Best Project Management Training Online

Ishikawa diagrams: From Cause to Effect

Unlocking the Power of Ishikawa Diagrams: A Comprehensive Guide

In the realm of problem-solving and process improvement, Ishikawa diagrams, also known as fishbone diagrams or cause-and-effect diagrams, have emerged as powerful tools. Explore a systematic method for recognizing, examining, and resolving problems across different domains through the detailed examination of Ishikawa diagrams in this comprehensive guide. Uncover their benefits, varied adaptations, practical applications, and more

Understanding Ishikawa Diagrams: A Brief Overview

Dedicated to its creator, Kaoru Ishikawa, this visual tool proves instrumental in uncovering potential causes behind a specific issue. Imagined as the skeletal frame of a fish, the diagram features a head symbolizing the problem or effect, while the bones elegantly represent the diverse factors influencing the issue at hand.

Benefits of Ishikawa Diagrams

1. Visual Clarity:

Ishikawa diagrams provide a visual representation of complex issues, making it easier for teams to understand and analyze the contributing factors. The visual clarity helps in fostering a shared understanding among team members.

2. Identification of Root Causes:

The systematic approach of Ishikawa diagrams facilitates the identification of root causes rather than merely addressing symptoms.

This guarantees that efforts in addressing problems are focused on the root cause of the issue.

3. Cross-Functional Collaboration:

Ishikawa diagrams encourage collaboration among individuals from different departments or disciplines. By involving various perspectives, teams can uncover a more comprehensive range of potential causes.

4. Structured Problem Solving:

The structured nature of Ishikawa diagrams guides teams through a systematic problem-solving process. This helps in avoiding hasty conclusions and ensures a thorough examination of all potential causes.

Different Types of Ishikawa Diagrams

While the basic structure of Ishikawa diagrams remains consistent, they can be adapted to suit different industries and scenarios. Some notable variations include:

1. Manufacturing Ishikawa Diagrams:

Tailored for manufacturing environments, these diagrams focus on factors like machinery, materials, manpower, methods, measurement, and the environment.

2. Service Ishikawa Diagrams:

Adapted for service-oriented industries, these diagrams may include factors such as people, process, physical evidence, and performance.

3. Software Ishikawa Diagrams:

Specifically designed for the software development industry, these diagrams consider factors like code, data, people, tools, and environment.

How and When to Use Ishikawa Diagrams

1. Define the Problem Clearly:

Before creating an Ishikawa diagram, it is crucial to define the problem clearly. This ensures that the focus of the diagram remains targeted and relevant.

2. Gather a Diverse Team:

To benefit from various perspectives, assemble a diverse team with members from different departments or areas of expertise. This collaborative approach enhances the effectiveness of the diagram.

3. Brainstorm Potential Causes:

Conduct a brainstorming session to identify potential causes related to the defined problem. Encourage team members to talk about their insights without judgment.

4. Create the Diagram:

Once potential causes are identified, construct the Ishikawa diagram by categorizing these causes into major branches. Common categories include people, process, equipment, materials, environment, and management.

5. Analyze and Prioritize:

After creating the diagram, analyze and prioritize the identified causes. This phase lays the groundwork for formulating precise solutions and strategic action plans.

Realism of Ishikawa Diagrams

While Ishikawa diagrams provide a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving, it is essential to recognize their limitations.
The effectiveness of these diagrams relies on the accuracy of the provided information and the team's analytical proficiency. Additionally, external variables or unforeseen circumstances may affect the reliability of the identified causes.

Conclusion

To sum it up, Ishikawa diagrams emerge as indispensable instruments in the ongoing enhancement efforts of organizations. Possessing a visually intuitive structure, a systematic method for addressing challenges, and adaptability spanning various industries, Ishikawa diagrams unquestionably serve as priceless tools for teams dealing with complex issues.
Gaining proficiency in crafting and utilizing Ishikawa diagrams equips teams with the ability to improve their adeptness in problem-solving, fostering a culture of ongoing enhancement.

  • Hits: 89

Unveiling the Power of Emerging Leaders Program

Introduction: Fostering Leadership for Tomorrow

In a dynamic world where change is the only constant, organizations are placing a significant emphasis on cultivating leadership from within.

The emergence of "Emerging Leaders Programs" plays a pivotal role in this initiative, shaping the next generation of leaders prepared to steer innovation, navigate complexities, and kindle inspiration within their teams.

