How to Deal with Unsettled Projects?

How to Deal with Unsettled Projects

Dealing with unsettled projects is one of the common major challenges that organizations face since the beginning of time.

Project managers are having a hard time dealing with most task completions en route to the project deadline.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inherent project management issues in almost every type of business. Whether it’s client, customer or partnering firms, no one can be blamed as the source of problems are external.

But, it’s very important to address and resolve the internal drawbacks as soon as possible.

What is project overdue?

Project overdue is the state of a project when it is still due even after the allotted time has already elapsed. Sometimes, every aspect of a project doesn’t always work out as planned and expected.

Issues do come up every now and then, leading to insurmountable circumstances which demand the deadline to be extended.

Project Overdue
Source: Invoicetracker

Surveys state that nearly 50% of companies could not complete their projects in time and almost 20% of projects are required to extend their schedule by a staggering 70%.

These numbers are prevalent with companies of every size and sector.

Every organization needs better planning to ensure effective project management.

Several methodologies have been implemented to mitigate the problems but it’s not possible every time to completely eliminate them.

What is the KPI on overdue tasks?

KPIs (Key performance indicators) are the quantifiable analytics indicators that are very critical to the success factor of the timely completion of corporate goals.

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Project managers use these metrics to compare statuses, improve collaboration, gauge resources, monitor tasks, and take futuristic decisions.

KPI’s must be optimized according to the type of project. There are a lot of features that can be added but the most important ones need to be considered as they would impact the project to a larger extent.

Adding too many indicators leads to complications which might let us accidentally miss out on the potential indicators.

The KPI dashboard presents the visualization of the overall performance. There are several factors that add up to the creation of KPIs. It is created by following the S.M.A.R.T rule.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

KPI
Source: Softwareadvice

According to the Harvard Business Review,

“ Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the accurate measure of success in any project-based work. As a result, it is critical that you have a pulse on how your project is progressing.”

There are four categories of KPIs :

Effectiveness KPIs are important for the success of the project as it determines how well things have been getting done. Resources should be allocated efficiently for enhanced productivity.

Timeliness KPIs make sure to answer questions like how ahead or behind the project is in its current state. It can be used to monitor the progress of even the simplest of tasks. It enables us to know the amount of time spent on vital tasks and how it impacts other metrics, and take thoughtful approaches to meet the deadline.

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Budget KPIs manage the financial aspect of the project. Billing of tasks in time must be done to ensure compliance with the final negotiated budget. It also keeps track of all the expenses made and spots the difference between the actual and expected expenses.

Quality KPIs ensure that the project meets the expectations of its functionality. Client satisfaction of the final product or service is what it all should boil down to at the end.

KPI Category
Source: Truenxus

What causes a project to delay?

Project delays are unavoidable circumstances, which inhibits the project’s success. It is hard to be taken into account during the initial planning of the project and its deadline.

There are external as well as internal factors that cause the project to be delayed.

It requires a creative approach to deal with delays. But sometimes delays make things too worse for any solution to be implemented. Delays in project completion are common and have proved very detrimental at times.

Causes for project delay
Source: Velvetech

Common causes of delays are:

1. Unrealistic setting of goals

Delays occur due to unrealistic methods. More projects are prone to delay, as timelines set for different tasks are hardly practical to be executed. This further worsens the case with more delays.

2. Inaccurate allocation of resources

According to PMI, 22% of the project fails due to inadequate human resources. There are simply not enough resources to complete the project. In some cases, there are fewer people for more tasks which creates an unhealthy situation for the enthusiastic team members.

3. Lacking the flexibility to adapt to changes

We know that change is the only permanent thing in this world. The same applies to project management. Inexperienced teams can’t handle changes and they get perplexed. Things won’t remain the same for long. Accepting and reacting to it is the only way to adapt to changes.

4. Client changes mind

Clients do need some kind of additions and deletions to the projects while it’s ongoing. This needs some type of rework that needs to be done on the completed part of the project which adds to delays.

5. Conflicting mindset

A large team for a big project can create internal conflicts. Everyone has their own way of thinking which might not go along with others. Such conflicts must be resolved, else might delay the project to a substantial extent.

6. External factors

Sometimes, some factors are above anyone’s control. Like the ongoing pandemic or even the natural disasters. Such factors can’t be taken care of and can only be waited till things are normal.

What are the consequences of not meeting deadlines?

