As an entrepreneur or young professional, you’ll always have doubters. Age and experience come with stigmas, and the only way to escape them is by instilling confidence through consistent results.
In terms of project management, meeting deadlines is critical to this challenge.
Why Deadlines Matter
When you’re a young professional in an industry that’s filled with people who possess more experience, greater clout, and a more sophisticated understanding of the field, it can be difficult to prove yourself. In one sense, you simply have to keep your head down and wait for experience to catch up with you. After all, there’s no replacement for time. But there are plenty of other habits and actions that can add value to your company and build a solid reputation.
One of the best things you can do is prove yourself to be reliable. When you’re assigned a task, you do it without hesitation. You also want to be viewed as consistent. Your boss and peers should always know exactly what they’re going to get from you.
As someone who manages projects in a dynamic business world, your greatest chance of proving reliability and consistency is by meeting project deadlines without fail. In an industry where excuses and laziness are often pervasive, satisfying deadlines will get you noticed. It may take time, but it’ll eventually earn you an opportunity to move up.
4 Ways to Consistently Meet Deadlines
Far too many people look at deadlines as suggestions. They’re accustomed to extensions and changes, so they don’t give an initial deadline much respect. But don’t become affected by this toxic way of thinking. A deadline is a deadline and you should treat it as such from the beginning.
Here are a few tips to help you along:
1. Improve Scheduling
“Organizations of all sizes are under intense pressure to improve the speed, accuracy, and agility of their project management and capacity planning processes, while also balancing the related risks and costs of these endeavors,” explains Viewpath, a leading project management solution.
One of the best ways to get a project moving in the right direction is to improve the project scheduling phase. The more accurate you can be with project scheduling, the less room there is for error. But having said that, you also need to build some slack time into the schedule. This gives you the opportunity to catch up and/or take a breather when necessary.
2. Enhance Communication
It doesn’t matter how good your scheduling is. If you don’t facilitate the right communication, nothing else matters. This is truly the key to meeting deadlines.
As the project manager, good communication starts with you. You don’t want to micromanage, but you do need to be in the know at all times. Encourage each member of the project team to provide daily progress updates and let others know when/if they’re falling behind on anything.
3. Do Better With Contingency Planning
Even with meticulous scheduling and good communication, stuff happens and unforeseen factors get in the way. It’s your job to brush these issues to the side and proactively adapt the approach so the deadline is still attainable. For best results, include as many contingency plans as you can in the original scope of the project.
4. Hold People Accountable
It’s one thing to hold a project team accountable, but each person on the team needs to have an individual burden of meeting project goals and deadlines. By tying each person to the project in a personal manner, you’re giving them a greater sense of duty to follow through. It’s no longer just about making a client happy – it’s about satisfying a personal responsibility.
Putting it All Together
You might not have some of the experience or skill that others in your industry possess, but don’t let this frustrate you. No matter how young you are or what sort of abilities you have, you can always be reliable and consistent. And as a project manager, meeting deadlines may be your ticket to moving up and earning new opportunities. Make sure you take this aspect of your job seriously.