What is an Emerging Leaders Program?

Defining the Foundation

Basically, an Emerging Leaders Program is a well-thought-out effort to find, support, and empower individuals who show promising leadership abilities in an organization. These programs help in career boost, providing participants with the necessary skills, knowledge, and mindset to take on leadership roles.

Key Components of Emerging Leaders Program

1. Holistic Skill Development

Emerging Leaders Programs go beyond traditional training by focusing on holistic skill development. Engaging in various activities such as workshops, mentorship programs, and practical experiences, individuals elevate both their leadership skills and knowledge.

2. Mentorship and Guidance

3. Cross-Functional Exposure

To prepare future leaders for the complexities of leadership, these programs often include cross-functional exposure. Participants gain insights into various facets of the organization, fostering a comprehensive understanding of its operations.

4. Project Leadership Opportunities

Emerging Leaders Programs frequently incorporate real-world project leadership opportunities.
Participating in real-life situations, participants acquire hands-on experience, applying their knowledge to tangible scenarios. This preparation empowers them to adeptly address the challenges they may encounter as aspiring leaders.

Why Emerging Leaders Programs Matter

1. Succession Planning and Talent Retention

Companies gain a strategic advantage through Emerging Leaders Programs as they meticulously prepare for upcoming leadership positions. Recognizing and nurturing talent from within not only smoothens the transition in leadership but also boosts employee morale and nurtures steadfast loyalty.

2. Innovation and Adaptability

Leading isn't just about managing teams; it's also about thinking of new ideas and adapting to changes. Emerging Leaders Programs help people become flexible and creative, important qualities for leaders in today's ever-changing business world.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

By extending equitable opportunities to individuals from various backgrounds to ascend to leadership roles, these programs play a proactive role in championing diversity and inclusion.
The broadening of the leadership pool brings forth a diverse tapestry of perspectives and experiences, ultimately enhancing the texture of the organizational landscape.

1. Professional Growth Trajectories

Many success stories underline the transformative impact of Emerging Leaders Programs on individuals' professional trajectories. Frequently, participants rise to substantial leadership positions, bringing along a distinctive mix of skills and perspectives.

2. Organizational Performance

Companies that invest in developing their emerging leaders witness positive shifts in organizational performance. Increased employee engagement, improved productivity, and a culture of continuous improvement are often byproducts of a successful Emerging Leaders Program.

Challenges and Considerations

Navigating Potential Hurdles

While Emerging Leaders Programs offer numerous benefits, organizations must navigate potential challenges. These challenges might involve reluctance to embrace change and ensuring a diverse participation in the program. and addressing concerns about favoritism.

Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation

Effective programs encompass ongoing evaluation and adaptation.
Utilizing ongoing feedback loops and assessments aids organizations in refining their programs, guaranteeing a perpetual alignment with the ever-evolving demands of leadership.

Conclusion: Shaping the Leaders of Tomorrow

In summary, Emerging Leaders Programs act as a forge, shaping the leaders destined for tomorrow.
These efforts extend beyond mere preparation for leadership roles; they assume a critical role in ensuring the enduring success of organizations. In the ever-evolving business landscape, investing in emerging leaders transcends being merely optional—it becomes a strategic imperative for the future.

Serving as a conduit to possibilities, these endeavors empower organizations to unlock the full potential within their talent pool and foster a dynamic culture characterized by exceptional leadership.

  • Hits: 53

Master Scrum: Elevate Your Project Management with Agile Mastery

Master Scrum Introduction:

In the constantly changing world of project management, being quick and adaptable is like having a secret weapon for success. And guess what's getting a lot of attention? It's this thing called Scrum – a method that's really popular for being super flexible. People are eager to learn about it, aiming to become Scrum masters. Let's take a closer look at mastering Scrum and see how it can truly transform the entire project delivery scene.

Understanding the Basics:

At its core, Scrum is an Agile framework designed to enhance collaboration, transparency, and adaptability in the face of complex projects. A Scrum team is comprised of a Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Development Team. The iterative cycles, known as sprints, allow for incremental progress and continuous improvement. Mastering Scrum isn't just about nailing the basics; it's about really getting what makes it tick – the fundamental structure and the principles that fuel its success.

