Research proposal timeline template, A project timeline is a central component in any good project management plan. But as many control consultants have learned the hard way, creating and sticking to a timeline is not as easy as it sounds. Depending on the form of consulting engagement, many project elements – from people to technology to operational and marketplace factors — can generate unexpected complications and delays, quickly throwing a job off-track.
Creating dependable timelines gets easier over time. At first, many advertising consultants spend hours developing programs for their consulting jobs, only to have unexpected reverses push the job off-track. Even if your deadline feels like it is only a rough estimate, keep in mind it will still be handy for time management preparation. Project timelines give your customer a crystal clear image of how the job should flow, and shows the customer that you get a solid grasp on the process required to attain particular project milestones. Your timeline can also help protect you against advertising consulting accountability because you can use it to visually explain to your client the impact of potential project delays caused by factors beyond your control.
The more experience you gain from working with timelines, the easier it will become to develop them. Make sure you continuously track your progress from the timelines, and notice the origin of any project delays. You may review the resulting historical project management data when estimating time for prospective marketing and advertising consulting jobs, producing your job management system more efficient and accurate with every undertaking.
One approach to help ensure that you follow your timeline is to construct in a little extra wiggle room. By way of example, you might opt to create two timelines: one for your own usage, with more optimistic deadlines, and another, together with later deadlines which you discuss with your client. Afterward, when you reach your own internal deadlines, then you really come out ahead of schedule in the client’s eyes. This project direction method helps compensate for less-than-perfect quotes and unforeseen events.
No matter how hard you try to keep a project on track, the simple fact is, there are situations when you will want to adapt your project deadline. It usually happens when you or other team members run into something you didn’t expect, such as an insurmountable technical glitch, funding reductions, operational restructuring or personnel turnover. It may also happen when client priorities shift mid-stream due to changing marketplace conditions, or when the client realizes that what they’ve asked for represents only a small portion of a larger goal. By creating a realistic project deadline, and monitoring progress against it as part of an overall project management strategy, you are more likely to keep your management consulting job and on-budget. Even if you fall behind, a deadline provides you a handy and impressive tool for maintaining your client informed of progress and the causes of any flaws. And an educated and informed client is more likely to be a loyal client.