When project sponsors don’t want to extend the end date, one alternative is crashing [or compressing] the schedule.
Crashing can help you get back on track, but you
must consider the availability and cost of resources.
One of the deciding factors to move forward with a
schedule compression technique is cost—whether
you have the money needed to make crashing
feasible. A major risk of crashing is the cost and
availability of specific, required resources, such as a
skilled engineer for a certain technology.”
—Aayush Sharma, CAPM, business systems analyst, Ciber,
Washington, D.C., USA
SET NEW PRIORITIES
You’ll have to reprioritize the original requirements so they can be completed within the approved time frame. To do
that, you must identify which components are most
critical to deliver. These are the non-negotiable must-have factors that the stakeholder can’t live without.
A helpful technique in this scenario is timeboxing,
which is based on the premise that it’s better to have
a working system with limited functionality than
waiting for more time to have a complete system.
With this technique, you can guarantee the delivery
of the most important requirements on specific
dates, with other requirements scheduled for release
on successive dates or phases. This has been my
favorite method—but it’s a challenging one, because
it requires full explanation to and approval from the
stakeholders. And that’s a project in itself!”
—Gopal Sahai, senior manager, strategic development,
MSSL, New Delhi, India
When a project is behind schedule or at risk of a critical delay, turning to an agile approach is a good way to accelerate
the timeline. First, analyze the scope that is at risk
and divide it into smaller, tangible parts. Set a very
short daily meeting or call with the key leaders
of the delivery team to closely monitor progress.
Also, I recommend tracking your progress using a
dashboard that identifies the state of each part of
the scope or each life cycle phase of the deliverables: not initialized, in progress or completed.”
—Elsa Mangione, delivery project manager, Microsoft,
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Make a list of the causes of the delay, then identify which causes are internal and which are external. Internal items
are within your group’s control. We encourage
internal team members to coordinate closely with
each other to complete these action items, communicating face-to-face or over the phone. Email
is not enough during a delay, because messages
can just be stacked in the inbox and left unread.
Voi c e s PROJECT TOOLKIT No matter the cause of the delay, the project manager has to get things back on track. We asked practitioners: What’s your strategy for getting delayed projects back on schedule?