is more likely to be a faithful client.