Making the Right Adjustments
A great trait for project managers is having the ability to keep a calm exterior in times of duress. It is important not to panic. The most important part to understand about the “It is what it is” approach is that there's nothing you can do about the past. It is all about the future and how to recover from bad news and keep the momentum when the news is good.
As discussed earlier, create an atmosphere where it is acceptable for your team to give you an honest status. If you freak out every time a task is late, chances are tasks will continue to be late and you will not be told about them. In making the right adjustments, take a look at that all-important project plan. Where should you try to add resources? Where should you try to remove requirements?
If you are running a project that is a fundraiser, and one task is to create the announcement and the other task is to stuff the envelopes and mail them, what is the right adjustment if the announcement task is completed late? Would you reduce the amount of envelopes to stuff? Probably not, because that would reduce the likelihood that you would reach your donation goal. How about adding another resource to stuffing envelopes so that you can compress the time it takes?
This is a rather simplistic example, but there are three main adjustments that you can make in a project plan to shorten a task.
Fast Track: To increase the schedule, you work parallel tasks to shorten the time frame.
Crash: Crashing the schedule means that you add resources to shorten the time frame.
Remove Requirements: Remove a requirement or task from the project.
These are your general options in trying to adjust the time frame. Be careful when selecting a strategy to shorten your project time frame, especially when choosing the “Crash the Schedule” option. There is a law of diminishing returns that means adding resources will not always mean a shorter time frame. Once you have decided which option you will choose, it is back to the planning phase for you.