It always starts innocently enough. An overlooked detail, perhaps. An illness on the project team. A vendor sheepishly admits they can’t supply something for another two weeks. Some of these delays are inevitable and sometimes even expected. But when delays are creating a domino effect of further delays, it becomes a big and unnecessary challenge.
The key is isolating project delays and stepping in to prevent an avalanche of delays. Managing project delays while maintaining the overall project schedule is the bread and butter of the project manager – but how do you do it?
First, you need to be able to view all of your cross-team dependencies in a clear visual, and second, if any changes occur in your elaborate plan, it will automatically alert or notify you if it impacts any dependencies, including cross-team dependencies.
Visualizing Cross-Team Dependency Chains
The reason delays cascade is that dependencies are not always clear. When step seven of a process is dependent on step three of another process, the dependency can get lost in the noise. Unless your project plan shows cross-team dependencies, you won’t discover the problem until it’s too late. Now imagine that step three of that second process itself is crucial for the beginning of the second milestone. You can see how a few innocuous delays can turn into a raging wildfire threatening the entire project.
But…imagine a project management tool that highlights cross-team dependencies. The timeline grabs your focus to where it really needs to be; where the real risk lies in the event of a problem. This tool is so tuned in to the issue that dependencies create links that remain unbroken with drag and drop capability – move a task, and what’s dependent on it moves along with it.
It almost goes without saying but being able to easily track and monitor all of your dependencies is a great way to prevent the now preventable delays.
Plan vs. Actual: Keeping The Project Together
Tracking project changes is a drag. There’s a changelog, sure, but it doesn’t show itself visually. If you saved an old Gantt, you can compare it to the new one accounting for all the changes…but even then, there’s no way to just line them up and see the changes at a glance…especially because the Gantt itself doesn’t really show you the project at a glance, to begin with.
Enter the Plan Vs Actual tool (sometimes called “freeze comparison”).
Imagine your revamped project management tool timeline, with its dependency capabilities, also allowed you to save the timeline at any time as a reference point against future changes. With the click of a button, you could load a reference point and see, lined up and at a glance, every change to the project visually shifted.
OK, you say. Cool visuals. How does this help me, though?
Simple. This is the ultimate project delay prevention. You are automatically aware, from the beginning, of every shifted deadline, milestone, activity, and delivery date. Instead of incrementally managing delays as they happen, you have a chance to reset everything and juggle the project plan to account for the new realities on the ground. Everything is at your fingertips – at the get-go – and your planning wizardry gets a chance to shine at the moment it’s needed most.
Two tools. With them, you have the ability to take on challenges nimbly and effectively. You’ll never get buried under that delay avalanche again.