Trade show timeline template, As a marketing consultant, you know that time is everything. To maintain your consulting engagements on track, you need a fantastic project management plan centered around a solid project timeline. But as many marketing consultants know from experience, developing and sticking to a deadline can be rough. Many marketing and advertising consulting engagements seem to have multiple moving parts – from recognized team members to shifting marketplace priorities to engineering constraints – that may create complications and delays. Nevertheless, project timelines constitute an important first step in time management preparation. Over that, they’re a superb project management tool you may use to educate your customer about how you’re working to maintain the participation on-time and on-budget.
Creating reliable timelines gets easier over time. Initially, many advertising consultants spend hours developing programs for their consulting projects, simply to have sudden reverses push the project off-track. Even if your deadline feels as though it’s only a rough quote, remember it will still be useful for time management preparation. Project timelines give your client a clear picture of how the job should flow, and reveals the customer you get a strong grasp on the process required to attain specific project milestones. Your timeline may also help protect you against advertising consulting liability since you can use it to explain to your client the effects of potential project delays caused by factors outside of your control.
When estimating the essential time to achieve each step, speak to the people who’ll be involved, and realistically think about the amount of time each individual can devote to the project. Clearly define any project elements for which the client’s team members are accountable, and establish deadlines for accomplishing those tasks. Involve the stakeholders in placing these dates, and gain their commitment that they can meet the deadlines. Since you continue to employ timelines to track your endeavors, it will become easier to create future job timelines. Continually tracking your progress from the timelines gives you historic project management data that will help you estimate the time required for future management consulting projects.
One approach to help make sure that you follow your timeline would be to build in a little extra wiggle room. For example, you might opt to develop two timelines: one for your own use, with more positive deadlines, and yet another, with later deadlines that you share 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 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’ll want to adapt your project timeline. It usually happens when you or other team members encounter something that you didn’t anticipate, including an insurmountable technical glitch, funding cuts, operational restructuring or employees turnover. It may also happen when client priorities change mid-stream because of changing marketplace conditions, or when the customer realizes that what they have requested for represents only 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 project and on-budget. Even in the event that you fall behind, a timeline gives you a handy and remarkable tool for maintaining your customer informed of progress as well as the reasons for any delays. And an educated and informed customer is more likely to be a faithful customer.