Imagine running a 400 meter dash. If you are in first place for the first 350 meters and then fall down, you will not win the race. Running a race and managing a project are not that different!
I’ve been managing projects for over 10 years at various types of companies and I’ve learned a lot through my experience and missteps. I’d like to share some of the pitfalls I’ve run into and how to avoid them.
We all know that every project needs to start off with a strong staffing plan, timeline, and regular tracking of actual vs. forecasted budget. But the end of the project must be planned for just as meticulously. There is QA feedback, deployment and often migration. These activities at the end are not the most glamorous elements of a project and they tend to be under-budgeted.
At the end of a project, you will find yourself at the end of your budget and up against deadlines — you don’t have as many levers to pull. Sufficient planning for the end of a project is of paramount importance. It’s painful to say “no” early in a project, and easy to say “yes” to additional work. It’s natural to want to establish trust with your clients and stakeholders. But, no human endeavor worth doing is without conflict. Saying “no” early on (or offering constructive alternatives in order to reserve budget), will set up your project for success as a whole.
A strong project from beginning to end ensures all your hard work up front won't go down the drain. Not to mention your team won't feel burnt out if they receive extra pressure to do more with fewer hours.
So remember, if you want to end the race well then plan appropriately for the finish line!