Roles and Responsibilities:

To master Scrum, one must first understand the distinctive roles within the framework. The Product Owner is responsible for defining the product backlog and prioritizing features. The Scrum Master, often known as a servant-leader, facilitates the Scrum process and ensures adherence to its principles. Finally, the Development Team is self-organizing and cross-functional, where the tram collectively works towards achieving the goals that are set in each sprint.

Effective Communication:

Mastering Scrum goes beyond theoretical knowledge; it demands effective communication within the team. Daily stand-up meetings, or Daily Scrums, serve as a platform for team members to synchronize their work and identify potential obstacles. Ensuring that all of the stakeholders are in agreement with the project's objectives is imperative. It's all about talking in a way that's easy to understand, so we cut down on mix-ups and make teamwork super smooth.

Embracing Change:

One of the fundamental principles of Agile is the ability to embrace change. Mastering Scrum requires a mindset shift, understanding that requirements will evolve and that flexibility is key. The iterative nature of Scrum allows project teams to adapt to the changing priorities and requirements. This makes sure that what we end up with matches what the client is looking for as their needs change.

Continuous Improvement:

To master Scrum is to commit to a culture of continuous improvement. So, after a sprint, there are these two key meet-ups – the Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. They're like team gatherings where we look back on how things went and figure out where we can amp things up. It's all about being open and committed to learning from each run, tweaking our methods, and cranking out even better products.

Empowering Teams:

Scrum's real power? It's all about giving teams the freedom to call the shots and own their work. To truly master Scrum, you've got to set up an environment where everyone feels pumped up and encouraged to give their A-game. The Scrum Master? They're the VIP, breaking down roadblocks and making sure the team vibe is all about collaboration – the secret sauce for unlocking the team's full potential.

Utilizing Scrum Artifacts:

Scrum introduces three key artifacts: the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, and the Increment. The Product Backlog is a dynamic list of features and improvements, prioritized by the Product Owner. The Sprint Backlog outlines the tasks to be completed during a sprint, while the Increment is the sum of all completed tasks. Mastering Scrum necessitates a deep understanding of these artifacts, as they are the building blocks that drive project progress.

Adopting Agile Values:

To truly master Scrum, one must embrace the core values of the Agile Manifesto. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working solutions over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a plan – these principles guide the Agile mindset. Mastering Scrum involves internalizing these values and applying them in every aspect of project management.

Scrum Beyond Software Development:

Even though Scrum was born in the software world, its ideas are like a Swiss Army knife – useful in all sorts of industries. To really master Scrum, you've got to see how flexible it is and adjust it to fit the special needs of different projects. Whether we're diving into a marketing campaign or gearing up for a product launch, Scrum's adaptability is a total game-changer when it comes to facing the hurdles of today's project management

Master Scrum Conclusion:

In the constantly shifting realm of project management, mastering Scrum isn't a quick stop; it's more of an ongoing adventure. It's about committing to always learning, being a pro at communication, and having a mindset that's cool with change. If you get how the roles work in the Scrum setup, create a vibe where everyone's collaborating and always looking to get better, and live by those Agile values, that's when individuals and teams really tap into the magic of Scrum. Whether you're a seasoned Scrum pro or just stepping into the world of Agile, mastering Scrum is this cool journey that transforms how you tackle project management, making it a pretty awesome experience.

  • Hits: 72

Project Management Software: Significance, Benefits, Global Application, Popular Options

Significance of Project Management Software:

In today's highly competitive and rapidly evolving business landscape, effective project management is no longer a choice but a necessity. Project management software is like the Swiss Army knife of getting things done in organizations. It can totally change how we plan, do, and keep an eye on projects. Its significance can be highlighted through various aspects:

1. Streamlined Workflow: Project management software acts as a catalyst for streamlining project workflows. It helps you whip up detailed project plans, makes tough tasks look easy, and lends a hand in divvying up resources – all while keeping things super organized and running like a well-oiled machine.

2. Enhanced Communication: Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful project.
Project management software gives your team a one-stop spot to chat, work together, and share all the must-know project stuff. Think of it as a magical trick that makes sure everyone's on the same page for the project.

3. Task and Resource Management: Efficiently allocating tasks and resources is a critical component of project management.

With project software, teams can hand out tasks, divvy up resources, and keep workloads in check. It's like having a super-smart resource buddy that keeps us from piling on too much or wasting stuff, and that's a real time and money saver!

