“Deadline”: surely the most loaded term to an employee’s ears. It can create feelings of dread, with the fear of missing a deadline and having to tell your boss, or worse, a client, being all too much. Everyone will have their own horror story about that missed report, that forgotten email, or that delayed project. But if you take a step back, you can start to change your perception about what a deadline really means. By adapting your outlook on the connotations of a deadline, you can use it to your advantage to deliver a truly successful project – without the dread.
Deadlines that are actually useful
If approached tactfully, setting deadlines can be a great source of focus rather than a cause for panic. Setting deadlines for yourself and your team means that you can plan your work effectively around the dates that the project is required, ensuring that everyone remains organised and ready for the task at hand. Without this focus, the project lacks clarity, objectives, and structure, all of which are important for effective project progression.
Project Management Platform to the rescue
For projects of any size, it’s useful for deadlines to be set for manageable chunks rather than one looming deadline for the entire project. Project management software can help with this, where assigning deadlines, objectives, and resources for individual tasks will make everyone’s life much easier. Proposed completion dates, the team responsible, and the RAG status are all clearly displayed when using the Claromentis Project Management Platform, ensuring that deadlines for each task are easy to spot and review when needed.
Of course, part of changing the way you think about deadlines is to understand that sometimes they will be missed for reasons beyond your control. Admitting this is the first step towards acceptance, and with this awareness intact it makes it much easier to anticipate problems. Contingency strategies can be put into place whereby deadlines can be extended in certain circumstances, and by planning for this from the outset, it allows you to set realistic and flexible deadlines. A task or project’s due date can be adjusted within the Project Management Platform with a click of a button, triggering an automatic notification to all team members involved, avoiding the need to send various emails. All changes to a task’s due date are audited, so it’s easy to identify when a task needed more time than was originally scheduled, which will be vital when setting deadlines in the future.
If the worst happens and a deadline is missed; try not to panic. Review and learn from the mistakes that were made, and use this information to create an action plan for next time. Ask you team for feedback within the Project Management Platform’s inbuilt Discussions feed, and assess common themes and reasons why the deadline was missed. With this pool of knowledge at your disposal, you will be better informed to set attainable deadlines, and understand how to mitigate issues in the future.
Check back next week for our fourth blog – How to Solve Project Management Problems: Client Expectations