Project timeline document template, A project timeline is a fundamental component in any fantastic project management plan. But as many control consultants have learned the hard way, creating and sticking to a deadline isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. Depending on the form of consulting participation, many project elements – from individuals to engineering to operational and market factors — can create unexpected complications and delays, quickly throwing a project off-track.
Creating dependable timelines gets easier over time. At first, many advertising consultants spend hours creating programs for their consulting jobs, simply to have sudden setbacks push the project off-track. Even if your deadline feels like it’s just a rough estimate, keep in mind that it will still be handy for time management planning. Project timelines give your customer a crystal clear image of how the job should flow, and shows the customer that you have a strong grasp on the process needed to attain specific project milestones. Your timeline can also help protect you against advertising consulting accountability since you can use it to visually explain to your client the effects of potential project delays caused by factors beyond your control.
When estimating the necessary time to accomplish each step, speak to the men and women who will be involved, and realistically consider the quantity of time each person has the capacity to devote to the job. Clearly define any job elements for which the customer’s team members are responsible, and establish 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 employ timelines to track your endeavors, it is going to become easier to create potential project timelines. Continually monitoring your progress against your timelines gives you historical project management data that will allow you to gauge the time required for future management consulting jobs.
One way to help ensure that you follow your timeline would be to construct in a little extra wiggle room. For example, you might decide to create two timelines: one for your own usage, with more positive deadlines, and another, with later deadlines which you discuss with your client. Then, when you hit your very own internal deadlines, you actually come out ahead of schedule at the client’s eyes. This project management method helps compensate for less-than-perfect estimates and unforeseen events.
However hard you try to keep a project on track, the simple fact isthere are situations when you’ll need to adapt your project deadline. It typically occurs when you or other group members run into something that you did not expect, including an insurmountable technical glitch, funding cuts, operational restructuring or employees turnover. It can also occur when client priorities change mid-stream because of changing marketplace conditions, or when the client realizes that what they’ve asked for represents just a small part of a bigger goal. By producing a realistic project deadline, and tracking progress against it as part of an overall project management plan, you are more likely to keep your management consulting job on-time and on-budget. Even in the event that you fall behind, a deadline gives you a handy and impressive tool for keeping your customer informed of progress as well as the causes of any delays. And an educated and informed client is more likely to be a faithful customer.