One reason projects are not completed on time or cost more than estimated is because critical control issues are not addressed. Understand the key control issues you face and set up your project with appropriate controls to help assure your project is a success.
Request that a member of senior management announce the project to all stakeholders, why the project has been launched and the impact on those affected. By involving those affected, you will receive less resistance to change.
Make sure your project starts on time and that tasks are completed on a timely basis. To help assure your project completes by the planned completion date, employ the critical path method. This method defines critical and non-critical tasks that impact timely project completion.
Break down budgeted costs into easy-to-track categories. Make sure costs are recorded as soon as they are incurred so that you have a clear understanding of actual costs. Instruct project team members who are responsible for approving bills; otherwise costs can quickly escalate.
Use a structured approach for defining requirements so that the delivered project matches the expectations of project stakeholders. For example, if requirements for a new computer system only define the reports that will be produced but not the underlying data that needs to be captured to produce those reports; the completed system may not be capable of producing the specified reports.
Rather than waiting until the end of a project to deliver what stakeholders want, provide interim deliverables to make sure you and the stakeholders are in agreement with project progress. Waiting until the end of the project to share information with users could result in project cost overruns if changes must be made in what was delivered.
Make sure communications to the project team and stakeholders is clear and understandable. Breakdowns in communications can quickly derail a project and impact team member morale.
Make sure you have staffed the project with people who have all of the required skills needed to achieve project objectives. Have weekly meetings with project staff so you can quickly address any project team or stakeholder problems.
Prepare a checklist of all areas you need to monitor and control. Decide on what you will monitor and how often. Do not delay acting on issues that are not under control.
Frank Girard is a copywriter and marketing consultant who has been working in the field since 1995. He has published ebooks, including "How to Succeed as a Freelance Marketing Consultant" and "101 Questions and Answers About Internet Marketing." Girard provides freelance copywriting work for clients around the country. He has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of North Carolina.