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How to deal with disruptions to your project timescale

Project managers need to be experts at juggling in order to keep all their balls of budgets, deadlines, co-workers, and contracts up in the air until everything falls and lands together seamlessly. The fly in the ointment however is the risk of disruption to the project timescale which can mean the most well executed act can feel as though it is falling apart! Here’s how to deal with disruptions to your project timescale:

Expect disruptions in the first place

There is always the possibility of disruption including delays – some of these will prove bad but they could also turn out to be a blessing in disguise! It’s not whether they will occur but how you anticipate and handled when they do that will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether you get your project back on track.

Expect work to always fill the allotted time

There is a saying that goes along the lines of you should estimate how long a task will take and then triple it. If you over allocate time to begin with – you are less likely to be stressed out when a disruption occurs. Do this for each task, and then if something happens to disrupt one or more of those tasks, you should still have enough in your time bank to cover the extra time you’ll need to cover it.

Start with realistic deadlines

It makes sense therefore after reading point 2; to begin with a realistic deadline for each task whether it’s work completed by a team member, product delivery, performance evaluation, shareholder meeting etc. It helps to always keep in mind that the project value is the driving force behind the project, and everyone needs to keep on their toes but work smart not necessarily at a frenetic pace.

Minimise the risk of disruption

You cannot plan for every eventuality, otherwise there wouldn’t be disruptions in the first place, but you can certainly mitigate the risk by good planning and effective communication. Following a schedule, using effective tools and processes that include regular, real-time communication and collaborative working will help keep everything on track with less chance of your project derailing.

Salvage what you can when disruption hits

When a disruption occurs and you’ve missed a deadline – take steps to rectify it immediately with proactive solutions rather than emotional reasoning. This is something that is taught on project management courses. Accept the reality of the situation, take responsibility and respond. This will include a mixture of gathering the right resources, considering the consequences, evaluating alternative options, communicating/negotiating with all relevant parties and making the best available decision to move forward.

Project management training can literally help you save the day by teaching methodology that helps you work quickly, relevantly and responsively when a disruption threatens your project timescale. This is money well spent when it ultimately preserves your budget and sanity – helping you to keep a cool, professional head and still deliver your project on time. 

5 thoughts on “How to deal with disruptions to your project timescale

  1. I think there will always be disruptions in any major project. Add some complexity to the mix and it is almost a certainty that things won’t go to plan. It would be better to tell people how to plan for disruptions so they pre-empt the problems instead of running around trying to deal with them after the fact.

    It’s a good article but more advice about project planning would be helpful – especially for those new to project management.

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