4. Risk Mitigation: The software often incorporates features for risk assessment and mitigation.
Think of it as a project guardian angel that helps businesses spot potential bumps in the road, figure out how bad they could be, and make a plan to tackle them. This way, we're ready for surprises and can keep the project on track.

Benefits of Project Management Software:

The use of project management software delivers a wide range of benefits, enhancing project outcomes and organizational efficiency:

1. Time Efficiency: Project management software provides tools for creating and managing project schedules, including task dependencies and critical paths. This enables teams to plan and execute projects more efficiently, ultimately leading to on-time project completion. Notably, industry-leading software like Primavera P6 excels in this area, and it is universally a top choice for large and complex projects.

2. Cost Savings: Effective resource allocation, streamlined workflows, and reduced errors lead to cost savings. By minimizing resource waste and preventing delays, organizations can ensure that projects are completed within budget constraints.

3. Improved Collaboration: In our globally connected world, collaboration often spans continents. Project management software allows global teams to work seamlessly, regardless of geographical boundaries. Team members can access project data from anywhere, promoting a collaborative environment that drives productivity.

4. Real-Time Data: Access to real-time project data is a game-changer. In industries where conditions change rapidly, having immediate access to project updates, risks, and performance metrics is invaluable. Decision-makers can respond promptly to emerging issues, make informed choices, and steer projects in the right direction.

Top Project Management Software:

While there is a vast array of project management software options available, a few have earned recognition for their excellence in specific areas:

Primavera P6: Often preferred for its ability to manage large and complex projects. It is a comprehensive solution that excels in scheduling, resource management, and portfolio analysis.

Microsoft Project: Known for its versatility, Microsoft Project offers seamless integration with other Microsoft tools. It is widely used across various industries and is compatible with both small and large projects.

Asana: Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, Asana is known for its user-friendly interface and strong collaboration features. It simplifies task management and team coordination.

Trello: Recognized for its visual project management boards, Trello is particularly useful for creative and marketing projects. It allows teams to visualize tasks and workflows, making it easy to understand progress.

Global Application Across Industries:

One of the remarkable features of project management software is its adaptability and universal application across industries. Whether it's construction firms managing complex infrastructure projects, healthcare organizations streamlining patient care processes, or IT companies delivering intricate software development projects, project management software has found its place in every sector.

Construction: In the construction industry, project management software has transformed the management of large infrastructure projects. It allows construction companies to make detailed plans, handle resources, track progress, and collaborate effectively. A popular software for construction scheduling, such as Primavera P6, is often used to keep projects on schedule and within budget.

Healthcare: In the healthcare world, where patients come first, project management software is like a superhero. It helps hospitals work better, supports clinical trials and research. Furthermore, it makes sure doctors, staff, and equipment are well-organized for the best results.

IT: For IT companies, software development projects often involve numerous tasks, deadlines, and dependencies. This software is excellent for preparing and monitoring software development schedules, distributing resources, and keeping track of project progress. Microsoft Project is a very good choice in IT projects.

Finance: In the financial sector, where precise planning and execution are essential, project management software assists in managing complex financial projects, auditing processes, and risk assessments.
It assists in budget management, financial data analysis, and ensures adherence to regulations.

Manufacturing: Manufacturers utilize project management software to streamline production processes, optimize supply chain operations, and introduce new products to the market efficiently. This improves production efficiency, reduces lead times, as well as enhances product quality.

Marketing and creative agencies: These agencies find project management software to be incredibly valuable. Tools like Trello are like secret weapons, allowing teams to see project plans, hand out tasks, and run creative projects like a well-oiled machine. It's crucial for meeting client needs and sticking to the project timelines.

To summarize, project management software is like a superhero for all kinds of organizations. It makes things run smoother, gets teams to collaborate better, and guarantees project success. In our fast-changing world, it's not a choice, it's a gotta-have to tackle challenges and grab opportunities. If businesses want to keep up and do well worldwide, they need this software. It's like a chameleon – it can fit in anywhere and grow as needed.

  • Hits: 173

Project Schedule Delay - Causes and Ways to Mitigate It

If your work involves contributing to project delivery, project schedule delays are unavoidable " Many of the project managers think that completing projects on time appears only on books. Well, this is not true. With effective project management practices, using risk management skills, effective planning, and resource management, project schedule delays can be minimized. 

We will be going over these in this post:

  • Causes of Schedule Delays in Projects
  • The common causes for Schedule Delays in Projects
  • How to mitigate project schedule delays
  • Let’s go through each of them one by one.
  • What is Project Delay?