The consequences of not meeting deadlines can be severe. It might prove to be very costly. Companies that grow faster are the ones who take deadlines very seriously or may not have missed it even once.

“A deadline acts as a “forcing system” in your subconscious mind. It motivates you to do the things necessary to make your goal come true” – Brian Tracy, Motivational speaker.

Let’s see some of the consequences that businesses might face for not meeting deadlines :

  • You lose your respect in the market. Clients like companies who are true to their words. If you can’t deliver in time what you promised, then the client is highly unlikely to do business with you in the future.
  • It might impact your business financially. Adhering to the terms and conditions in the contract signed by both parties would clearly mention the losses that can be suffered in extended deadlines.
  • You can’t beat the competition. You can only rise by beating the competition and if deadlines beat you, then you are grounded. It’s a cut-throat competition out there. Delivering better products and services is equally important as delivering them on time.
  • A bad reputation might follow you like a shadow. You may never know how many great deals you might have missed by missing just one deadline. It is said fortune brings fortune.

What is a self-imposed deadline?

Self-imposed deadlines are set internally to complete and test a task before the actual time that’s been provided by the client.

It is deliberately created to motivate the team. Such deadlines create a more creative environment and get things done by any means.

Self-imposed Deadline
Source: Theaccountancy

It is like no-cost trading as even if the deadline is missed nothing happens. Next time the mistakes can be rectified and put to work in a more righteous way. To work on self-imposed deadlines you must be self-motivated.

How do you meet project deadlines?

Unfortunately, a lot of companies strive to meet deadlines. This massively impacts project success, as customer satisfaction is paramount.

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There are ways through which the challenges of project completion can be mitigated and the project can be delivered on or before the deadline.

Measures needed to be taken to meet deadlines :

  • Take everything into account. While calculating the time required to complete the project, consider even the minor factors for adequate time allotment. Plan it and also plan backwards, so nothing gets missed out. Create prototypes that need to be implemented strategically.
  • Ideate the plan with others with meetings and discussions. It lets everyone know all the steps of the plan and share their thoughts on it.
  • Allocate resources wisely. Getting the right people into the team and use of relevant tools for the project will fasten the process. Be flexible to react promptly to any unwelcomed changes that come in the way.
  • Set goals and treat them as deadlines internally. This will create a sense of urgency within the team to get the work done in a timely manner without getting burdened with the final deadline.
  • Be prepared for the worst. Unexpected hurdles do show up quite often than not. Additional tasks may get assigned which may need changes to be done to the completed tasks. Plan accordingly to minimize its effects.
  • Use a project management tool for managing the project. A tool makes complicated things simpler as it assists in organizing and prioritizing tasks. It keeps track of everything in one place like “tracks time”, “manages resources” & “budgets”. It also warns in advance, if any task is overdue.

How do you plan a deadline?

Planning a deadline requires careful consideration of every detail. It is an intensive decision-making process that involves higher authorities of the company. It starts with an informal sketch of the processes to follow and ends with a proper date after vigorous discussions.

Plan a Deadline
Source: Quickanddirtytips

Planning a deadline for a project involves teamwork. There are many issues to be taken into account. Some of them are worth mentioning.

  • Break down the project into smaller tasks. This greatly reduces the complexity of the entire project. Working on small tasks and setting individual deadlines for them will eventually lead to the final deadline.
  • Take your own time. Don’t panic, if planning for the deadline is consuming more time than anticipated. It is understandable that important things take time.
  • Take one step at a time. Have a clear mindset to take relevant tasks into account gradually. This will keep things very systematic and simple. Keeping simple tasks simpler would pave the way for easy evaluation of complex tasks.
  • Be vigilant to observe the significant damages that might incur from certain actions and decisions. The use of project management tools will make everything smoother to handle. It keeps the progress visually & easy to understand.
  • It is recommended to have more room for additional time that might be needed for forward planning. Delays at certain points can only be reduced to some extent at that time as it is hard to predict initially.
  • Communication is extremely important. People within the team must communicate fluently with each other to plan the deadline. Everyone’s thought leads to more insights to be discovered, making a lot of things transparent.
  • Don’t be too ambitious in pursuit of over-achieving. Set realistic goals and plan accordingly. Don’t assign tasks beyond the available resources. Remember, it’s better to deliver the project in more time than to miss the deadlines and ask for consideration.

Do you need any help regarding Project Management? Please, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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