Why Project Deadlines are Important
Here’s the score. We sell time. Generally speaking, there’s four weeks to a month and four lots of Monday to Fridays. 20 working days.
(We know there’s more days in some, so bore off you mathematical genius. Go and take your brains and work out how we’re going to get to Mars.)
20 working days.
We’ll book work into those 20 days and allocate our resources accordingly. If we finish quicker than the timescales that we’ve allocated ourselves, then we’ve won. We can fill the additional space. If we over run the allocated timescale, then we’ve lost. We will have to play catch up or delay a project.
That’s how it works.
Our main tool to manage a project is our project proposal. It sets out the scope of the work, the estimated timescale at each stage and who is responsible for what. For example, this could include the customer providing us information, or us producing layouts.
In this example, we’d normally say – we can produce the layouts at the same time that the customer is getting information together for content. Then we’d set a date for this stage to be finalised.
Stage one – layouts and content submission – 2 weeks – deadline 3rd April.
In theory, this means that after the 3rd April, the job can move seamlessly in to the next stage, which in this case would be content input.
Stage two would also have a timescale and an estimated deadline, but this can only be set once stage one is completed.
But there’s a delay
A delay could come from either side. It could come from either us, or the customer.
This is where the problems arise.
Internally, we are selling time. A problem from our end means that we have to make up that time somewhere. We have projects already booked in for other customers and it’s not ideal to encroach on their allocated time slot. Their work must proceed or continue and the show much go on.
Typically here, we would have to throw more resource at first project. That could be overtime, or putting another body on the job.
A problem from the customer’s end is a little bit different. A delay from the customer’s side means that we would carry on as normal and next phase would be booked in on the next available slot.
The worst case scenario is that there is a final deadline that everyone is working to and there is no scope for delay.
In this instance, there is an element of liability for the project over-running. Quite simply, if the project is delayed from our side, it can mean that a percentage of the total project has to be credited.
On the other hand, if the project is delayed from the customer’s side, then there will be penalties and charges incurred to provide the additional resource to deliver on time.
Projects with a strict deadline, will have everything covered in the project proposal, so everyone knows what the score is going forward.
Bottom line is, project deadlines are important. Especially if you want your site to be ready as quick as possible.
All got a bit serious there didn’t it?