No matter how much planning you put into projects, things can get off track pretty easily. In fact, it’s standard practice to build buffers into the variables of a project to allow of delays and over-runs.
If you’re working on a project and it gets off track, here are some steps to get things back under control:
Renegotiate: The easiest action, when you can’t meet a deadline, is to renegotiate the due date. Flexibility is often built into a project’s time-lines.
Recover during later steps: If a project step takes longer than planned, examine time allocations for the remaining steps. Perhaps time can be saved in future steps so overall time for the project doesn’t need to increase.
Narrow the scope: Once you begin, you may find it takes longer to accomplish everything you planned. When time is critical, eliminate non-
Add resources: You may need to put more people or equipment on the project. This option increases the cost so it requires weighing the cost increase against the importance of the deadline.
Use substitutions: When an item is not available, substitute a comparable item to meet your deadline.
Look for other sources: When a supplier you are depending upon cannot deliver, within your time frame, look for other suppliers who can.
Accept partial delivery: Sometimes a supplier cannot deliver an entire order on time, but can deliver enough to keep the project moving forward. The remainder of the order can be delivered later.
Offer incentives: This calls for going beyond the terms of an agreement to get extra effort from a supplier or sub-contractor. You can use a bonus clause in a contract for on-time delivery, or a penalty clause for late delivery. Sometimes, simply buying someone lunch will motivate them to put forth extra effort.
Demand compliance: Sometimes you need to assert yourself. If you’re waiting on deliverables from others, demand they meet their time-line obligations. If necessary, go to a higher authority to get action.