Join Chris Croft for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing when you're running late, part of Project Management Simplified.
- Step 11 is to reschedule your project if necessary. At Step Nine, you will have been monitoring the progress of the project. Step 10, you will have been monitoring the cost of the project. There may be problems with either of these. So at Step 11, you may need to reschedule. Step 11 is where the pain happens and it's quite common actually that something has changed during the project and you have to come back and ask for more time or more money. Sometimes, it's the customer's fault so the pain is reduced. But there's always a certain amount of pain at Step 11.
The question is, what can we do if our project is running late? Now if you think back to the triple contraint of cost, quality and time, you can see that one way to save time is to increase the cost. You could just spend extra money on the remainder of the project and you could ask your boss or customer for extra money in order to do that. Another option is to reduce the quality for the remainder of the project. That's another way to save time. Again, you'd want to talk to your boss and your customer about that option. Another option you've got is to overlap the remaining tasks.
This is quite a clever option because overlapping the tasks doesn't necessarily mean reducing the quality of them and it doesn't necessarily mean spending extra money on them either. So overlapping, if it's possible, can be a great option. But as we've seen earlier in this course, overlapping usually results in risk. There are complications, but if overlapping is an option, you should take it. Another option you've got is just to let the project run late. If time is not the key driver, it might be a good idea to maintain the budget, maintain the quality and to just let the project slip.
That's another option. What we've got so far is putting the money up, putting the quality down, overlapping or letting the project slip. Those are the main four. There's another option which people sometimes choose, which is to do nothing and hope. Now I really wouldn't recommend that option. Why would somebody choose that? The answer is they tend to believe, they tell themselves, that the first half has been so bad, they're owed some luck in the second half. But I think we know that if the first half has been bad in a project, usually, the second half continues the same because whoever planned it was perhaps too much of an optimist or maybe the team of people are not as good as they could have been.
You've got the same team in the second half. You're going to get the same problems in the second half. So doing nothing and hoping is a really bad idea. Really, what it means is you're letting it slip and you're not telling anybody. Don't be tempted by that option. Somewhere around the middle of the project, you need to face up to the problems and you need to have a conversation with your boss or your customer about what the options are. Now what are you going to say to your boss at this halfway stage in your project? Let's think of an example. Let's say that you're project is meant to cost $100,000.
Halfway through, you're meant to have spent 50, but you've actually spent 54. By the way, this exact same process applies to time. If it was meant to take 100 weeks, and halfway through, you're meant to have reached that point in 50 weeks but it's actually taken you 54. It's the same problem. Let's say we're on $54,000. What are we going to say to our boss or customer? Now it's tempting to tell them it's going to be $104,000. But if you do that, you're assuming that the second half is going back onto plan, back onto taking $50,000 or costing $50,000.
But of course, it's probably not going to be that, is it? Probably, the second half is also going to be $54,000. So maybe, you should tell your boss $108,000. But a final thought about that is it probably won't be exactly four over budget or late. It will probably be... It might be three, probably be four or five or even six. What we don't want to do is tell the customer 108 and then have to come back again for another two. It's a real crime to reschedule twice because if you reschedule twice, what you're really saying is that, "The first time there I rescheduled, "I didn't really care, I wasn't really concentrating "and I've let it slip a second time." You're meant to be very sorry when you reschedule and that really should be an end of it.
Therefore, what I'd recommend is to say to the customer not $108,000, but $110,000, $111,000, something like that. The amount of stick you get for saying $111,000 rather than $108,000 will be negligibly worse, but the good news then is that you definitely won't have to come back for another bite. So the rule for rescheduling is double it and add a bit at the halfway point. So that's Step 11. Remember that the options you've got if you're running late are firstly, to spend more money on the remainder; secondly, to reduce quality of the remainder; thirdly, to overlap some of the remaining tasks; fourth, to let the project slip.
But whatever you do, don't be tempted to do nothing and hope.
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- Defining project scope
- Deciding how to list tasks
- Estimating costs and time
- Planning for risk
- Staying on budget