Before diving into details of schedule delays in projects, let's describe what the project delay is. There is a popular magic triangle in project management. The triangle reflects three aspects of the project - scope, cost and schedule. The scope is what is to be delivered from the project.

There is a defined budget to complete the project that is planned to be spent throughout the project.
The project team focuses on project scope and spends money to complete the project on time. The project schedule defines activity start, finish dates and duration

If the planned activities cannot be completed on time in a project, this is called a "delay". Note that, delays can be on activity level, phase level, or the overall project level. For instance if a team member is completing an activity in 9 days while the original duration of the activity was 7 days, there is an activity level delay. Similarly, there could be delay in project phases. Finally, if the overall project deadline is delayed, this will be a project schedule delay.

Causes for Project Schedule Delays

When we’ve surveyed 425 participants who attended our corporate training programs, 47.2% of the respondents reported that schedule delays are the top project management issue in their organization.

As you can see from the pie chart, schedule delays were the number one issue for their organization for the majority of the project managers. There can be several reasons for a project delay. We will be going over the top five reasons for the project schedule delays.

1- Ineffective Scope Management

The project team must collect complete and correct customer requirements. Once done, it should define a clear scope. In case the scope if not clear, there may be misunderstanding as to what customer wants. This can result in rework and project schedule delays. How can an unclear scope cause a delay, let’s understand it a little further. Let’s say for instance, a customer did not communicate his needs well to the project team. The result of this will be ambiguous definition of the scope statement. When the product development will start the work, there may be some work done based on assumptions. Furthermore, the team might even feel the need to improve or add to the features to make the product function or to look better. Hence, there could be scope creep and gold plating happening also. 

It's possible that the customer did communicate correct requirements but the project team didn't write the requirements correctly or completely.  Resultantly, in the scope statement, there may be more product features written. Or probably some product features weren’t written clearly or in detail. What would happen next is that upon inspection of the deliverables, the customer would find mismatches between what he wanted and what was delivered. So, he may be requesting rework on some of the deliverables, causing project schedule delays.

As you see, ineffective scope management could easily become the reason for project schedule delays. Hence, the project manager and his team must ensure that they gather maximum information from the customer and document it well. The project manager then must make sure throughout the project to adhere to the customer requirements. He should understand that unclear scope could decrease the amount of work to be done and it could also increase it very much. So, he should not let project schedule delays occur due to ineffective scope management.


2- Unrealistic Activity Estimation

Once the project scope has been defined, the project team makes the activity estimations. Since, estimation of every single activity can affect the project deadline, definitive and realistic estimation must be ensured. If an unrealistic activity estimation is made, the project is bound to witness delays.

If an activity could be done in 10 days, for instance but it was planned for 20 days, what would be its effect on the project? Well, it'll cause the project to complete 10 days late. Imagine then if estimation for several activities is not done correctly, how much impact this will have on the project deadline?

In order to estimate an activity duration, the scope must be clear. If the project scope wasn't written clearly but you are good in estimation. It is because when the activity will start, you may have to make scope adjustments, causing the activity to deviate from the planned duration. Furthermore, the project manager should know how competent his resources are and how productive they are to complete the activities. He should also know about the availability of the material and equipment required to complete the activity. Based on all this information, he can then correctly estimate project activities. Furthermore, the project manager should use his expert judgement to estimate the activity and not assumptions

The best estimation is often based on past experience of doing a similar activity. However, when you have not done a similar activity before, you could apply various estimation techniques for the activity estimation. For example, there are techniques recommended by PMI that you can use. These techniques are 3-point estimation, Parametric estimation, Analogous estimation. These techniques help you prevent making assumptions for activity duration and make realistic estimations instead.

3- Improper Risk Management

Every project has a certain level of risk. In fact, every individual project activity may have some level of risk associated to it. If a risk occurs and there is no ready plan to deal with the risk, you will experience project schedule delays. Depending on the severity of the risk, the delay could be minor but it could also be significant. 

However, when you have proper risk management in place, you would look at every possible thing or scenario that could cause delay in the project. You will also ensure that proper risk assessment is done, risk owners are assigned, risk control plan exists and that it is also implemented well. 

Risks, once identified, should be properly assessed for their probability and impact. If you’ve determined the risk, but you did not understand well the severity of its impact, for instance, its planning will not be worth it. Furthermore, risks should also be properly categorized and prioritized to help you manage them well. 

