Wedding day photography timeline template, A project timeline is a central component in any good project management plan. However, as many control consultants have learned the hard way, creating and sticking to a deadline isn’t as simple as it sounds. Based on the type of consulting engagement, many job elements – from people to engineering to operational and market variables — may create unexpected complications and delays, quickly throwing a project off-track.
Creating reliable timelines gets easier over time. At first, many marketing consultants spend hours creating schedules for their consulting projects, only to have sudden reverses push the project off-track. Even if your deadline feels as though it’s only a rough quote, remember that it will continue to be useful for time management preparation. Project timelines give your client a clear image of how the project should flow, and reveals the customer you get a strong grasp on the process needed to achieve particular project milestones. Your deadline can also help protect you against marketing consulting liability since you can use it to explain to a client the effects of potential project delays brought on by factors outside of your own control.
The more experience you gain from working with timelines, the easier it will become to develop them. Be sure to continuously track your progress from the timelines, and note the origin of any job delays. You may examine the consequent historical project management information when estimating time for future marketing and advertising consulting jobs, making your job management system more accurate and efficient with every undertaking.
One approach to help make sure that you stick to your timeline is to build in a little additional wiggle room. For example, you might opt to develop two timelines: one for your own use, with more optimistic deadlines, and yet another, together with later deadlines which you share with your customer. Then, when you hit your very own internal deadlines, you actually come out ahead of schedule at 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 fact is, there are situations when you’ll want to adapt your project deadline. It typically happens when you or other group members encounter something you didn’t anticipate, including an insurmountable technical glitch, funding cuts, operational restructuring or personnel turnover. It may also happen when client priorities change mid-stream due to changing market conditions, or when the customer realizes that what they have asked for represents only a small portion of a larger goal. By producing a realistic project timeline, and tracking progress against it within an overall project management plan, you are more inclined to keep your management consulting job on-time and on-budget. Even in the event that you fall behind, a deadline gives you a convenient and remarkable tool for maintaining your client informed of progress and the reasons for any flaws. And an educated and informed client is more likely to be a loyal customer.