How To Keep Projects On A Strict Timeline
If you’ve agreed to a contractual arrangement to provide a certain service to a client, you’ll want to make sure you have the correct business equipment and ample working capital to see the project through. By promising too much too early, you could be putting yourself in a particularly bad situation where you’re not delivering on time.
Time management is especially critical if your business is in an industry that relies on the use of heavy machinery and optimal weather conditions to move forward at a steady pace. There are too many factors at play on any given project for you to not plan out the entire timeline of the project from start to finish. By proving to be an asset to your clients, you can secure repeat business and improve your financial position.
To accomplish this, here are five ways to make sure your project isn’t going off the rails:
- Start with enough leeway
The only thing worse than having the project fall through completely is not being able to meet the predetermined deadline. By finishing up late, you can potentially lose the trust of the client, and perhaps never win their business again. To remedy this situation, you should give yourself enough room to finish without having to rush everything at the last second. This strategy will not only give you more leeway, but it can also prevent your employees from doing shoddy work.If you are certain you can remodel the exterior of commercial building and spruce up the landscape in the surrounding area in two months, then give yourself a few weeks more just in case. Don’t sign the contract by limiting your breathing room. Rather, set a completion date that meets the clients’ needs while also allowing your workers to move at an appropriate pace.
- Assign tasks to others
It’s best to coordinate with your staff beforehand and divide up the major tasks among different groups of employees so everyone has an actionable plan moving forward and the project as a whole isn’t getting off track due to just one or two factors. Whether it’s managers or team leaders, identify who will oversee each specific part of the job, and have them focus on their individual task. In totality, the progress of each separate group will help keep everyone accountable.
- Set benchmarks
Not only does your client need you to meet deadlines, but your staff has to also achieve internal benchmarks along the way. By setting performance goals you can more accurately track progress and see exactly when you can expect to complete the job. This helps workers know just how much they need to accomplish each day, week or month.In addition, managers can pick up the pace if they feel their workers are falling behind, for which effective benchmarks will help tie productivity to time limitations.
- Adjust accordingly
You can never expect a project to go perfectly smooth – it’s simply not possible. Throughout the course of dealing with an entire work crew, malfunctioning equipment and poor weather, progress will inevitably come to a halt at some point. The ultimate success of the job may come down to how well your business adjusts to these developments.Trying to push through with ideas that may not be working will only leave you spinning your wheels. A better approach would be to take a step back and reassess how you can move forward at a faster pace and sidestep temporary slowdowns. This revaluation of the project may need to happen several times throughout the duration of your time on site, but it’s likely necessary to do so. Identify areas where your crew can operate more efficiently and in some cases you may have to cut your losses on a certain task to get the larger project moving forward again.For instance, if the summer heat is draining productivity in workers, then starting earlier in the morning can help. Or, if a piece of equipment is breaking down too often, then you might need to go ahead and purchase or lease new machinery to kickstart the project again.
- Optimize organization
You may not be aware of every single detail throughout each day, but you should have a working system set up that allows you to record progress and relay information to the client. This will help keep lines of communication open at all times and protect your crew from being misinformed.Whether it’s tracking everything in a spreadsheet or an internal software system, you need to keep tabs on items such as equipment and material expenses, labor costs and hours spent on the job. This can keep your your project under budget and prevent you from losing money on the contract.
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