One of the risk management strategies to overcome project schedule delays is reserve management. However, often absence of reserve management also become source of project schedule delays. If you know that a risk could occur and it will cause a project delay, you should add a contingency reserve in the activities. The reserve could also be added in project phases, or in the entire project. So, when an identified risk occurs, the reserve to prevent the project from getting late will be utilized.

So, in the absence of risk management or with improper risk management, risks will occur and you will not be able to handle them. Therefore, proper and continuous risk management is very important if you want to avoid project schedule delays. It will help you not only in meeting project deadlines but also fulfilling the project budget.


4- Incompetent Resources
Assigning competent resources for the project activities is crucial. If you assign a junior team member for an activity that requires seniority, it is obvious that the activity will take longer to complete. This will then result in schedule delays in projects.

Assigning an incompetent resource may be good in terms of saving money but your project activities may end up delaying just because of him. A resource who is incompetent to do a particular job may be too slow than expected in completing the activity. Or probably he is not skilled enough to produce the deliverables as expected, causing the need to rework.
We know that a project often consists of hundreds or thousands of activities. You can imagine how much collective delay incompetent resources could cause to these activities. Competent resources on the other hand are not only good for completing the activities, they can focus to achieve the project objectives. They also aim to work faster, they reduce waste and incorporate their creativity to achieve the best results. 

Therefore, the project manager should always carefully identify and understand the technical as well as the non-technical requirements of the activities. And, make sure to assign competent resources to get the

5- Gold Plating
Gold plating is a project management term defined as "doing more than the required project work". In some cases, project resources continue to add on new functions or features or try to do more although their activity has finished for a particular task. This causes project schedule delays. Project management is all about delivering a defined scope, within a defined budget and schedule. Not, delivering more than the agreed scope.

Though Gold Plating may be good for the customer as he would be getting additional things for free, it costs the project more. In some cases, the customer does not like to get additional features. So, he may not be happy with the extra effort that you have made. 

The project team gold plates with good intentions, which are obviously to please the customer more. And, sometimes, the project manager adds extra features to earn credit. Or, he may want it done to divert customer's attention from defects or to prove his team's ability.

5- Gold Plating
Gold plating is a project management term defined as "doing more than the required project work". In some cases, project resources continue to add on new functions or features or try to do more although their activity has finished for a particular task. This causes project schedule delays. Project management is all about delivering a defined scope, within a defined budget and schedule. Not, delivering more than the agreed scope.

Though Gold Plating may be good for the customer as he would be getting additional things for free, it costs the project more. In some cases, the customer does not like to get additional features. So, he may not be happy with the extra effort that you have made. 

The project team gold plates with good intentions, which are obviously to please the customer more. And, sometimes, the project manager adds extra features to earn credit. Or, he may want it done to divert customer's attention from defects or to prove his team's ability.  However, it may backfire. In either cases, whether the customer likes gold plated outcomes or not, you will incur more cost on the project and also face schedule delays.  

How to Mitigate Project Schedule Delays

There are three fundamental ways of mitigating project schedule delays and these are explained below.

1-) Make Project Scope Clear
If the scope is not clear, there may be mismatches between what is delivered and what customer had actually wanted. If there are mismatches, the rework activities will delay the project. So, for the scope to be clear, we should first of all make sure to collect customer’s requirements thoroughly. 

When interacting with the customer, you must make sure to ask as many questions as possible until the customer confirms that you have understood exactly what he wants. No assumptions should be made! The next step is to define a clear project scope. The scope includes the acceptance criteria, constraints, exclusions and the detail of the deliverables needed. It also includes description of the work needed to produce the required deliverables. Hence, defining a perfect scope, which is also clear, unambiguous and detailed is very important. It not only helps stay on the schedule, it also helps you run the project smoothly. 

5- Gold Plating
Gold plating is a project management term defined as "doing more than the required project work". In some cases, project resources continue to add on new functions or features or try to do more although their activity has finished for a particular task. This causes project schedule delays. Project management is all about delivering a defined scope, within a defined budget and schedule. Not, delivering more than the agreed scope.

Though Gold Plating may be good for the customer as he would be getting additional things for free, it costs the project more. In some cases, the customer does not like to get additional features. So, he may not be happy with the extra effort that you have made. 

The project team gold plates with good intentions, which are obviously to please the customer more. And, sometimes, the project manager adds extra features to earn credit. Or, he may want it done to divert customer's attention from defects or to prove his team's ability.  However, it may backfire. In either cases, whether the customer likes gold plated outcomes or not, you will incur more cost on the project and also face schedule delays.  

How to Mitigate Project Schedule Delays
There are three fundamental ways of mitigating project schedule delays and these are explained below.

1-) Make Project Scope Clear

If the scope is not clear, there may be mismatches between what is delivered and what customer had actually wanted. If there are mismatches, the rework activities will delay the project. So, for the scope to be clear, we should first of all make sure to collect customer’s requirements thoroughly. 

When interacting with the customer, you must make sure to ask as many questions as possible until the customer confirms that you have understood exactly what he wants. No assumptions should be made! The next step is to define a clear project scope. The scope includes the acceptance criteria, constraints, exclusions and the detail of the deliverables needed. It also includes description of the work needed to produce the required deliverables. Hence, defining a perfect scope, which is also clear, unambiguous and detailed is very important. It not only helps stay on the schedule, it also helps you run the project smoothly. 

2-) Acquire Competent Resources
Competent project resources would make realistic project estimation and complete the activities on time. These resources will focus on goals and they will be more productive and resilient to stressful situation. Such resources will show creativity and their work and resolve any problems quickly.. Furthermore, with basic project management knowledge that they may possess, they would have the ability to organize their work and work under the plans. 
Hence, having competent resources will ensure the project work is completed as planned and that there will be no hindrances on the way. Thus, the project manager must know the level of competency required on the project activities and acquire the resources accordingly. Competent project resources will be very helpful in meeting deadlines and preventing project schedule delays

3-) Effective Change Management
An effective change management is necessary to ensure a consistent, measurable and structured environment to deal with the change requests. Your organization should have a document that defines the procedure and the work flow for effective change management. And, the PM should ensure that every change request should go through a proper change management.

Once the scope has been made clear, every new requirement must be managed through change management. During project execution, there is often need to make changes. And the changes may be requested by the project resources, the project manager, sponsor or the customer itself. The project manager, along with other key stakeholders should assess the change requests. He should evaluate the effect of the changes and also understand the effect if the changes are not made. Any change that is not properly assessed and which is not beneficial must not be authorized. If these are authorized, their implementation will unnecessarily consume project time and cause project schedule delays. 

Once the project manager has assessed the change request, he must inform the sponsor and the customer how the change will affect the project budget and the schedule. He must also take the approval of the sponsor and the customer before allowing the team to work on the change. If effective change management is not implemented in the organization, there may be problems in the project and there could be project schedule delays as well

4-) Accommodate Risks' Schedule Effect
When a risk occurs in a project, there will be two effects to the project immediately. It will require a budget and also time will be needed to overcome the effect. Therefore, risk management must ensure that schedule buffers exists for the probable risks that can affect the project schedule.

During the project planning phase, the project manager should determine the right amount of buffers to include in the project schedule. The buffers required should be based on the thorough risk assessment and not assumptions. And, during the execution phase, if a risk does occur and an activity delays, only the buffer should be consumed. The time which is consumed outside project buffer will delay the project and so this should be prevented.

Summary

Project schedule delays have a very negative effect on clients, consultants and the contractors. They lose trust on you and they do not look at you with confidence in terms of future relationship and business growth. Not just this, even the resources of the project may lose their morale. It is because when they see the project going off the track, they think putting full effort to it wouldn't be worth it as the project will be considered failed anyway.


According to a survey conducted in 2018 by PMI Pulse of the Profession, just 52% of the projects worldwide could complete on time. This is a shocking figure indeed. But, it is actually the bitter truth that most of the project face delays. Whether it is an IT project, Civil, Mechanical or any other project, schedule delays will be there.


So, it is ultimately responsibility of the project manager to try to avoid the delays or mitigate the effect. And for him to do so, he should ensure that he has competent resources, his activity estimation is correct, he has effective risk management in place. Moreover, he should give special attention to the scope that it should be clear. Effective reserve management will also contribute a lot in preventing project delays. 


So, in order to avoid project delays, which also causes cost overruns, every effort should be made to avoid the delays. One delayed project may be acceptable but several projects start to delay, there will be unacceptable or irreversible consequences.

  • Hits: 184

Page 1 of 5